Ocala, Florida — The allegations continue to stack up against Michael Tarver, the owner and operator of Polliwog Dental.
The latest developments in this case do not really surprise parents, whose children have attended the pediatric dentistry.
Ivy Castillo, a parent who has taken her five year old to the dentistry said, “I have experienced first-hand the ‘Dr. Jekyll’ side of ‘Doctor’ Mike.” Adding, “My son told me a couple days later that during this routine cleaning, they made him drink the ‘icky Spiderman juice’, which I have come to learn was their sedative to ‘control’ my child.”
Ocala Post has been flooded with horrifying stories of less than mediocre dental care provided by Tarver.
In an E-mail we received from an employee who does not want to be identified, she wrote, “Dr. Mikes wife is not any better. She was there when her husband man handled those kids.” She went on to write, “I can understand a wife wanting to stand by her husband, but this is ridiculous.”
One parent, who also does not want to be identified in order to protect her children wrote:
“All 4 of my children went to Polliwog because they took Medicaid. From the get go the staff was rude and unorganized. The biggest issue was my six year old son and nine year old daughter at the time, came home with big cheek bruises and unwarranted work done. My son who has healthy teeth, was told every time I went he needed fillings. It’s funny but my two older girls (12 & 15) never had issues, I think because they were old enough to speak up or tell on them. Every time my kids went for any work, even a cleaning they told me they would need to give them the happy juice. I am so glad someone finally listened to all of us!”
The allegations against Tarver range from, placing his hands over children’s noses and mouths, over dosing children with the “kiddie cocktail“, altering medical records, to actually inflicting physical injuries upon young children.
Tarver continually maintains he is innocent, using Medicaid parents as an escape goat by claiming their children are just misbehaved.
Tarver was questioned by authorities in regards to allegations that he put his hands over a child’s nose and mouth, causing the child to lose consciousness. Tarver’s response again deflected to the child’s behavior. Tarver stated he remembered the “extremely misbehaved” child, passing blame on to the small child.
Many e-mails received by Ocala Post have asked the same question: Why did it take so long for Tarver to be caught?
One e-mail thanked Ocala Post for covering the story and not being afraid to reveal the truth.
In a Facebook message from one of Ocala’s Word of Mouth admins’, she wrote,
“As an admin of Ocala’s Word of Mouth, I want to thank you for following this story!!! Kelli Fuqua Hart started this page three years ago so that residents of Ocala, Florida could stay informed about businesses in this area. This is proof positive that word of mouth amongst citizens is very effective. My heart goes out to the children and parents that have had to experience such things. I have great hope that the truth will come out in the investigation of Michael Tarver and no other children will be effected in such a manner as stated in all of the allegations. Thank you again, Ocala Post, for keeping an eye on our community.”
Ocala Post first wrote about Michael Tarver after he lashed out at Medicaid parents on Ocala’s Word of Mouth.
The question, however, still remains as to why authorities waited so long to respond to the allegations.
The DEA has confirmed what many parents already suspected, the visit from the DEA back in July was all but “routine.” Tarver claimed it was a “routine audit,” however, the DEA said they served an inspection warrant and did remove files from the office for their investigation.
One parent wrote to Ocala Post, “I have to wonder what Tarver’s obsession with sedating and tying down children was. It’s almost like he enjoyed it . His personality is that of an egotistical, arrogant, narcissist. I hope he does not have children of his own and his wife should be ashamed of herself.”
Among the serious allegations of child abuse, are the multiple allegations from parents claiming Michael Tarver over billed Medicaid. Parents insist that Tarver sometimes billed Medicaid for procedures that did not take place, and performed procedures that were not warranted.
Ocala Post reached out to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) to find out if Tarver is being investigated for Medicaid fraud on top of the child abuse allegations. Press Secretary Shelisha Coleman wrote, “We cannot confirm or deny whether we have an open audit or investigation on a particular provider.”
Ocala Post also reached out to the FDLE, asking them if criminal charges will be filed against Michael Tarver. Again, FDLE would not confirm or deny whether an open criminal investigation is being conducted.
In many of Tarver’s rants toward parents in Ocala, he claims he is the only dentist that is willing to do the job he is doing for Medicaid patients.
One parent said, “Dr. Mike’s attitude clearly shows he looks down on the parents who come to his office that are on Medicaid. He thinks just because he has a new Porsche parked out back that he has the right to think he is better than us.”
Michael Tarver said he has hired an attorney and plans to fight the suspension of his license.
Today, the parking lot was empty and no employees were inside. Whether or not Tarver’s wife will actually keep the office open remains unknown, although she originally claimed she would continue to run the practice.
Ocala Post has been investigating this story with great diligence. After Tarver lashed out at parents by trying to make them feel bad for using Medicaid, claiming he was the only office that would accept it, Ocala Post began to compile a list with Medicaid providers.
Medicaid Provider List Ocala Post did not received any compensation for listing any of the businesses in the lists Ocala Post has compiled.
If you feel you have been a victim of Medicaid fraud contact AHCA.
If you feel your child was abused contact FSFN.
Many residents told Ocala Post the abuse that children have endured by Michael Tarver should have never happened. Had Florida enforced laws keeping dentists from prohibiting parents in procedure rooms with their children, this would have been avoided. Parents say laws need to be put in place to protect their children.
Parents can contact the Florida Senate to express their concerns. Remember, the more parents that take action the harder it will be for the Senate to ignore the issue.
Two of the photos attached to this article were e-mailed to Ocala Post. Thank you to the parent that shared them. In a community that feels taken advantage of by someone that they trusted with their children, it is nice to see everyone come together.
We want to hear from you. If your child was a victim or you were an employee please use our Submit Your Scoop form. Comments can be left below.