A Lubbock dentist is voicing concerns about patient privacy and complaining about "Big Brother" after the FBI seized his patient records on Thursday morning.
The FBI executed multiple search warrant around 8 a.m. Thursday at the home of local dentist, Dr. Daniel Chaparro III and at his business, Smile by Design.
"They didn't need a warrant, they could come ask for anything they wanted and the record room is always open to them. I don't know why they escalated this to a drama, basically," Chaparro said.
Authorities seized several hard drives and took several large boxes from his residence.
"They took everything they considered a computer," Chaparro said.
He said they also took computers from his office.
"We are paperless, so all of our information is in these computers. My office manager is telling me we have about 5,000 Medicaid patients, but there is about 50,000 total records. So, the warrant they had to look at this, which they are welcome to, was for Medicaid patients, but they took an additional 45,000 records of patients that have nothing to do with it," he said.
The FBI and the US Attorney's office said they cannot comment on this case and have not released copies of the search warrants.
Doctor Chaparro remained open for business as agents continued to search his home and office without pressing criminal charges.
"I'm standing here, I just saw a patient. They haven't even told me what the possible charges are. I just know they are investigating Medicaid and I know that we do 100 percent what we chart. We don't chart anything we don't do," Dr. Chaparro said.
He said he plans to open for business as usual on Monday.
"We are going to be buying some computers, reloading the dental software and give the same quality care; it's just a big inconvenience to have these things tied up for this time," Chaparro said.
Chaparro's attorney released a statement on Thursday afternoon, saying that the FBI has seized "thousands upon thousands" of private patient records as part of an investigation into his Medicaid billing practices.
Chaparro's attorney says his client is cooperating fully with the investigation and that he "fully expects that after the government is finished with its investigation this will all prove to be nothing more than a waste of their time and the taxpayers' money."
The statement goes on to say:
"This is but an extreme example of what many West Texas citizens feared would happen when the federal government staged a takeover of the American Health Care System.
"Doctors must now not only provide their patients with expert medical care, but they are now charged with walking through the spider webs of government red tape while Big Brother watches every move of patients and their doctors."
The statement says no criminal charges have been filed and that "Dr. Chaparro is confident that he will be vindicated."
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