Working as a dentist in Houston requires the same education and certification as dentists everywhere are required to obtain. It takes years of education, tens of thousands of dollars in education costs, and no one can practice any dental profession in Houston without a license from the State of Texas. It’s a long road for dentists to receive that license, and losing it isn’t an option. However, there are thousands of complaints filed through the Texas State Board of Dental Examiner’s Enforcement Division every year. Most are deemed unworthy of investigation, but many do result in investigation. If you’re under investigation by the board, you could lose your license.
What Constitutes an Investigation?
Not every complaint that goes through the board is worth investigating. Unless the complaint contains a broken law or unethical practice, it’s not pursued. Many things dentists are accused of are worth investigating, as all dentists in Houston are required to meet a specific standard of care and expectation. They took an oath with their licensure, and it’s one they must uphold at all times. Any dentist accused of the following is going to become the subject of a board investigation:
– Sexual misconduct
– Violation of standard of care
– Professional misconduct
– Inappropriate prescription issuing
– Not keeping adequate records
– Not paying fees
– Criminal conviction
– Substance abuse
Any dentist who is accused of any of the above-mentioned violations has the right to obtain legal counsel. It’s imperative dentists call an experienced attorney who can help them maintain the good and current standing of their professional license.
Innocence is usually easy to prove, and a dentist’s investigation is wrapped up and nothing happens to their license. However, sometimes a dentist is found guilty of one of these violations. Not all result in the loss of a license, but many do. There are also other penalties associated with violating these laws and ethics.
1. Fines: Any dentist who violates any of the laws in place for dental professionals in Texas is subject to pay fines. The amount of the fine is determined by the severity of the crime, and the type of the crime committed.
2. Restitution: If a dentist is accused of defrauding patients through improper billing or even performing procedures they don’t need to make more money, they are going to pay that money back. This also applies when the fraud is aimed at the insurance company patients use.
3. Jail Time: If a dentist is accused of a crime that has a potential prison term, they could be sentenced to time behind bars. The length of time depends on the type of offense, and it depends on how many counts of that offense the dentist is found guilty of committing.
4. Probation: The State Board recognizes dentists aren’t perfect and are human. Probation is a common disciplinary action for anyone who is accused of substance abuse issues. This gives the dentist time to seek rehabilitation, complete a mandatory program, perhaps complete volunteer hours, and submit to regular drug and/or alcohol testing before their license is reinstated.
Administrative sanctions are important to understand. Many times when a patient accuses a dentist of fraud, it’s not through his own fault. The administrative team is in charge of billing, and making mistakes could cost the dental professional in charge. This charge could result in a letter of reprimand or even fines for not paying closer attention to the administrative detail of the inner workings of the office.
The first step with any investigation is notification for the dentist accused. It’s recommended no dentist responds to any investigation without first consulting an experienced dental license defense attorney. Any information submitted with the response is considered evidence, and dentists aren’t law professionals.
With the response, attorneys suggest their dental clients submit proof they did nothing wrong. It’s best to step back and allow the attorney to handle the discussions with the board as they are familiar with the law. Being cooperative is important, but knowing the legalities involved in this type of situation is even more important.
Becoming a dentist takes years of education, hard work, and dedication to earn your license to practice dentistry. It takes only one accusation of wrongdoing to have your license revoked. Losing your dental license because an upset patient attacks your credibility and makes false accusations to get out of paying a bill or handling their responsibilities is overwhelming, but there is something you can do about it. Dental license defense attorneys work to help you keep your license when it’s in jeopardy. There could be any number of reasons your license is being questioned and at risk for being revoked, and a dental defense attorney is here to help.
– Failure to maintain proper client records
– Criminal conduct
– Practicing while intoxicated with drugs or alcohol
– Alcohol and drug abuse outside the workplace
– Abuse of patients
– Professional duties performed by staff not authorized to perform such duties
– Practicing beyond realm of licensing
These are just a few of the most common causes of complaint by customers or even staff against dentists with licenses. Anyone holding a dental license is required to practice within the scope of not only the law, but the license requirements they hold. When a complaint is filed by someone in your office or a patient, the Dental Board in your state is going to open an investigation to determine whether or not there is any basis to the accusations made against the license-holder.
Fight for Your License
When a complaint is made, you are not destined to have your license revoked. You have rights, and you have the chance to prove the claims are false or unjust. When a complaint is made against you or your practice, the Dental Board in your state takes it upon themselves to open up an investigation. During this investigation, the board collects evidence, asks questions, and demands paperwork and other items to help with their case.
It’s your job to comply with the terms of the investigation without putting yourself in further danger of losing your license. Your rights are at stake, as is the future of your hard-earned career. Dental License Defense attorneys work for you to ensure your rights are upheld, you do what is required of you without doing anything extra, and you keep yourself safe from further incrimination or suspected fraud. The law is complex and anything but black and white, which means legal representation is necessary. No one without a legal representative stands a chance of defending him or herself in a court of law should it become necessary. Legal counsel makes it possible to win your case and keep your license.
The biggest question many dental license holders have is whether or not they should hire a dental license defense attorney. The answer is simple. If you have been accused of wrongdoing and your license is being investigated, it’s time to hire a dental license defense attorney to work for you and your rights.
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