Ocala, Florida — Despite more than a dozen complaints from parents and employees, former Polliwog owner Michael Tarver was approved by the Board of Dentistry to have his Dentistry License reinstated.
Complaints were made to the Ocala Police Department as early as 2012, but it wasn’t until the middle of 2013 that the Department of Children and Families and the DOH were notified by the police.
In a police report filed with OPD, one victim told investigators that she was crying, scared and ran down the hallway in an attempt to get to her mom. The victim said Tarver chased her down the hallway, picked her up like a baby, and while wearing gloves, covered her mouth and nose. The victim stated she had trouble breathing and Tarver asked her “Are you done?” then placed her back into the dentistry chair. Later, after being released, the mom noticed her child’s lip had been busted. An employee of Polliwog confirmed the victims’ allegations, according to police. OPD questioned Tarver and he said, “He remembered the patient because she was so badly misbehaved. She ran down the hallway kicking and screaming at the dental staff. I didn’t put my hands over her mouth. The child had to be sedated due to her extremely poor behavior.” Tarver was not charged, according to OPD he didn’t commit any criminal offenses.
Parents whose children suffered abuse by Tarver are appalled and in disbelief.
Tarver has been very outspoken about badly behaved children and openly admitted to police and DOH investigators that he sedated children because of their behavior. Tarver also blamed the behavior of those children on the parents and the fact that most of his patients were on Medicaid.
Tarver sedated children for procedures that did warrant sedation, according to DOH investigators.
Tarver is blaming the public for “Mob Mentality,” however, Parents told Ocala Post that his Facebook posts and private messages threatening lawsuits as well as messages telling parents how misbehaved their “Medicaid children” were, shows his true arrogance.
Susan Waldron said, “Someone apparently is willing to use his services, not my family! And no one else should but he didn’t get it [license] back on luck.“
Stephanie Kenyon Marsh said, “Neglectful on the boards part. I will never believe one person tried to destroy his practice. The police reports and paper trail doesn’t lie!”
Michael Tarver hired attorney Edwin A. Bayo´of whom used to provide advice and representation to regulatory boards under the umbrella of the Department of Health.
Ivy Castillo, whose child was a reported victim of Tarver said, “Obviously the welfare and safety of children are not in the best interest of the board.”
Ocala residents are not likely to forgive and forget. Parents say the black and white paperwork speaks for itself.
One parent who was verbally threatened by a lawsuit, said, “Next time a child may not be so lucky. Tarver’s arrogance and the lack of diligence from the Board Of Dentistry are going to cost some poor innocent child their life. In my opinion, allowing an attorney that used to give advice to the DOH in any matter is a conflict of interest.”
Ocala Post contacted the State Attorney’s Office and asked; has the State Attorney’s Office read over the charges from the DOH or just the allegations filed with OPD?
State Attorney Bill Gladson said, “This office was asked by detectives to review three separate incidents concerning potential child abuse. Some of these allegations had already been reported to the Department of Children and Families months prior to being referred to the Ocala Police Department.”
“Each case was reviewed to determine whether, if true, the allegation would constitute the crime of child abuse. To prove the crime of child abuse beyond a reasonable doubt, the State would have to prove that a defendant knowingly or willfully, and intentionally, inflicted physical injury, or committed an act that could reasonably result in physical injury, to a child. At the time, physical injury was defined as ‘death, permanent or temporary disfigurement or impairment of any body part.’ During their investigation, the Detectives with the Ocala Police Department conducted numerous interviews of staff members, reviewed surveillance video, photographs, medical records, physical evidence as well as interviewed the complainants in the cases.”
“Based on the evidence available, it was decided that no single allegation, if proven as alleged, would constitute the crime of child abuse such that any conviction could be sustained on appeal. This office did not review, and was not asked to review, any matter being investigated by the Department of Health or the Board of Dentistry,” Said Gladson.
In addition to child abuse charges, there have been allegations that Tarver overbilled Medicaid for multiple procedures performed by his office.
Ocala Post reached out to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) to find out if Tarver is being investigated for Medicaid fraud in addition to 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.”
There is currently an open investigation that is being conducted by the DEA.
As for now, Marion County residents will have to wait and see what Tarver’s next move will be.
The original suspension order is below.