Dentistry License Defense Lawyer in Arkansas
As a dental professional in the state of Arkansas, you may be having difficulty obtaining a license or you might be at risk of having your professional license suspended as a result of a complaint. For either situation, your dental practice needs skilled legal counsel from an Arkansas dentistry license defense lawyer in order to protect your livelihood, your career, and preserve your professional integrity.
Who Regulates Dental Licensing and Complaint Cases?
According to data compiled in October 2017, there were 1165 licensed dentists in active practice in the State of Arkansas. The licensing of those health professionals, as well as of their oral health care assistants and other professionals in the field is under the direct control and regulation of the Arkansas State Board of Dental Examiners.
Pursuant to its online status, the Board’s mission is to protect the consumer’s health and public safety by enforcing the Dental Practice Act and other legal provisions of the State of Arkansas and making sure all dental practices are in compliance.
When renewing or issuing your license, the Board will require you to declare any prior criminal convictions you have and will conduct a background check to establish there are no complaints about you or your practice.
According to state law regulations, a dental license complaint may be filed against you, as a dentist, dental hygienist, or dental tech licensed in the state of Arkansas for any alleged offenses, ranging from negligence, abuse, substance abuse or criminal conviction. There are several ways in which an investigation by the Arkansas Board can be triggered: complaints made by co-workers, or by other dental professionals or complaints made by patients.
What type of conduct can be the subject of a complaint?
First and foremost, you need to understand that receiving an Arkansas Dental Board complaint does not imply that you are automatically declared guilty or that you have done anything wrong. Work with an Arkansas dentistry license defense lawyer to establish your next steps and the right course of action. But, to make sure you are prepared and know what to expect from a professional complaint, here are a few of the most usual conduct types that can trigger such an action:
- Substandard practice provided and negligence
- Alcohol abuse and addiction
- Drug abuse and addiction
- Poor sanitary conditions
- Breach of confidentiality of patient records
- Insurance fraud
- Misleading or false advertising
- Financial Irresponsibility
- Practicing your dental services while impaired by use of drugs, alcohol
- Inappropriate conduct with your patients
- Allowing unauthorized staff to practice beyond the scope of their job
- Failing to maintain proper records.
Depending on your specific case and circumstances, a complaint made against your practice will trigger an investigation and may result in professional reprimand, a fine, suspension, denial or even revocation of license. You are entitled to a hearing before the Arkansas State Board of Dental Examiners, or in some cases, a monitoring agreement can be reached with the Board.
How a Dentistry License Defense Lawyer Can Help You Respond to a Complaint
Professional conduct allegations can ruin your reputation, put your professional license at risk, and hurt your financial security.
Whether made by one of your patients, former or current employees, or a fellow dental professional, a license complaint made to the Board will immediately result in an assessment procedure. That will help the Board determine whether the complaint is based on truth and if it constitutes a violation of the practice act. The assessment may or not be followed by an investigation.
Among the things you may have to expect is a call from an Arkansas Labor, Licensing, and Regulation (LLR) investigation. Any way you respond or any action you choose during the investigation may be used against you, so make sure you consult with your Arkansas dentistry license defense lawyer before you say anything.
Even if the investigator claims he called to hear your side of the story in an informal conversation, it is absolutely critical that you do not make any statement or answer any questions until you have discussed your case with your attorney. Do not risk your years of practice or your livelihood; make sure you look for immediate representation and consult with a dentistry license defense attorney that has the right experience and has handled similar cases successfully.
Professional Negligence Complaints
The first scope of the Arkansas Board’s inquiry will be to determine whether the complaint is founded and has any merit. A board member will contact you asking for relevant information or evidence. Dental records, medical records, any internal documents pertinent to the case, as well as your dental office’s calendar may be part of the evidence gathered. The Board will analyze these details and confront them against the allegations included in the complaint. If this preliminary assessment reveals that a complaint was not warranted, the case will be immediately concluded in your favor. If the Board members consider there is not enough information to prove the allegation, the matter will be again, concluded.
In case sufficient evidence was discovered, a further investigation will follow. The Board will appoint an investigator or have a full investigators’ team evaluate your dental practice to determine the exact extent to which you may have allegedly violated applicable standards. In this case, help from a dentistry license defense lawyer in Little Rock, Arkansas, may prove invaluable.
Criminal Activity Complaints
If your dental practice is under investigation for criminal activity complaints, there will be a few additional steps to the investigation by the Board. The appointed investigators will check all your practice’s relevant records and interview witnesses- employees, clients, and possibly even industry peers.
The investigation may include complaints about substance abuse, theft, drug use, insurance fraud or sexual misconduct. In case they manage to identify evidence supporting the complaint, the Board is under a legal obligation to forward the case to the state’s Attorney General for prosecution. As an administrative measure, the Board may move to suspend or revoke your dental practice license.
In case of a criminal investigation on any alleged substance abuse, the Arkansas Board will also provide access to one of the confidential diversion programs.
These are confidential and specially designed to help dental professionals with a substance abuse problem find rehabilitation means and avoid the loss of license for practice. In most cases, voluntary admission into one of these programs will eliminate the need to file disciplinary charges against you.
Our Arkansas dentistry license defense lawyers will be able to help with admission into any of these specialized programs.
Factors Considered in Disciplinary Action
If you are under investigation for criminal or professional negligence complaints, you may expect disciplinary action against you, should the allegations be proven. The Board may decide to revoke your dental license, suspend it or place your entire practice on probation.
Some factors are considered in determining the extent of the disciplinary measures.
A legal representative will explain these in more details, but in short, a few factors are always considered by the Board:
- The severity of the offense or crime
- The extent of harm posed to the public
- The actual harm posed to your patients
- The existence of any prior complaints, judicial action or disciplinary action
- The number of prior violations
- The existence of aggravating factors
- Compliance with probation and sentencing terms
- Evidence of rehabilitation activity
- The length of time you have been practicing
- Early and voluntary admission of the offense or crime committed
How Can Arkansas Dentistry License Defense Lawyers Help My Case?
The worst feeling that you can experience is to see your hard work as a dental professional go to waste, due to an investigation or even a lawsuit filed against you.
As a dental professional, your reputation is everything and keeping your license means, in essence, keeping your livelihood. This is why it is very important to take any allegations brought against you seriously and start working with a Little Rock dentistry license defense lawyer as soon as a complaint is made against you.
In many cases, chances are that you have been the target of an unfounded complaint and an investigation will not even happen. But, there are a few important steps to take in order to make sure your response to the board investigation is properly penned and that you act in accordance with local rules and regulations.
Schedule a Consultation with an Experienced Dental License Defense Lawyer in Arkansas
Our team of dentist license defense attorneys have the right experience; they will look into the facts of your case and prepare a course of action that will protect your professional reputation. In case an investigation is started, or worse, your case goes to the court, our seasoned team will be there for you every step of the way.
Our team of lawyers has extensive experience appearing before numerous professional licensure boards and representing dental professionals like yourself in all sorts of investigations.
Reliable, relentless, respectful: this is our credo here at Denton and Zachary. We will not only be your legal representative, but a reliable help, a friend you can count on during this complicated process. Get in touch with an experienced dentistry license defense lawyer today for a free consultation.