Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Morning Drill: February 29, 2012

Dr. Cole and Laptop

Good Morning and Happy Leap Year!

On to today's dentistry and health headlines:

Sacramento Dentist Accused Of Performing Unnecessary Work

The Dental Board of California announced on Tuesday that it has suspended the license of a Sacramento dentist for allegedly performing unnecessary procedures such as root canals and fillings on patients’ healthy teeth.

The dentist, David Milton Lewis, is also accused of submitting numerous false insurance claims for work that was never performed.

Lewis, who has a private practice on Marconi Avenue in Sacramento, is prohibited from performing any dentistry until the board’s administrative case against him has been resolved.

Dental Board investigators found evidence that Lewis performed the unnecessary procedures on at least 17 patients, in some cases causing irreparable harm to their teeth.

They also allege that Lewis submitted fraudulent reimbursement claims to an insurance company, in one case for crowns placed on two teeth that didn’t exist in the patient’s mouth.

They say the investigation has also found that Lewis was inappropriately offering cash rewards to UPS employees in exchange for referrals.

NJ dental board to decide teeth-whitening case

he New Jersey dental board should decide if teeth-whitening services offered by nondentists at mall kiosks and beauty salons constitutes the practice of dentistry, a state appellate court has ruled.

The New Jersey Dental Association (NJDA) filed a 2010 lawsuit against Beach Bum Tanning, an East Coast chain with 17 locations in New Jersey, that has been offering its clients teeth whitening alongside its tanning services.

Last summer, a New Jersey judge ruled in favor of the tanning salon, finding that the dental association did not have legal standing to enforce the provisions of the state Dentistry Act through unfair competition claims.

The NJDA then appealed the case. Now the appellate court has overturned the lower court's ruling, citing a precedent case that found that professional associations can sue on behalf of their members to prevent unfair competition.

"The State Board unquestionably has both expertise in the practice of dentistry and the primary authority to police its practice," according to the February 24 ruling by the state court's appellate division.

If the dental board finds that teeth whitening constitutes the practice of dentistry, the NJDA can seek a court injunction to make the company stop offering the service, the court ruled.

Hygienist sues dentist for overtime pay

A dental hygienist has filed a lawsuit claiming she was not paid for overtime hours despite consistently working more than 40 hours a week.

Claiming violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, Teri L. Burgoon filed suit against Norman J. Pomerance, doing business as Norman J. Pomerance D.D.S, on Feb. 21 in the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division.

Burgoon worked for the defendant for four years as an hourly-paid hygienist in Pomerance's Denton office.

The defendant is accused of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act and for breach of contract by allowing Burgoon only to record and be paid for 36 hours per week, even though she states she consistently worked more than 40 hours per week.

Dentist eviction leaves another woman denture-less

Scores of patient's dental work are now shuttered inside a Queens office all because of a dispute between the landlord and the dentist. Weeks ago we helped out an 88 year old patient get her teeth back. Another patient saw that report and called for help.

For the past few months Lisa Dickstein's been missing five teeth.

And now there's another hole, this time in her wallet. Lisa forked over $850 to her dentist to make an upper plate for her missing teeth.

"I was very angry and I didn't know what else to do," Dickstein said.

In October, she paid Jamaica Dental Center in full, and by December she was told her plate was done. Lisa says her dentist called her to come pick up her teeth, but when Lisa arrived at the office she was in for an unsettling surprise.

"It was all locked up," Dickstein said.

Turns out the dentist was evicted and scores of patients' records and half finished dentures were held hostage.

The landlord told 7 On Your Side that he had no choice but to lock the dentist out. All because he won an $88,000 judgment against the dentist last summer. The landlord told 7 On Your Side he gave the dentist months to pay. When he didn't, he started eviction proceedings and locked him out. According to the landlord, law prohibits him from touching the office's contents which puts scores of dental work and records in limbo.

Enjoy your morning!

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