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What happens if there is a board complaint?

What happens if there is a board complaint? Image

By Olivia Wann, JD


It is the policy of the Board to require strict compliance with the laws of the State. It is the duty and responsibility of the Board to enforce the Practice Act. 

Prevent a Board complaint from occurring by familiarizing yourself with the Board’s website and reviewing the Board of Dentistry’s disciplinary actions.  Seeing the common pitfalls will help you to avoid the same mistakes.  

Board complaints can be triggered in a variety of ways including a complaint filed by a patient, staff member, other practitioners, criminal indictments such as a DUI, allegations of fraud, etc.

I’ve handled dental board complaints in Tennessee and Kentucky. States may vary in their exact process. If a complaint is filed against you to the Board, the Board will reach out to you either by letter, a phone call or a site visit. We suggest you engage an attorney before proceeding with a response or any discussions with an investigator.  Anything you say can be used against you in the proceedings.

Keep in mind that the investigator interviews the staff members individually to gather information. The Board presents a Consent Order for the dentist to review and sign. This order waives the right to a contested case hearing. Do not sign the Consent Order unless you have had guidance from an attorney or you have been in contact with your professional liability carrier.

The Consent Order contains Stipulations of Fact and Grounds for Discipline in addition to a Policy Statement and Order. The Order contains the reprimand and the discipline. For example, if this was an infection control issue, the dentist may be ordered to prepare an infection control plan in addition to satisfying a certain number of CEs in the area of infection control.  A civil monetary penalty may be imposed. 

If you do not sign the Consent Order, you have the right to a contested case hearing and judicial review of the matter.

According to the American Dental Association, possible outcomes of dental board complaints include reprimand, payment of a penalty, remediation, fines, limiting privileges, requiring monitoring, revocation or suspension of your license, requiring medical and/or psychological evaluations, revoking RX privileges, immediate suspension (if determined to be an imminent danger to the public), and referral to the U.S. attorney or district attorney.

Our latest CE course is geared to helping you stay out of trouble.  The course is entitled: Get Your Quack Together! Successful Risk Management in Dentistry.  The program reviews top board complaints, malpractice claims, top 10 OSHA violations and the top 10 HIPAA violations. If you are interested in this onsite program or presentation as a seminar, please contact us at (931) 232-7738.

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