Southcentral Foundation fires three dentists, including husband of chief executive, for falsifying health records

Sign outside the medical building named for Katherine and Kevin Gottlieb in Anchorage. (Alaska Public Media Photo)

One of Anchorage’s leading tribal health-care providers has fired a senior executive and two dentists after an anonymous complaint documented “falsified health records” and “serious compliance issues,” the provider said in a statement Tuesday.

Among those fired by Southcentral Foundation was Kevin Gottlieb, husband of the organization’s chief executive, Katherine Gottlieb. Kevin Gottlieb was the first dentist hired by Southcentral Foundation in 1982 and, after rising to chief of staff and vice president of resource development, earned $725,000 in 2018, according to tax filings.

The two other dentists fired were Thomas Kovaleski, identified as the “director of dental,” and Clay Crossett, identified as the “dental director.”

In a message to employees, Southcentral Foundation said the firings were the result of an independent investigation of the anonymous complaint.

“The investigation showed the dentists falsified health records by attributing one dentist as the provider of routine dental exams when that dentist did not actually perform the procedures,” the message said. “All procedures were performed by qualified dentists, and there was no impact to customer-owner safety.” 

The message said Southcentral Foundation has “self-reported” the compliance problems to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and will comply with any subsequent investigations. 

Southcentral Foundation is a powerhouse in Alaska’s world of tribal health-care, with $400 million in revenue in 2018, according to tax filings. The organization, which has 2500 employees, cares for Alaska Natives from Anchorage and the Mat-Su, and it also provides support for residents of dozens of rural villages.

Katherine Gottlieb, the chief executive, has been recognized nationally for her leadership of Southcentral Foundation, and two years ago, the organization opened a new facility named for her and her husband: The Dr. Katherine and Dr. Kevin Gottlieb Building.