Disciplinary proceedings by the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners (“the Board”) that arise from a complaint can lead to serious consequences that may endanger your career. Therefore, securing legal representation by an experienced dental license defense lawyer at Bertolino LLP, can be critical from the outset of any complaint against you.
Disciplinary Sanctions by the Board
The Board can issue various sanctions in response to findings that licensed dentists have violated one or more of the rules or laws that govern their profession. The severity of these sanctions differs according to the circumstances but may include the following under 22 Tex. Admin. Code § 107.206:
- Remedial Plan – A Remedial Plan is a non-disciplinary sanction by which the license holder agrees to complete certain steps as the Board requires. The license holder is also responsible for paying a $500 Remedial Plan fee.
- Administrative Penalty – An Administrative Penalty is a monetary fine and constitutes a disciplinary action by the Board.
- Warning – A Warning is a disciplinary action that may or may not be accompanied by an Administrative Fine.
- Reprimand – A Reprimand is a disciplinary action that may or may not be accompanied by an Administrative Fine.
- Probated Suspension – A Probated Suspension is a higher level of disciplinary action that lasts for a specified period of years but still allows a license holder to continue practicing dentistry. A Probated Suspension may or may not be accompanied by an Administrative Fine.
- Enforced Suspension – An Enforced Suspension is a higher level of disciplinary action that lasts for days or years. A license holder may not practice dentistry while under an Enforced Suspension. An Enforced Suspension may or may not be accompanied by an Administrative Fine.
- Revocation – A Revocation is the highest level of disciplinary action the Board can issue. After the Board issues an order of Revocation, the license holder may no longer practice dentistry. The only way that the person may practice dentistry in the future is to apply for the issuance of a new license under Board requirements.
22 Tex. Admin. Code § 107.203(a) outlines aggravating factors that the Board may use to warrant more severe or restriction sanctions in a disciplinary case. Board orders may contain findings of fact on each aggravating factor that applies in a particular case. Potential aggravating factors include:
- harm to one or more patients;
- the severity of patient harm;
- one or more violations that involve more than one patient;
- economic harm to any individual or entity and the severity of such harm;
- increased potential for harm to the public;
- attempted concealment of the act constituting the violation;
- intentional, premeditated, knowing, or grossly negligent act constituting a violation;
- prior similar violations;
- previous disciplinary action by the Board, any government agency, peer review organization, or health care entity;
- violation of a Board Order; and
- other relevant circumstances increasing the seriousness of the misconduct.
Likewise, 22 Tex. Admin. § 107.203(b) provides various mitigating factors that may warrant less severe or restrictive Board action in disciplinary proceedings. Board orders may contain findings of fact on each mitigating factor that applies in a particular case. Potential mitigating factors include:
- self-reported and voluntary admission of violation(s);
- implementation of remedial measures to correct or mitigate harm from the violation(s);
- acknowledgment of wrongdoing and willingness to cooperate with the Board, as evidenced by the acceptance of an Agreed Order;
- rehabilitative potential;
- prior community service and present value to the community;
- other relevant circumstances reducing the seriousness of the misconduct; and
- other relevant circumstances lessening responsibility for the misconduct.
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Potential Stipulations in Board Orders
The Board may issue various stipulations in Board orders, as justified by the actions of the license holder in violating the laws or rules that govern their professions. To reach these stipulations, the Board may also utilize applicable aggravating and mitigating factors as listed above. Potential stipulations include the following:
- Continuing education in applicable areas of practice;
- An administrative fine, which may not exceed $5,000 per occurrence (this is NOT the same as an administrative penalty);
- Restitution to patient as permitted by Board rules;
- Community service;
- If the matter involves misuse or addiction to drugs or alcohol, request for evaluation by Professional Recovery Network (PRN) and continuous participation in PRN for a period of years recommended by PRN evaluator;
- Restriction or revocation of sedation/anesthesia permits;
- Restriction or required surrender of DEA controlled substances privileges;
- Restriction on the prescription and/or in-office use of controlled substances and dangerous drugs;
- Mandatory group practice requirement;
- Restriction on the scope of practice or procedures permitted under license;
- Restrictions on the delegation or performance of delegated tasks under license;
- Audits of practice procedures or patient records created during practice; and
- Remedial education and demonstrations of competency.
The Board also publishes a Disciplinary Matrix that provides for the First, Second, and Third Tier violations of different rules and laws that govern the profession. The matrix outlines the range of potential sanctions for each tier of the different violations, so that license holders can get a clear idea of what they may expect in disciplinary proceedings.
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We Will Protect and Defend Your Dental License
You can count on the experienced dental license defense lawyers at Bertolino LLP, to take all steps necessary to protect your license and career. We will investigate the circumstances that led to your disciplinary proceedings and devise the best strategy for your case. Don’t wait until it is too late for us to make a difference in the outcome of your case. Call us today at (512) 515-9518 or contact us online.