What You Need to Know About Dental Complaints

The idea that many people put off going to the dentist is largely a myth. Every year, a little over half of the people in Chicagoland see a dentist. The vast majority of people walk away satisfied, whether they have cosmetic or other work performed. Of course, there are always exceptions. Given the volume of patients that most Illinois dentists see, some complaints are inevitable.

Most disgruntled patients do not immediately think about filing a complaint with the IDFPR. Instead, they might leave bad reviews on social media or demand partial refunds. Typically, once the patient vents or gets some money back, the complaint goes away. But if it reaches the next level, it is time to enlist the help of an experienced attorney.

Because of Tom Glasgow’s highly specialized experience in this area, he has a good track record of defending health care professionals and private individuals against the unlimited resources of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

Some Common Dental Complaints in Illinois

Almost anything can trigger an angry refund request. It could even be something like the choice of carpet color or the genre of background music. Sometimes you should take these complaints seriously and sometimes you should ignore them. It is best to use your own judgment. If the complaints touch on areas of professional competence or patient safety, however, you should always pay attention to them.

Some of the most common dental board complaints in Chicago are:

  • Unprofessional Conduct: This complaint area is quite vague. In fact, these grievances usually involve personal conduct more than professional conduct. For that reason, many of these complaints never make it too far in the IDFPR. If they do proceed, the personal/professional distinction is often a fairly good defense.
  • Financial/Insurance Issues: False advertising causes some problems in Illinois. For example, if the exam is “free,” you cannot charge for X-rays. Insurance and medical coding infractions may have nothing to do with dental care, but the dentist is still responsible for errors.
  • Substandard Care: There is a clear difference between “substandard care” and “disappointing results.” If the expected results did not materialize, it is not necessarily because the dentist did not try hard enough. Yet, there often is a relationship. The details matter, as well. Lack of basic hygiene is all too common as well, especially in busy offices.
  • Data Breach: Patient information often contains diagnosis or treatment data along with address, telephone number, credit card number, and other PII (Personal Identifying Information). The licensure, and possibly civil consequences of a data breach are often sufficient to shut down even highly-profitable practices.

Sometimes, there is an issue with another complaint from another state. An attorney must closely scrutinize such matters. There is often a difference between substandard care in State X and substandard care in Illinois.

How to Respond to a Complaint in Chicago

Always address the issue, no matter how valid or invalid it seems. Ignoring a complaint is an independent basis for action against your license. Do not go too far. If you retaliate against the patient who filed the complaint or refuse to provide more services to that patient while you are in the course of treatment, those actions are also disciplinary violations.

While it does serve both purposes, the IDFPR is more of a consumer protection organization than a licensing agency. As a result, the agency usually errs on the side of aggressive action. An attorney can use that tendency in your favor. For example, instead of a license revocation, a lawyer may often convince the IDFPR to put the dentist on a lengthy period of probation. The punishment looks worse from a consumer protection perspective. And, assuming the complaint is a rather isolated event, probation should be fairly easy to complete.

Contact Tenacious Attorneys

Do not take any threats to your ability to practice dentistry. For a confidential consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Schaumburg, contact Glasgow & Olsson.

(image courtesy of Daniel Frank)

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