All licensed professionals in the state of California are subject to board enforcement for complaints, and dentists are no exception. The Dental Board of California has a specific Enforcement Program that is tasked with investigating both criminal and administrative violations.
Unfortunately, the process for enforcing complaints can be confusing and stressful but knowing what to expect during the process can help. Below you’ll learn more about how the system works and when to seek a California dental license defense attorney.
What is the Enforcement Program?
The Enforcement Program is made up of five sections, each of which is staffed by professionals who are trained to handle different aspects of the complaint process. The first of these is the Complaint Intake Section. During this initial step, the Board’s staff screens and reads complaints from patients, law enforcement, health care providers, insurance companies, or other parties and then routes them to the proper department.
Depending on the issue at hand, a complaint may be routed to the Complaint Analysis Section, Inspection Section, Investigations Section, or a State agency.
The Complaint Analysis Section
If the complaint is routed to Complaint Analysis, analysts will use dental records from all of the complainant’s dentists and physicians to develop complaint files about the incident. The completed files are then sent to Board dental consultants, who evaluate the complaint files to determine whether the complaint qualifies as a violation of the Dental Practice Act.
The Inspection Station
If a complaint involves unsafe or unsanitary dental office conditions, it is sent to the Inspection Section. This department is staffed by inspectors who visit dental offices and issue warnings and citations. If your office receives a citation, you will have to pay an administrative fine and demonstrate proof that the condition has been remedied.
The Investigation Station
If a criminal or administrative violation of the Dental Practice Act has allegedly occurred, the complaint will be sent to the Investigation Section. In order for prosecution to be considered, the claim must first be substantiated through an investigation. This section is staffed by trained investigators hired by the board to research complaints and prosecute violators.
Issues handled by the Investigation Section include billing and insurance fraud, patient battery, unlawful sexual content with patients, drug violations, and practicing dentistry without a license. If an investigation finds that unlawful activity has likely occurred, the case will be filed for criminal or administrative prosecution through the California Office of the Attorney General or the local District Attorney’s office.
The Probation Section
The last section is the Probation Section. This section is in charge of monitoring dentists and licensed auxiliaries whose licenses are on probation due to administrative discipline. The goal of the Probation Section is to ensure that the public remains protected from harm and that anyone on probation is adhering to probation requirements. If someone on dental probation violates their probation terms, their license can be revoked.
Hiring a California Dental License Defense Attorney
Having a clear sense of the enforcement process is the first step in ensuring that your rights are protected. Many dental complaint cases can be complex, however, so it’s a good idea to work with a California dental license defense attorney who can help you understand your case.
If you need help during a dental complaint, contact license defense attorney Scott J Harris. Click to schedule a free, 30-minute consultation or call us at 323-794-0701 or at 877-865-6218.
This blog is meant to be informational. It is not meant to be all-encompassing legal advice. If you are facing a situation involving your professional license, seek counsel from a licensed attorney.