Dentist License Defense
New York Dental License Defense Attorneys
Investigations into your New York dental practice can be scary, as they can threaten your license and your very livelihood. That’s why it’s imperative to seek out experienced New York dental license defense attorneys at the earliest stages of an investigation.
You want a legal team that has experience successfully representing dentists and dental hygienists before the New York board of Dentistry and the state Department of Education Office of Professional Discipline (OPD). The lawyers at Joseph Potashnik & Associates are at your service, with more than a decade experience doing exactly that.
How the New York Disciplinary Process Works
Most dentists and dental hygienists don’t have to deal with the New York disciplinary process, which is rather complicated. The New York dental industry is regulated by the State Board Dentistry and the State Department of Education. These entities are tasked with regulating and disciplining every licensed dentist and dental hygienist in the entire state.
The state likewise has the authority to investigate and prosecute instances of professional misconduct. Profession misconduct covers a wide scope of behaviors, all of which are found in New York State Education Law. While the list is extensive, covering dozens of examples, some of the most common we’ve seen with New York dentists include:
- Conviction of a crime in New York or other states
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Inadequate supervision of staff
- Permitting unlicensed persons to practice dentistry
- Practicing dentistry with no license or an expired license
- Improper record keeping
- Fee splitting with unauthorized partners
- Fraudulent practice, inclusive of fraudulent billing issues
Negligence is the top cause of complaints and disciplinary actions against New York dentists, and the most common include:
- Failure to properly assess or diagnose treatment options
- Failure to properly record patient existing conditions
- Treating the incorrect tooth
- Performing extractions without sufficient justification or without offering less-invasive options
- Perforating a patient’s tooth during a root canal procedure
- Allowing unlicensed or unqualified staff to perform X-rays, cleaning or other professional responsibilities
Dental Disciplinary Investigations
Dental disciplinary cases can generate from insurance companies, Medicaid authorities or other sources, although most begin with a patient complaint filed with the OPD. The OPD launches an investigation once a complaint is received, and the dentist is typically notified in writing that an inquiry has begun.
The letter often asks the dentist to submit patient records if the case involves patient care. The letter may also request the dentist schedule a time to meet with the case investigator for an interview. As a licensed professional, the dentist is obliged to produce records as requested from investigators. But the dentist is not obligated to attend an interview with investigators. In fact, our attorneys here at Joseph Potashnik & Associates recommend against it.
Investigators are looking to gather information to bolster the case, and anything the dentist says during an interview can ultimately be used against them. Speaking to investigators without first speaking to an experienced lawyer is dangerous, and it often results in dentists unwittingly giving investigators damaging evidence in their case.
Dental Disciplinary Charges and Penalties
When the investigation is complete, the OPD prosecutor and board members determine if they have sufficient evidence to bring disciplinary charges against the dentist. If they do, the dentist has the option of working out a consent agreement with the state or moving forward to have the case decided in a hearing.
Either option is best conducted under the guidance of an experienced healthcare attorney who can help the dentist navigate through the process. A consent agreement is akin to a plea agreement in criminal cases. The dentist here would admit misconduct in exchange for lesser disciplinary penalties.
The options for disciplinary penalties are set forth by the State Education Department, and there are many. The most serious of the penalties is license revocation. The dentist may also choose to voluntarily surrender their dental license. Additional options include license suspension, censure and reprimand, probation or fines. Dentists may also have specific restrictions put on their practice.
Defending New York Dental License
No matter what the allegations or penalties may be in a dental disciplinary case, it’s important to have a qualified lawyer by your side. You want an attorney with real experience defending dental licenses, as well as a proven record of dealing with OPD and the State Board of Dentistry. While there are many lawyers throughout New York State, most lack the specific qualifications that are crucial for a favorable outcome in dental disciplinary cases.
The dental license defense lawyers at Joseph Potashnik & Associates have a long history of defending New York dentists and dental hygienists. We’ve dealt with all types of disciplinary cases and are highly familiar with all phases of the process. Don’t wait until a disciplinary issue develops into an irrevocable problem. Contact our attorneys to schedule your consultation today.