Dental Damned: Lauderdale Health Care Group Puts a Senator on Its Payroll

MCNA Dental Plans, a benefits system based in Fort Lauderdale, wanted a $20 million contract from the managed care group that administers Medicaid spending in Kentucky. State Sen. Julie Denton, a former dental hygienist, wanted a job. They both got what they wanted.

Now I'm not saying that there was a quid pro quo exactly, but it's one humdinger of a coincidence that Denton began her work with MCNA earlier this month, not long after MCNA won its contract. From the Louisville Courier-Journal:

The position requires [Denton] to serve as the link between dentists who see Medicaid patients and MCNA, which processes and pays claims. It also requires her to handle dentists' questions or complaints and represent the company at state hearings where people appeal denial of services.

At the very least, Denton is clueless when it comes to conflicts of interest. As the article above points out, she chairs the Kentucky Senate's health care committee. A regular visitor to that committee is the state's managed care group for the state, Passport Health Plan, which gave Denton's employer, MCNA Dental, its $20 million contract.

Perhaps the Kentucky legislator should read about Ray Sansom, the Florida legislator who self-destructed in similar fashion. The Courier-Journal's editorial page has been letting Denton have it. But MCNA deserves its own share of public scorn.

Denton's 19-year-old son was killed in a car accident in November, shortly after her  20-year-old son sued her for allegedly stealing from his trust account. The last thing she needs is an ethics investigation, but that's exactly what she's asking for.

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