Is Your Kansas Dentist License in Jeopardy? Don't Worry — We Can Help
Losing your dental license in the Sunflower State comes with a world of stress and myriad unexpected issues. If you're a dentist practicing in Kansas, you need to know exactly what challenges you could be up against.
It seems like, perhaps, a precaution you don't need to take since you don't expect any complaints to come your way. Think again. It's far easier than you think to find yourself at the center of an unexpected investigation. And even if you fully believe you're innocent, mistakes happen. Miscommunications occur. You could receive recommendations for sanctions completely out of left field — and those sanctions could end up making your future a lot more difficult than it needs to be.
When invitations for administrative hearings and sudden requests for information are suddenly crowding your inbox, and you're unsure how to proceed, rely on the experience of the Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm. We recognize how important it is to ensure that skilled dentists are able to continue supporting their communities, and we want to help you protect your ability to care for your patients (and support your own financial health!). Whether you need help negotiating with the relevant licensing boards in Kansas or are trying to figure out how to manage the appeals process as effectively as possible, the Professional License Defense Team is here to assist.
License Disciplinary Processes in Kansas: Names to Know
If you're at risk of facing an investigation by the licensing authorities in your state, a good place to start is understanding who the primary boards and entities are that could be overseeing that investigation.
In Kansas, there are three main entities to be aware of. They include:
- The Kansas Dental Board (or the KDB). The Kansas Dental Board is the primary regulatory body that is responsible for the issuance, renewal, and regulation of all dental licenses in your state. (When you first applied for a license to start practicing dentistry in Kansas, you probably talked to the KDB). The Board also sets the standards for ongoing dental education expectations and plays a key role in disciplinary actions when needed.
- The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (or KDHE). This group focuses most of its attention on public health and environmental safety, but whenever concerns of the KDB overlap with public health initiatives and community dental health programs, the KDHE may step in.
- The Kansas Dental Association (or KDA). This group provides several resources for dental professionals across the state, including continuing education opportunities.
As you move through your disciplinary experience, you may speak with all of these groups on occasion. No matter which group you're working with, it will be helpful to have the experienced attorneys of the Lento Law Firm Team on your side to guide negotiations and ensure every communication works in your favor as much as possible.
The Authority of the Kansas Dental Board: What Dentists Should Know
It's easy to hear names like the Kansas Dental Association or the Kansas Dental Board and brush off any communications as simple, ignorable administrative proceedings.
Don't do that. The KDB has real power that could seriously impact your future and your ability to practice dentistry. Here's an insight into the KDB's oversight:
- The KDB issues and renews licenses for dentists in Kansas. Before any dentist can practice in Kansas, they must get a license from the KDB. This also goes for any practitioner who wishes to continue practicing in Kansas. The Board verifies both professional and educational qualifications, and both grants and denies licensure as it sees appropriate.
- The KDB oversees investigations. When the KDB receives a concern or a complaint against a Kansas dentist, the KDB has the authority to trigger an investigation, review patient records, interview witnesses, and more.
- The KDB recommends disciplinary actions. If, after an investigation, a Kansas dentist is found in violation of Kansas dental laws, the Board can recommend a wide range of disciplinary actions. Typical examples of sanctions include formal written reprimands, mandatory coursework, fines, or license suspension and revocation.
- The KDB sets practice standards for dentists. The Kansas Dental Board is in charge of setting ethical and professional standards for dentists in the state, ensuring a uniform quality of dental care for all who live in Kansas. This includes monitoring adherence to continuing education standards.
The nature of KDB's oversight can take dentists by surprise. If you receive notifications from the KDB, it's worth taking them seriously. Your license is important, and if it gets revoked, that could throw a serious wrench in your long-term plans.
Understanding License Discipline in Kansas: More than Just a Formality
The list of the various aspects of your life that could get uprooted if your license got suspended or revoked is likely longer than you think.
For example, if you're facing license-related discipline, it's critical to understand that the following might be on the line for you:
- Your professional reputation. Simply being involved with a scandal or with license-related challenges could create a mark on your reputation that's hard to erase. (Note that this could happen whether or not the allegations against you are true.) With a damaged reputation, new patients and new job opportunities may be hard to come by.
- Financial health. If you face license-related discipline, you won't be able to work for at least some period of time. This could strain your finances. This will only be compounded by the fact that disciplinary actions against your license could lead to higher malpractice insurance premiums.
- Emotional and mental strain. The weeks and months you spend facing disciplinary action will be tough on you — you'll be stressed, nervous, and even scared. This can impact your professional and personal life dramatically.
With your health, happiness, and future on the line, you need to take action quickly to minimize the damage done to your license and your career. At the Lento Law Firm, our Professional License Defense Team is ready to help you negotiate for reduced sanctions, protect your reputation, and realize the most successful outcome possible.
Key Grounds for Disciplinary Actions Against Dentists in Kansas
Wondering what you'd have to do to face sanctions that could impact your license?
Under the Kansas Dental Practices Act, there are many types of professional misconduct you could be associated with that might lead to the attention of the KDB. These types of misconduct include:
- Unprofessional conduct. This is a broad category, which can include actions ranging from gross negligence to fraudulent advertising.
- Conviction of a felony. Even if your allegedly felonious behavior wasn't related to your profession, being convicted of a felony can lead to immediate sanctions.
- Abusing alcohol or drugs. If someone can allege that you've been practicing under the influence, the KDB may consider that a direct threat to patient safety. As a result, you could get your license taken away.
- Failure to maintain proper records. Documenting your patients' experiences with you is essential for safety. If you don't do this adequately or someone can demonstrate that you have falsified records, that could lead to sanctions.
- Fraudulent license-related behaviors. If the Board can determine that you obtained or renewed your license by misrepresenting yourself or engaging in other deceitful actions, you can face immediate license revocation.
- Inappropriate relationships with patients. Engaging in any type of relationship or (especially) inappropriate physical behavior with your patients can have significant consequences for your license and professional future.
What Happens After Someone Files a Complaint About a Kansas Dentist?
If the KDB receives a complaint about a Kansas dentist, some version of the following series of events will happen.
- The KDB will review the complaint. Not all complaints result in investigations. The KDB will want to consider the information presented, assess whether the alleged violation impacts one of the KDB's regulations, and determine whether it warrants further research.
- If the KDB decides that it wants to learn more, it'll conduct a preliminary investigation to find some basic information about what may or may not have happened.
- If, on the strength of this preliminary investigation, the KDB finds information that supports a case, the Board will send a written notification to the dentist in question. (If you receive this notification, this is a good sign to reach out to the Lento Law Firm Team at once.)
- After further investigating, which may include reviewing documentation from your practice and talking to witnesses, the KDB will invite you to a formal hearing. At this hearing, you can present evidence, cross-examine witnesses, and tell your side of the story.
- After the hearing, the KDB will come to a decision regarding your responsibility for the allegations against you. The KDB will also issue a proposed sanction at this time.
This might seem like the end of the road, but if you do not agree with the KDB's assessment, you may be able to file an appeal.
The Right to Appeal: Navigating Unfavorable Rulings for Kansas Dentists
Our attorneys can review the circumstances of your case and help you determine whether an appeal is a good step for you.
If it is, you'll need to work quickly. Typically, you only have a few days to pursue an appeal after the KDB releases its initial decision.
The steps to file an appeal with the KDB may include:
- Figuring out a strong basis for your appeal
- Gathering new evidence for your appeal
- Writing a strong argument in support of your appeal
- Filing the associated paperwork with the KDB before any relevant deadlines
- Waiting for the KDB to review your case
Once the KDB gets back to you with a decision, that decision will be final—whether the KDB chooses to uphold its initial decision or wants to open the door to negotiations.
If the KDB is not amenable to negotiations, you still have options. Depending on the specifics of your case, for example, you may be able to escalate your case to your local district court, the Kansas Court of Appeals, or even the Kansas Supreme Court. Our team will be there for you to help ensure each step is as successful as possible for you.
Your License Defense Champion with the Lento Law Firm Team
If you have dedicated your life to ensuring that the smiles of Kansas's people remain bright, receiving a notification that you're under investigation by the KDB can seem like a slap in the face.
It may be, but it doesn't have to cause you permanent suffering.
Our team is ready to be your advocate and help you navigate the legal and administrative landscape before you. Retain the premier services of the Professional License Defense Team, and you'll benefit from the following:
- Dedicated representation across the state of Kansas, from Wichita to Kansas City, Topeka, Olathe, Lawrence, Shawnee, and everywhere in between
- Experience that matters, as our team knows the ins and outs of Kansas regulations and laws like the back of their hands
- An efficient, personalized approach so we can help you achieve a successful outcome in a timely manner and get back to doing what you do best
Don't let licensing issues affect your professional future. Instead, allow the Lento Law Firm Team to help you create a strong defense and restore confidence in your career. Reach out to the Lento Law Firm today by calling 888.535.3686, or go online and fill out this brief form to tell us more about your case. A member of our team will contact you shortly.