Allcare Dental & Dentures President Robert Bates, DDS, has surrendered his dental license to resolve allegations of professional misconduct by the New Hampshire Board of Dental Examiners, New Hampshire Attorney General (AG) Michael Delaney announced.
Allcare closed all of its dental offices in 13 states, including two in New Hampshire, in January 2011. Patients arriving for appointments found a note on the door informing them that the offices were closed. Allcare has since filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Buffalo, NY, according to the AG.
After Allcare closed, the New Hampshire Department of Justice and the state dental board received more than 143 complaints from patients claiming to have had their dental treatment discontinued, according to the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office. Many patients had had their teeth extracted and were waiting for permanent dentures that they never received, and many of these patients had prepaid for dental care that they did not receive.
Dr. Bates incorporated Allcare in New Hampshire in 2006, soon after obtaining his dental license there. Under New Hampshire law, he was "practicing dentistry" although he did not treat patients in the state. Dr. Bates was therefore responsible for his and Allcare's failures to fulfill various legal and ethical duties that arose when a dental practice ceases operations.
According to the terms of the consent decree, Dr. Bates acknowledged that he and Allcare failed to inform patients prior to the closure, that neither he nor Allcare provided any further treatment to Allcare's patients after the company closed, and that he and Allcare failed to be available to provide emergency care for patients following the closure.
In addition to New Hampshire, Dr. Bates has been the subject of actions taken by the dental licensing boards of Massachusetts, West Virginia, and North Dakota.