Houston Dentistry Magazine Volume 1 Issue 1 - Page 16

Are You Prepared for a State Board Complaint? rules and regulations by Kyle Wallace, CIC “So, Kyle, I got a call from a patient and they’re upset that their root canal failed and they want me to pay for an implant and restoration. They’ve threatened a State Board complaint. What do I do?” You can substitute root canal with dozens of other circumstances and you can also insert an element of emotion, primarily fear and anger, but in general this is a question I get asked weekly, sometimes even more than once a week. It’s a good question and needs to be considered carefully. It could also be the very best motivation I can think of to have your patient records complete and in order. We’ll talk more about that later. You’ve sat through countless risk management courses and you’ve certainly been told that orderly records are key to the defense of a malpractice lawsuit. It’s a valid point, but in reality the majority of the disagreements you might have with a patient won’t generate enough damages (dollars) to war- rant the involvement of a plaintiff attorney. If a case won’t generate at least $40,000 in total damages there is little chance of a patient finding an attorney to represent them. If the case appears small, a plaintiff attorney will often refer a would-be client to the State Board to appear helpful and avoid having to send them away empty handed. So, when the patient can’t sue you and you are not willing to give them what they want, the result is often a State Board complaint. Pretty much every dentist I know is willing to bend over backwards to make their patients happy, so when this issue arises, it almost always has to do with an unreasonable expectation on the part of the patient. Malicious or not, it pretty much becomes a shake-down. It’s all about the record When a client asks me some version of the question I began this article with, the conversation turns pretty quickly to the patient re