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Examining the complaint process as it relates to licensed MN dentists - III

In a series of ongoing posts, we've been discussing the processes and procedures surrounding the filing of a complaint with the state Board of Dentistry, the agency tasked with investigating and meting out discipline for any violations of the Minnesota Dental Practice Act.   

In today's post, we'll continue our discussion by exploring two of the actions that can be undertaken by the Board in response to a written complaint.

Closure

This is typically the best possible outcome that can be reached for a licensed dental professional, as it means that after reviewing all of the pertinent information, two or more members of the Compliant Committee have found that the complaint warrants neither corrective action nor disciplinary action.

Indeed, if the committee members vote to close a matter concerning allegations of substandard dental treatment, it means that they did not find that the treatment in question rose to the level of 1) gross incompetence or 2) repeated instances of substandard care.

While the Board will keep the closed complaint in its non-public files, it retains the right to reopen it should similar complaints arise at a later date.

Agreements for corrective action  

This is typically the second best possible outcome that can be reached for a licensed dental professional, as it means that committee members have determined that the conduct addressed in the complaint constituted only a minor violation and does not merit disciplinary action.

In general, corrective actions result in dismissal, and are not meant for scenarios where the enactment of long-terms conditions or monitoring is appropriate. Furthermore, they are not reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank, as they are different from disciplinary actions.

It should be noted, however, that corrective actions are treated as public information and while not available via the Internet, can be secured via a request submitted to the Board office.   

We will examine what happens when the Board decides to issue a disciplinary order in a future post.

In the meantime, if you are licensed dental professional who has been named in a written complaint filed with the Board, it's important not to be intimidated and to consider speaking with a skilled legal professional as soon as possible to address the matter.

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