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Monday, November 28, 2016

Dentist to reimburse patients after fraud violation

By DON HIMSEL
Staff Writer

A dentist has been forced to reimburse patients more than $250,000 after the New Hampshire attorney general’s office reports his fraudulent business practices violated the Consumer Protection Act.

Hillsborough County Superior Court approved a plan for Marshall A. Baldassarre, who has offices on West Hollis Street in Nashua and Riverway Place in Bedford, to pay more than 1,800 customers for engaging in “unfair or deceptive business practices related to his repeated and unreasonable withholding of patient credit funds,” according to a press release from the state’s Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau. ...

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A dentist has been forced to reimburse patients more than $250,000 after the New Hampshire attorney general’s office reports his fraudulent business practices violated the Consumer Protection Act.

Hillsborough County Superior Court approved a plan for Marshall A. Baldassarre, who has offices on West Hollis Street in Nashua and Riverway Place in Bedford, to pay more than 1,800 customers for engaging in “unfair or deceptive business practices related to his repeated and unreasonable withholding of patient credit funds,” according to a press release from the state’s Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau.

New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph Foster said his office was acting on a tip. His office said Baldassarre was to bill patients for the difference between the capped rate and the amount that insurance would reimburse for procedures and treatment. The state claimed the dentist had patients pay before procedures began and, when insurance companies reimbursed him, he didn’t issue refunds in a “timely or reasonable manner.”

James T. Boffetti, senior assistant attorney general with the Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau, said Delta Dental “knew for 20 years he was violating agreements. They cited him for that repeatedly, and he did nothing about it.”

“The act has a number of different ways to enforce it,” he continued. “One is through civil action. The other is criminal. His decision was ‘done with prosecutorial discretion.’ ”

Baldassarre lists his associations on his website as being the chief of oral surgery and periodontics and dentistry at Catholic Medical Center and Optima Health Center and on the staff at Southern New Hampshire Medical Center and St. Joseph Hospital in Nashua.

Baldassarre is to pay $230,737 to 1,623 patients. The attorney general’s office said that he is unable to locate 201 patients owed $22,722. Money owed to people who can’t be located will be held in escrow for one year. If at that point they still haven’t been located, the money will be donated to a charity approved by the attorney general.

Additionally, Baldassarre has been ordered to submit to an annual patient credit balance audit. He will pay a civil penalty of $50,000, with $20,000 suspended for five years.

Baldassarre must also repay the state $20,000 for legal costs and expenses.