Learning that a complaint has been filed against you can be one of the most difficult problems to deal with in your dental practice. Licensed dentists have worked long and hard to build their practices and livelihoods, and the specter of a complaint can wreak havoc on a dentist’s career and life. It is important for practitioners to understand the different types of complaints that can be filed.
Under the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners rules, complaints are designated as either Priority One or Priority Two. Under this classification system, Priority One is comprised of more serious allegations such as the death of a patient, injury to a patient, engaging in the practice of dentistry without a license, and unsanitary conditions. Priority Two is comprised of less serious infractions, such as failure to maintain adequate records and improper advertising.
In the case of all complaints, the Board will make an initial determination of whether the continued practice by the dentist will constitute a definite, impending, or ongoing threat to the public welfare. If the Board so determines, the dentist’s license is subject to temporary suspension.
Although not required, the dentist may provide a written response to a complaint. During the investigation process, the dentist may respond to the allegations if desired. If the investigation concludes that the dentist may have violated the Dental Practice Act or Board rules, an informal settlement conference or formal hearing will be held. It is during these phases—response to the complaint, investigation, and formal or informal hearings—that the dentist should have experienced counsel at his or her side to make the strongest case in favor of the dentist. The decisions made at these times can be critical to the resolution of the complaint.
If you have been notified that a complaint to the Board has been made against you, your first course of action should be to contact an experienced Texas professional license defense attorney. You need an attorney by your side who knows how to best defend your license to practice dentistry. Contact Oscar San Miguel, Attorney at Law, for a consultation at the first sign of a problem.