Maine dentists question board's tactics; VA dental patients exposed to HIV?

Dear DrBicuspid Member,

After a number of dentists told the Maine Regulatory Fairness Board in May that they have been unfairly disciplined by the Maine Board of Dental Examiners, a member of the regulatory board said the dental board's complaint process needs to be changed. The president of the Maine Dental Association agrees. Is the situation in Maine that egregious, or is it more typical than most states would care to admit? Read more.

In other news, failure to properly clean dental instruments may have put more than 1,800 patients at a Veterans Administration clinic in St. Louis, MO, at risk for hepatitis and HIV. Patients who went to the John Cochran Veterans Administration Hospital dental clinic between February 2009 and March 2010 are now being notified by certified letter, urging them to go back to the hospital for testing. Read more.

And over in the Practice Management Community, proponents of midlevel providers argue that the quality of care is equal to that of dentists, and that the dental midlevel provider model mirrors that used with certified physician assistants or certified nurse practitioners. But they are not the same at all, according to Dr. Bob Wartell, a private-practice dentist in New Mexico.

In fact, such comparisons are beside the point, Dr. Wartell argues. Rather, the case for or against midlevel providers is really a matter of economics -- and Dr. Wartell's solution might surprise you. Click here to read more in our latest Second Opinion feature.

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