State Board of Dentistry Report Meeting Summary – July 15, 2022

Dr. Casey welcomed all attendees. The minutes were reviewed and approved unanimously.

Prosecutorial Report

  • The first case involved a dentist who had a patient schedule an appointment in 2019. At the appointment, the patient was asked to complete an intake form and radiographs. The patient refused and left. A day later, the patient left an unfavorable review on Yelp anonymously. The dental office responded to the Yelp review identifying the author using their full name and certain private details. The dentist was assessed a civil penalty, costs of investigation, a public reprimand, and ordered to take remedial education on ethics and HIPAA compliance.
  • In the next case, the provider was inspected by Avesis as a part of their managed care affiliation. Avesis found deficiencies in EPA radiographic compliance regulations, documentation was not HIPAA compliant, and the provider did not use the required health history questionnaire. The Bureau of Enforcement and Investigation attempted to conduct its own investigation but could not as a result of the practice closure and utilized the Avesis inspection report. The licensee had no previous history of citations and is no longer in private practice. The consent agreement for a civil penalty, investigation costs, and remedial education was rejected as being too lenient.
  • The next case was on a previous agenda and rejected as too lenient. It involved a dual licensee from Virginia who was cited in their home state for failing to maintain records. Prosecutors presented similar cases that showed the rejected consent agreement is consistent with other findings. The board reconsidered and approved the previously rejected consent agreement.
  • The next case involved someone who received an immediate suspension from the Probable Cause Committee for not keeping proper records about controlled substances. During the investigation, it was uncovered that the dentist was writing prescriptions for a family member to address substance use treatment. The provider noted that this was a continuing course of treatment from previous drug and alcohol inpatient stays and has since recognized this as outside his scope.
  • The same licensee was cited for failing to take radiographs for a carious lesion on #19 on a patient because he wanted to begin treatment immediately without excessive cost to the patient. He also did not record pain medication or anesthesia provided during treatment. An expert determined this as failing to uphold the standard of care.
  • The licensee received a civil penalty and paid costs of investigation and received a six-month inspection during which he needs to take remedial education on ethics, record keeping, caries detection, and controlled substance prescribing. Following this suspension and education, he can apply for reinstatement with a two-year probationary period, during which he cannot hold a DEA license to prescribe controlled substances. The consent agreement was approved with one negative vote.

Report of Board Counsel

  • Several regulatory revisions, including general revisions, updates to anesthesia regulations, and a policy statement on Botox, will be sent to the regulatory committee for an upcoming public meeting. The board approved the written preamble for regulations detailing licensure by endorsement.
  • The board discussed potential regulation on using typodonts and other synthetic teeth for licensure examinations. Ms. Murray is a grader and proctor for the hygiene licensure exam and felt that the tooth used for hygiene exams mimicked actual patients well, and felt it was the best option for standardized testing. Dr. Unis-Sullivan felt that the restorative tooth is similarly lifelike. Changes were made to require diagnostic ability with the restorative tooth and has developed into a much better systemic test as a result. There was question whether soft tissue damage could be measured. Several graders noted that you can fail these tests as a result of excessive soft tissue damage. Regulatory language for all testing agencies for both dental and hygiene exams will be prepared for the September board meeting.
  • Board Counsel made attendees aware of a scam that has been circulating amongst licensees. Persons pretending to be health boards have been contacting licensees using their public license information threatening suspension in an attempt to extract financial or personal information. They have cloned phone numbers and forged letterheads to appear legitimate. Mr. Rouse noted that BPOA will never take financial information over phone or fax. Notices will be received via certified mail with a contact name and phone number, and all potential suspensions will be conducted with a lengthy due process.
  • If a licensee receives such a call, do not give out personal or financial information. Contact local or state police. Ms. Sizemore also noted that the Pennsylvania Attorney General has a scam unit that receives such complaints.

Committee Reports

The Scope of Practice Committee met on June 17. Reports were presented on the topic of laser use by hygienists and Botox. Drs. Unis Sullivan and Funari will review the Botox statement of policy and recommend revisions.

All future SBOD meetings will be available in a hybrid format. Several board members noted that audio issues seemed to persist using Microsoft Teams, but this was the only platform approved by the Office of Administration for privacy reasons. Board members were encouraged to attend in person if possible.