Feds review flap over dental care in Ala.

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 28, 2010

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Federal regulators are reviewing a confrontation between Alabama’s private dentists and a nonprofit corporation that treats needy children.

Documents show the Federal Trade Commission is looking into a dispute between leaders of the state’s dental establishment and Sarrell Dental Center, which has grown quickly as it treats young people with Medicaid coverage at its eight clinics.

Leaders of the Alabama Dental Association are worried about Sarrell’s quick growth and care quality, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham pulled its students from working in Sarrell clinics. UAB said Tuesday it did so after Sarrell barred its faculty from supervising the students, a claim Sarrell officials denied.

The CEO of Sarrell Dental, Jeffrey Parker, said Tuesday he was contacted by the FTC seeking information on patient access to dental care and trade issues.

It’s unclear what, if any, action the FTC may take.