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A professional misconduct finding for a dentist could lead to a range of consequences. On the higher end, a dentist might receive a:
• Conditional dental license suspension
• Unconditional dental license suspension
• Permanent revocation of their license.
On the lower end, the consequences could be:
• An administrative warning
• Maximum $10,000 fine for each charge
Therefore, any complaint or investigation can become a very serious matter. The best way to protect your future and career is to secure legal representation the moment you find out you are facing professional discipline.
Types of Misconduct Charges
Typically, charges of misconduct is the basis for bringing charges against a dentist. A situation has occurred that raises allegations of some dishonest act or fraud. Charges that fit into this category include:
• Billing fraud
• Falsification of records
• Improper fee splitting
• Fraudulent practice
A dentist may also be charged for failing to practice dentistry properly. This accusation include:
• Negligent or incompetent practice
• Practicing while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or mental illness
• Allowing unauthorized people to practice dentistry
• Performing procedures that exceed the scope of their authorized practice
• Physical or sexual abuse of a patient
In many cases, these actions could be prosecuted criminally.
The Start of Misconduct Investigations
Generally, most misconduct investigations begin after a patient, employee or colleague files a complaint. Others may begin after a separate investigation agency reports findings to the OPD after discovering actions of misconduct.
Implementing procedures that will detect, correct and prevent any deviations from standard professional practices, and applicable laws and regulations is a way to minimize fraud or professional negligence accusations.
Many dental offices are vulnerable to making innocent claims and billing submissions. With an effective compliance program, you can encounter fewer instances like this. Putting protocols and rules in place to ensure everyone on your staff complies – complete with documentation – with handling services, prescriptions and procedures.
You Could Lose Your License after a Conviction
Being convicted of a crime can lead to professional misconduct charges. The result of this is losing your license as a dentist. This serious outcome is proof that you need the advice of an attorney who is experienced with health care law.
Before you face a conviction or accept a plea bargain, allow a knowledgeable Boston dental license defense attorney evaluate the settlement proposal. He or she will consider the potential repercussions of whether you can keep your dental license.
Once an investigation begins, the investigating agency will demand records and information to examine the allegations. Never provide anything before speaking with your legal counsel.
Certainly, you have a duty to cooperate, so ignoring the investigators will not make them go away. However, you do not want sabotage your case by releasing unnecessary information.
Making the wrong statement or turning over the wrong documentation can damage your case. Additionally, doing so could expose you to more charges.
Audits and Investigations Can Lead to Misconduct Charges
Even if you go through audits and investigations without being penalized for professional misconduct, there is a possibility that other misconduct charges may stick. An example of this is failing an overpayment audit.
If it is revealed that an overpayment occurred from fraudulent behavior or bad recordkeeping, you could be subject to criminal charges in addition to a professional misconduct investigation.
At this time, fraud and negligence become the central focus of the investigation. Failing to maintain proper medical records can lead to additional instances of misconduct. A patient who is unhappy with the outcome of services or experience health problems may allege negligence.
Another area that may come under scrutiny is the financial dealings of your dental office. Many complex regulations can impact how the results of this investigation plays out. Speculation of fraud may arise from questionable hiring, contracting and advertising practices.
When impairment from alcohol drugs or a mental illness become the basis of a complaint, you may face some difficult decisions. An attorney can help arrange for you to get treatment without sacrificing your career.
Speak to Our Boston Dental License Defense Attorneys
Dental license defense attorneys at Raiser & Kenniff, PC are available throughout every stage of a misconduct proceeding. We will evaluate proposals and draft responses while providing vigorous and effective representation. Our service includes protecting you from accusations by implementing compliance plans and identifying best practices.