Dentists in Texas face heavy regulation in their day-to-day practice, at the level of practically every element of their behavior and business decisions. And what they may do in the course of advertising their services is no exception. While other businesses may make room for all sorts of inducements to reach out to and bring in new clientele—such as car dealerships holding raffles of a new automobile to bring people in to consider new vehicles—dentists may do no such thing. And doing so may subject a dentist to disciplinary action by the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners.
Indeed, in Title 22, Part 5, section 108.58 of the Texas Administrative Code, a portion of the regulations which govern the powers of the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners, it is laid out plainly. Anyone who is licensed to practice dentistry in Texas may not offer any sort of “cash, gift, premium, chance, reward, ticket, item, or thing of value” in order to solicit new patients to their practice. Nor may they make any such items or inducements available to third parties, or even help someone else to do so.
There is a minor allowance, however, for objects (“non-cash gift”) that are valued at less than ten dollars. And the provisions do not prohibit a dentist from paying a professional for other forms of advertising services, so long as the payment made is for the fair market value of those services, and is set in advance of the services rendered.
But this shouldn’t be construed to mean that dentists may not offer gifts of the sort enumerated to other classifications of people. Indeed, the provision clearly states that this prohibition applies exclusively to solicitation of new patients. Patients with whom dental professionals have an already-existing relationship are explicitly exempted.
This may cause confusion and result in unwarranted complaints against your dental license—and this, in turn, may put your livelihood at risk.
If you have been notified of a complaint claiming violation of this advertising rule before the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners, BERTOLINO LLP can help. Our experienced dental license defense attorneys are skilled at navigating the TSBDE's complaint process. We are prepared to represent you at any legal hearing or proceeding regarding your professional license. With offices in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio, we serve clients all over the state. As experienced attorneys, well-versed in state and federal laws, we know how to win. Contact us today or call (512) 717-5432 to schedule a case evaluation.