When National Crime Victims' Rights Week starts April 22, it will hit home with one particular Ahwatukee Foothills dentist, who offered his services to help more than a dozen Valley residents when they fell victim to medical insurance fraud. It all started when Dr. Bradley Sandvik's partner, Dr. Louis Core, also a dentist, caught a news segment on Fox Channel 10 about a north Phoenix dentist who had mistreated and then abandoned his patients. "Louis wanted to help them because they had been taken advantage of financially," Sandvik said, "and on top of that, were left with temporary dental work." Patients of Dr. Paul Schreiter had come to find out that his office had been closed down and was under investigation for fraud. According to Sandvik, Schreiter had taken out several health care cards - similar to credit cards and used for medical services - for his patients, charged the maximum amount and given his patients little to no dental work in return. After Core contacted the news station that brought the story and offered to help, patients arrived to Desert Shores Dentistry in Ahwatukee Foothills where dentists got to work, sorting out what needed to be done and what had already been done. "The FBI was investigating and had closed down his office, so we had no access to his records," Sandvik said. After speaking with the patients, Sandvik and his partner got an idea of how much these victims had been taken for. "(Schreiter) would get them approved for $10,000 to $20,000 - one woman we saw was $50,000 in debt - and charge it all out," he said. Although the case is still under investigation, Sandvik says there was certainly something fishy going on; "There was obvious overcharging - about one-fifth of the fees he charged are needed for the work he told his patients they were getting." Many of the patients did not even receive the work they were charged for, or received temporary or incomplete work. Sandvik and Core's main goal was to stabilize them and get them into a healthy condition. Now, the Attorney General's Office of Victim Services is awarding Sandvik and Core with the 2007 Spirit of Compassion Award for their generosity - repair work that totaled approximately $135,000. "I had no idea we had even been nominated," Sandvik said. "The principle investigator spoke with us to get our depositions about the patients, and he is the one who nominated us." Sandvik said he is honored for the recognition, but is concerned about the black mark Schreiter has put on the industry. "As a whole, it's an honest profession," he said. "There are just a few bad apples." Those concerned about choosing a family dentist should check with the Arizona Board of Dental Examiners for complaints. Sandvik also suggests going on referrals from friends and family - from patients who have used one dentist for several years. For more information and events for Victims' Rights Week, visit the Attorney General's Office's Web site at www.azag.gov. To contact the Arizona Board of Dental Examiners, visit www.azdentalboard.org, or call (602) 242-1492.
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