Investigation leads to possible disciplinary action against dentist

Investigation leads to possible disciplinary action against dentist

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Dr. Paul Muscari in 2007 Dr. Paul Muscari in 2007
"Anybody who would do people like he's done shouldn't be allowed to practice. He needs to be in some other profession besides what he is in because he's not dependable," Kathleen Evans says. "Anybody who would do people like he's done shouldn't be allowed to practice. He needs to be in some other profession besides what he is in because he's not dependable," Kathleen Evans says.
"I was in a lot of pain. He said he couldn't help me, but said he could leave this kit on the porch and that I could put those teeth in myself," Polly Booth says. "I was in a lot of pain. He said he couldn't help me, but said he could leave this kit on the porch and that I could put those teeth in myself," Polly Booth says.

By DON DARE
6 On Your Side Reporter

MORRISTOWN (WATE) -- An 18 month investigation by 6 On Your Side has led to possible disciplinary action by the state against a Morristown dentist.

The findings by the state mean Dr. Paul Muscari will likely be fined and could possibly have his license suspended.

The state's allegations against Dr. Muscari are spelled out in an eight page document called a Notice of Charges.

It says Dr. Muscari faces disciplinary action for unprofessional, dishonorable or unethical conduct. He is accused of making false or misleading statements which constitute gross malpractice or negligence in the course of his practice.

Dr. Muscari has to answer to the state Department of Health by September 12 for what the state calls "a pattern of malpractice."

6 On Your Side began investigating Dr. Muscari in February 2007 after a Morristown couple claimed they paid Dr. Muscari thousands of dollars for unfinished work.


First complaint

Amanda and Andy Jarvey were the first to tell 6 On Your Side about care they received from Dr. Muscari. They said he had worked on their teeth in the summer of 2006, but as of February 2007, the work still hadn't been finished.

Andy Jarvey said work on his bottom right molar was never finished and another tooth was left to rot.

Through a loan company for dental service called Care Credit, Andy took out a loan for $12,000. His wife had one for $7,500.

In December 2006, the Jarveys filed a complaint against Dr. Muscari with Care Credit under the Fair Credit Billing Act.

The couple disputed the charges because, they said, the dental services weren't delivered.

Care Credit rejected the couple's claim, telling the Jarveys that Dr. Muscari claimed he had completed all dental services for the Jarveys.


Woman waits more than a year for dentures

Kathleen Evans showed 6 On Your Side loose dentures prepared by Dr. Muscari. She said he promised her in March 2007 they'd be tightened, but they never were.

Kathleen, a 74-year-old widow, was also unhappy about the failure of mini-implants and an infection she blamed on Dr. Muscari's care.

Kathleen took out a $7,100 loan from Care Credit for the implants and dentures. When she took her complaint to Care Credit, the loan company responded that she didn't work in good faith with her dentist.


Care Credit responds to 6 On Your Side investigation

Following our first two reports, 6 On Your Side sent the reports and additional documentation to Care Credit. We also sent information about five other Care Credit customers who were patients of Dr. Muscari and claimed his work was either unfinished or never started.

By December 2007, the credit company responded by clearing the accounts of the Jarveys and some of the other patients who claimed dissatisfactory service.

The patients also wrote to the Department of Health's Licensing and Regulation Bureau in Nashville to complain about Dr. Muscari's care.


State investigates Dr. Muscari

Bureau Director Denise Moran and a panel of dentists on the dental board investigated individual cases for a year.

In the Notice of Charges, the state report accuses Dr. Muscari of making false or misleading statements about dental services to a credit card third party, which constitutes a violation of gross malpractice.

6 On Your Side showed the document to Kathleen Evans. 

"I think they should take action," she said. "Anybody who would do people like he's done shouldn't be allowed to practice. He needs to be in some other profession besides what he is in because he's not dependable." 


One patient receives separate response from state

In May 2007, Polly Booth had no crowns or upper teeth after extensive surgery and paying $6,000 in cash to Dr. Muscari.

Polly got in touch with the Department of Health's licensing board and filled out a written complaint about quality of care and service issues against the dentist.

The conclusion on her investigation has a separate paragraph in the state report.

On page four, it says Dr. Muscari engaged in multiple instances of unprofessional, dishonorable or unethical conduct which include: leaving dental instruments and other materials on a patient's porch overnight.

Polly says the strange incident happened in December 2006. "I was in a lot of pain. He said he couldn't help me, but said he could leave this kit on the porch and that I could put those teeth in myself."


What's next?

Lawyers for Dr. Muscari received a requested continuance of his hearing, which was initially set for September 12 in Nashville. It's been re-set to January 2009.

6 On Your Side called Dr. Muscari for a comment. He declined to respond.

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