By William Tauro
On February 23, 2022, Judge Peter Krupp allowed a defamation claim against Attorney General Maura Healey to move forward.
Judge Krupp stated “…..the AG knew or should have known that her statements were inaccurate.”
Dr. Mouhab Rizkallah, the President of the Medicaid Orthodontists of Massachusetts, filed this defamation claim against Healey in July of 2021, after she made public comments against him that reached widespread media outlets in March 2021.
Healey opposed the defamation lawsuit, arguing that Rizkallah’s lawsuit was “futile,” because she and the Commonwealth have “immunity.”
However, “qualified immunity” only protects state officials that “unintentionally” make a mistake.
Judge Krupp referenced Healey’s statements that Rizkallah “used patients as pawns,” “harmed families from low-income communities and communities of color,” “utilized exploitative practices,” “victimized vulnerable residents,” and “kept children in braces for five or six years when the average is two or three years.”
Maura Healey must now defend herself, and has two attorneys representing her, and as the judge pointed out, the facts do not support Healey.
The Somerville News Weekly obtained public records requests from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The state provided patient “treatment duration” data for 57,277 MassHealth orthodontic patients.
The data shows that Dr. Mouhab Rizkallah does not take longer than other doctors. Rizkallah’s treatment time is average compared to all 191 orthodontic Medicaid providers across the state.
This data does not support Attorney General Healey’s statements, and now she will have to explain why she made those statements.
When asked about his feelings on this government data, Dr. Mouhab Rizkallah stated: “I feel awful that my family and staff were put through this inhumane ordeal. I am so relieved that the state’s own facts show Maura Healey was wrong. No human should ever have to endure this.”
Rizkallah added “I am not mad at Maura Healey. She is a smart, respected person that may have been misled by the same malicious state officers that I have been battling for a decade. If that is true, I could forgive her, and join with her to root out these bad actors if she becomes governor.”
When asked to comment on those malicious state officers, Rizkallah said “Where do I begin. How about when these bad state workers tried to force all orthodontists in the state to intentionally misdiagnose poor kids so that the kids couldn’t get needed treatment? That is medical discrimination, and I stopped it with a historic court injunction, because the judge also felt I was right. Then Maura Healey attacked me two months later with her false statements. My theory is that those bad actors tricked Healey into believing what she said to the media, but she still should have checked the state’s own data before saying it.”
When asked if he will continue to advocate for kids, given the harm he has experienced, Rizkallah said: “I don’t know how to stop. I either need to lay in the political mud so that kids can walk across me safely, or they will be in the mud. The latter is not an option, but it is emotionally devastating to me.”
The Somerville News Weekly will be continuing to monitor these legal battles, and will be attending and reporting on the April 14, 2022 “Contempt of Court” hearing against DentaQuest (sister company of Delta Dental of Massachusetts), and other accused individual state officers. They are accused of violating the court injunction that Dr. Mouhab Rizkallah won to protect thousands of kids two months prior to him being attacked by Attorney General Maura Healey.
Public Records Request Attached. Click on link below to read:
Comprehensive Orthodontics Table (Redacted) (3)