Marion County, Public

A wrongful termination lawsuit has been filed against Marion County, the Marion County Public Health Department (MCPHD), Melissa Woodhouse, I-Smile Coordinator for MCPHD. Kim Dorn, Director of MCPHD.

Teri Kobussen, who formerly worked as a dental hygienist for MCPHD’s [email protected] program, is bringing the lawsuit. MCPHD is a state contractor of the program, serving ten counties. The program uses licensed dental hygienists to provide a variety of dental care to students. Contractors are reimbursed for dental treatments for Medicaid-eligible children. The program doesn’t receive federal reimbursements for non-Medicaid eligible children.

Kobussen alleges that Woodhouse, her supervisor, repeatedly told her to perform dental sealants only on children with Medicaid to maximise reimbursements. Kobussen also alleges that she was told by Woodhouse to perform dental sealants on every Medicaid-eligible child who was screened, whether needed or not.

Court documents state that Kobussen refused to perform unneeded dental sealants on Medicaid eligible children because of health risks. She also refused to perform dental sealants only on Medicaid-eligible children, as other children needed them. The document states Kobussen followed I-Smile and IDPH guidelines to provide necessary and appropriate dental treatment to all eligible children screened.

Court Documents allege Woodhouse repeatedly reprimanded Kobussen for not following her instructions and gave her poor performance reviews.

Kobussen allegedly requested a meeting with Woodhouse and Dorn, where she sought to prove she was following I-Smile and IDPH guidelines. She requested that a representative from Human Resources be in attendance at the meeting. The meeting was scheduled. A representative from HR didn’t show up.

Dorn allegedly told Kobussen she was being insubordinate. Kobussen was fired the next day.

The formal charge is “Retaliatory Discharge in Violation of Public Policy.” The lawsuit demands judgement against the defendants, compensation for injury and damages. For punitive damages to deter them and others from similar conduct in the future, among other compensations.

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