A dentist allegedly performed unnecessary oral surgery on pediatric patients, according to New York's attorney general.

A dentist allegedly performed unnecessary oral surgery on pediatric patients, according to New York’s attorney general.

A dentist accused of performing medically unnecessary oral surgery on children to “line his own pockets” has reached a six-figure settlement with New York state attorneys.

Barry Jacobson and his dental group HQRC Management Services allegedly performed and billed for unnecessary pediatric root canals — known as “baby root canals” — for seven years, according to an Oct. 6 news release from New York Attorney General Letitia James.

“It is unconscionable that medical professionals were willing to perform unnecessary dental procedures on children just to make money,” said US Attorney Philip Selinger.

Neither Jacobson nor HQRC immediately responded to requests for comment from McClatchy News.

The procedure in question, called a pulpotomy, is used to treat tooth decay and involves removing the connective tissue from inside the tooth and closing the hole with a crown, the release said.

Jacobson allegedly performed unnecessary procedures from 2011 to 2018, billing Medicaid, which provides public health insurance for low-income people. He also allegedly made billing errors on claims submitted by a Medicaid contractor between 2011 and 2014, according to the release.

He served St director of pediatric dentistry at Mount Sinai Hospital from 2000 to 2010, according to his public Facebook page.

Jacobson, who pleaded guilty to some of the findings of the investigation, will forfeit $753,457 as part of the settlement, of which more than $430,000 will be returned to the New York state Medicaid program, the release said.

The case was brought by a former employee of Jacobson’s, who will receive a portion of the settlement, according to the release. The case was investigated by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Unit, an initiative launched in 2011 that “recovered and returned more than a billion dollars back to New York State’s Medicaid program,” its website says.

As of 2021, there was health care fraud down 29% nationally since 2017, according to the United States Sentencing Commission, a federal agency.