NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED FEDERAL LAWYERS
Last Updated on: 17th September 2023, 10:51 pm
Navigating Dental Board Disciplinary Actions in California
Getting notification that the Dental Board of California is investigating or seeking to discipline your license can be scary. Your livelihood and reputation are on the line. But with the right legal help, many dentists are able to resolve these issues and move on with their careers.
If you find yourself facing potential discipline from the Dental Board, here is what you need to know:
Common Triggers for Disciplinary Action
There are many reasons the Dental Board may seek to restrict, suspend or revoke a dentist’s license. Some common triggers include:
- Patient complaints about quality of care
- Allegations of overbilling or insurance fraud
- Prescription drug violations
- Criminal charges related to practice
- Substance abuse issues
- Unprofessional conduct
Any complaint filed with the Board will be investigated. If investigators find evidence to support disciplinary action, the Board has the authority to seek remedies such as probation, suspension, practice restrictions or full revocation of the dentist’s license.
The Disciplinary Process Step-by-Step
If the Dental Board decides to initiate disciplinary proceedings, here is the typical process:
- The Board files an Accusation detailing the alleged violations and proposed discipline.
- A hearing is scheduled, allowing the dentist a chance to contest the charges.
- An Administrative Law Judge hears evidence from both sides at the hearing.
- The Judge issues a Proposed Decision siding with either the Board or the dentist.
- The Board reviews the Proposed Decision and votes to adopt, amend or reject it.
- If adopted, the discipline becomes final unless appealed.
This entire process can take many months. Throughout, the dentist has the right to legal representation to defend their license.
How a Dental Board Attorney Can Help
An experienced dental board defense lawyer can be invaluable in these situations. An attorney can:
- Negotiate with the Board to minimize discipline
- Develop defenses to fight the charges
- Represent the dentist at hearings
- Gather evidence and expert testimony
- Handle appeals if necessary
In many cases, a lawyer is able to get charges reduced or dismissed through settlements with the Board. Even if some discipline is inevitable, skilled representation can often minimize the impact.
Choosing the Right Dental Board Attorney
Not all lawyers have the specialized expertise needed for dental board defense. Look for an attorney with extensive experience representing dentists in disciplinary proceedings. Key credentials to seek include:
- In-depth knowledge of dental practice and regulations
- Relationships with Dental Board prosecutors and officials
- Track record getting charges reduced or dismissed
- Litigation experience for hearings and appeals
It’s also helpful to find a lawyer familiar with related areas like health care fraud and prescription monitoring. Dental board accusations often intersect with these issues.
Strategies for an Effective Defense
There are various approaches an experienced attorney may use to defend a dentist, depending on the details of the case. Common strategies include:
- Questioning the investigation – Many complaints rely on limited information. Thoroughly investigating the allegations can reveal inconsistencies or exculpatory evidence.
- Attacking the charges – Vague accusations of “gross negligence” or “incompetence” can often be defeated through legal motions and arguments.
- Using expert witnesses – Qualified experts can provide opinions to refute charges of substandard care.
- Highlighting mitigating factors – Information on the dentist’s training, continuing education and years of quality care can be persuasive.
- Negotiating settlements – Settlement agreements allow charges to be resolved without lengthy litigation.
An attorney experienced with the Dental Board will know how to deploy the right defense strategy for the situation.
What to Do If You Receive a Complaint or Accusation
If you are contacted by the Dental Board regarding a complaint or investigation, it’s important to engage counsel promptly. An attorney can advise you on how to respond in a way that protects your interests.
You have the right to legal representation throughout the investigative and disciplinary process. Don’t go it alone. The stakes are high, and a skilled lawyer can make all the difference.
With the right defense, many dentists are able to resolve Dental Board complaints without major damage to their careers. Don’t panic, get experienced legal help, and focus on presenting your best case.