Thursday, April 18, 2013

Will Oklahoma Dentist W. Scott Harrington Face Criminal Charges for Unsanitary Dental Practices?

Oral Surgeon Dr. W. Scott Harrington


More than 60 former patients of dentist Dr. W. Scott Harrington tested positive for hepatitis and HIV, the Tulsa Health Department said Thursday.

The department’s investigation of Harrington’s practice identified 57 former patients who test positive for hepatitis C, three people who test positive for hepatitis B and less than three people who tested positive for HIV.

“We understand these first reported test results may be of concern,” said THD Director Dr. Bruce Dart. “Thorough investigations are routinely conducted upon notification of a positive report for these infections. This response will be handled in the same manner, as disease investigation is a core public health service and staff are well trained to conduct this type of response.”

 Some time in an Oklahoma prison is warranted for this egregious gross negligence.

The case will grind on as more patients are screened and treated.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

The Sunday Drill: April 7, 2013

Good afternoon.

I have been tardy in posting lately since I have been practicing dentistry on a long term contractual assignment with a long commute.

So, for the next few months, bear with me.

On to today's dentistry and health headlines:

Dental Bib Clips Can Harbor Oral and Skin Bacteria Even After Disinfection, Study Finds

Researchers at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and the Forsyth Institute published a study today that found that a significant proportion of dental bib clips harbored bacteria from the patient, dental clinician and the environment even after the clips had undergone standard disinfection procedures in a hygiene clinic.

Although the majority of the thousands of bacteria found on the bib clips immediately after treatment were adequately eliminated through the disinfection procedure, the researchers found that 40% of the bib clips tested post-disinfection retained one or more aerobic bacteria, which can survive and grow in oxygenated environments. They found that 70% of bib clips tested post-disinfection retained one or more anaerobic bacteria, which do not live or grow in the presence of oxygen.

Dental groups dispute Consumer Reports cancer screening story

The dental community is up in arms over a recent Consumer Reports article that claims oral cancer screening is one of several medical tests that are over recommended and unnecessary for all but high-risk patients.

The article, which appears in the March 2013 issue, concluded that "most people shouldn't waste their time" on most diagnostic tests, including chairside visual screenings for oral cancer.

"Most people don't need the test unless they are at high risk, because the cancer is relatively uncommon," Consumer Reports wrote.

But the ADA and the Oral Cancer Foundation vehemently disagree with the magazine's conclusions, asserting that visual screening can result in earlier diagnosis of oral cancer and other oral diseases.

The Consumer Reports article recommends only three cancer tests -- cervical, colon, and breast -- as worthwhile, and includes oral cancer screening among "eight to avoid" tests: ovarian, pancreatic, testicular, prostate, bladder, lung, oral cavity, and skin cancer.

The magazine said its ratings were based mainly on reviews from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

Anonymous Dentist Sends Letters Criticizing Okla. Board of Dentistry

Many dentists in the Tulsa area received letters from an anonymous writer criticizing the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry for the way it has handled the Dr. Scott Harrington case.

The writer calls him or herself "Anonymous Dentist," and writes "Friends, I can tell you that this could happen to any of us." The writer said the board wrongfully handled the Harrington case publicly before he had had a hearing.

"The state board is really paid by and organized for the public," said Dr. Raymond Barnum at the North Tulsa Dental Center at Westview Medical Center. He said he also believes it is important to reserve judgment on Dr. Harrington until all the facts are gathered. However, he said the board's driving force was to inform and protect the public. Dr. Barnum said the media is necessary in spreading that message.

"The fact needed to be brought to the public's attention, and loudly enough, so that we get some response, so that people would go ahead and get their testing done," said Dr. Barnum.

Dr. Barnum said he believes the issue will bring about more awareness of cleanliness in dental offices. He has posted a notice in his waiting room about infection control in his office. However, he said he does not think additional regulation is necessary.

UCLA School of Dentistry awarded $11 million to help underserved communities

The UCLA School of Dentistry was awarded more than $11 million from the Los Angeles-based child advocacy and grant-making organization First 5 L.A. to expand access to dental care for children and pregnant women, the school announced today.

The funds will establish the UCLA-First 5 L.A. Children’s Dental Care Program, which will support the delivery of care to children, from birth to age 5, and pregnant women over the next five years.

School officials said they expect the program to be especially beneficial to those in underserved communities, who are at high risk for dental disease.

First 5 L.A. awarded $9.23 to the dental school last year, bringing the total amount it has received from the organization to nearly $21 million over the past 12 months.

Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Dentistry Wednesday Watch: March 6, 2013



Dentistry Today magazine has developed this video series to highlight dentistry news and, of course, their advertisers.

But, it is a smart, short production and worth a watch.

Here is the video description:

This week, we are joined by Dentistry Today March cover author, Dr. Lee Ann Brady, who tells us more about her article on avoiding restorative failure. Also, learn about clinical trials of a new oral cancer drug, and find out more about this week's innovative products: a metal refining service and a new canal-shaping system. And don't miss our special report -- learn how to enter to win an iPad with Retina Display! Visit http://www.dentistrytoday.com/ipad to ENTER GIVEAWAY.

Enjoy your morning!

Monday, March 04, 2013

The Morning Drill: March 4, 2013



Jasmine Delafuente

Good Monday morning!

On to today's dentistry and health headlines:

Sentence drilled down for embezzling dental bookkeeper


A former bookkeeper who stole approximately $5,000 from an East Palo Alto dental office while on probation for embezzling from two other Redwood City dentists will spend two years on mandatory supervision and must repay the money.

Jasmine Delafuente, 33, received a three-year term but, under the realignment split-sentence rules, she was given a year in the county jail followed by the supervision. She has credit for time served on the jail sentence and was released Friday. Delafuente must also pay $5,000 to 6 to 9 Dental, the office from which she stole between June 29, 2012 and July 19, 2012. Delafuente, who worked as the office manager, was responsible for making cash deposits and took the funds by depositing only part of the cash and pocketing the rest, according to prosecutors.

Delafuente also has another 187 days of supervision left on an earlier embezzlement case that will run consecutive to her new sentence.

In that case, prosecutors said between March 2009 and August 2010 Delafuente took $70,161.54 by taking the cash paid by patients and deleting proof of payment from office records. Delafuente urged patients to pay in cash, according to prosecutors who said she particularly took advantage of Spanish-speaking patients.

Rory McIlroy, who was 7-over through eight holes, walked off the golf course at Honda Classic - Blames Wisdom tooth

Walking off the course before you're finished with a round is behavior we're used to seeing from a hot-head on tour. Or a guy that parks his van outside a Hooters during the Masters.

But not the No. 1 player in the world who's defending his title at a marquee event.

Rory McIlroy made for the parking lot at the Honda Classic on Friday morning after hitting a ball into the water on the 18th hole at the PGA National Champion course in Palm Gardens, Fla. McIlroy had started his round on the back nine and was already 7-over par after the first eight holes. He blamed his early exit on "severe wisdom tooth pain" that was affecting his concentration.

Postmenopausal Women Who Smoked Are More Likely to Lose Teeth Due to Periodontal Disease


Postmenopausal women who have smoked are at much higher risk of losing their teeth than women who never smoked, according to a new study published and featured on the cover of the Journal of the American Dental Association by researchers at the University at Buffalo.

The study involved 1,106 women who participated in the Buffalo OsteoPerio Study, an offshoot of the Women's Health Initiative, (WHI), the largest clinical trial and observational study ever undertaken in the U.S., involving more than 162,000 women across the nation, including nearly 4,000 in Buffalo.

The UB study is the first to examine comprehensive smoking histories for participants that allowed the researchers to unravel some of the causes behind tooth loss in postmenopausal women who smoked.

Smoking has long been associated with tooth loss, but postmenopausal women, in particular, experience more tooth loss than their male counterparts.

Have a good morning!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Chicago's Dental Health Safety Net on Verge of Collapse?



According to a new report, Chicago's dentistry safety net is is dire shape.

As more than 30,000 dental experts descend on McCormick Place for their winter meeting this week, a new report issues a stark warning: The Chicago area's dental safety net — the oral care it provides to underserved patients — "is in the midst of collapse."

From 2006 to 2011, more than a quarter of the region's low-cost dental clinics were shut, according to a 30-page white paper released Thursday by the Chicago Dental Society. The report details how the local availability of dental treatment has declined for the neediest patients, leading to what one dentist calls a "perfect storm of an oral health crisis."

They have "almost nowhere to go" at this point, said Dr. Susan Becker Doroshow, secretary of the dental society. "The path for them is already irreversible."

Most factors cited in the report could apply to any municipality — strained budgets, fundamental misconceptions about oral care and shrinking income thanks to stubborn unemployment. But the dental safety net in Cook County and Chicago is especially vulnerable, according to oral health advocates.

"The economy has hit our area hard," Doroshow said. "When people are strapped financially, they take away the things from their budget they think are the easiest to postpone."

So, what else is new?

This is not just Chicago, as the American economy has struggled the past four years.

But, the solution is economic growth - something the politicians have placed on the back burner because other issues are more important.

I, foresee, more suffering before the economy improves.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Dentist Acquitted and Wins $7.7 Million Judgment in New York Medicaid Fraud Case



Dentist, Dr. Leonard Morse

Dr. Morse who at one time was one of New York's top Dental Medicaid billers lost his practice but was vindicated by a jury.

A Brooklyn dentist whose career was ruined after the then-state Attorney General made him a poster boy for Medicaid fraud won a $7.7 million verdict Tuesday against two of Spitzer’s former investigators.

That was $1.6 million more than Dr. Leonard Morse’s expert estimated the tooth doctor lost as a result of Spitzer’s probe — and, in terms of vindication, priceless.

“It took a little more than 2,500 days, but we got to the truth,” said Morse, a 65-year-old father of six from Manhattan. “Now I feel totally vindicated.”

Morse, who accused former Spitzer deputy John Fusto and investigator Jose Castillo in the suit of fabricating evidence against him, also had some choice words for their old boss as well.

“He should be ashamed that this happened in his office, under his stewardship,” Morse said of Spitzer. “His finger prints are all over it.”

Morse’s lawyer, Jon Norinsberg, also ripped Fusto as “a perfect storm of arrogance, laziness and incompetence.”

Neither Fusto, nor Castillo, work for the AG’s office anymore.

The AG’s office had no official comment, but their lawyers in court told Federal Judge Carol Amon they will appeal the verdict.

In his closing arguments, Deputy Attorney General Christopher Miller argued that just because someone is acquitted of a crime — as Morse was earlier — doesn't mean the prosecution had fabricated evidence.

“He already had his day in court, he was found not guilty,” Miller said.

But Miller looked ashen when the jury, which took just three hours to reach a decision, asked the judge for a calculator.

Spitzer, who resigned in 2008 after getting caught in a hooker scandal, could not be reached for comment.

This is disgraceful and with all of the Medicaid fraud cases being brought by the government, will dentists continue to accept Medicaid?

With the Affordable Care Act taking full effect in 2014 and with a major component of the Act being expansion of Medicaid, I somehow think there will be a lack of dentist providers.

Why put your family finances and your liberty at risk, while treating the poor?

I know, I won't.