2 patients have accounts cleared after disputes with Morristown dentist

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MORRISTOWN (WATE) — A year-and-a-half after being billed by a Morristown dentist for work that was never performed, two women have received good news.

Two of Dr. Paul Muscari’s former patients, Norma Hill and Kim Johnson, have learned their bills are cleared.

Care Credit, a company that loans money for dental and medical expenses, told 6 On Your Side in February it’s investigating the contested charges made by several of Muscari’s patients.

With permission, 6 On Your Side provided detailed information to Care Credit and sent video copies of our stories.

Norma is relieved that Care Credit has settled the disputed account with Muscari. “They sent me a letter apologizing to me and telling me that my credit has been cleared from Paul Muscari.”

Norma’s teeth were cleaned by Muscari in January 2006. Although no appointments were ever made, Norma suggested she might be interested in future dental care, so Murscari’s office had her sign up for Care Credit.

In February 2006, Norma started making payments on a $3,000 bill. She showed 6 On Your Side several unclaimed registered letters sent to Muscari in 2006 demanding her credit be cleared.

Norma had paid several hundred dollars to Care Credit and still owed $700 more just to have her teeth cleaned.

In January, 6 On Your Side used a surveillance camera and followed Norma as she spoke with Nancy Muscari, Paul Muscari’s wife and office manager. Nancy Muscari assured Norma her credit dispute would be resolved within days.

In February, Paul Muscari said it was unlikely Norma would ever get her money back. As he put it, “As far as Norma Hill is concerned, she’d had over $2,300 returned to her. The outstanding balance that she’s got over the difference in the money was to cover an outstanding balance that’s she’s had over two years.”

Norma says she never owed Muscari any money.

On Wednesday, Norma not only has her credit cleared, she’s also received a check for $251. It’s money she paid to Care Credit for work never performed or even scheduled.

“Yes, I’m happy but I don’t want anything else to do with Care Credit or Paul Muscari,” Norma says.

And for another Muscari patient, Kim Johnson, a statement from Care Credit arrived in the mail saying her contested charge has been cleared.

In the fall of 2005, Kim began extensive dental care by Muscari and paid cash. In January 2006, she filled out paperwork with Care Credit but that was all. Kim says no appointments were made. Still, she was billed $6,550.

Kim fought the charges and even filed a lawsuit against Muscari in January. “The bridge work was never done. Appointments weren’t even made for the bridgework. But he had billed Care Credit for the bridgework.”

Kim had a second dentist perform her bridgework. 6 On Your Side sent all this information to Care Credit. Kim’s lawsuit spelled it out even more specifically.

“Care Credit sent us an email saying they’re no longer providing a merchant account for Dr. Muscari,” 6 On Your Side told her.

“Well, that’s good news for people. That’s how he got the money for work he didn’t do,” Kim says.

After months of trying to get Paul Muscari’s response, 6 On Your Side caught up with him at the Hamblen County Justice Center on Tuesday. But he and his attorney didn’t want to talk.

Care Credit tells 6 On Your Side Wednesday, it’s still investigating several billing disputes with some of Muscari’s other patients. They’re customers of Care Credit who’ve spoken with 6 On Your Side.

And the state department of health, through its office of investigations, is still looking into allegations that Muscari may have violated standards of conduct, rules and regulations.

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