The Lento Law Firm Defends Montana Dentists
Montana can be a dream destination for a practicing professional. The gorgeous Rocky Mountains, great fishing and hunting, and alluring outdoor life can balance a dentist's professional practice. Billings, Missoula, Great Falls, Bozeman, Butte-Silver Bow, Helena, and Kalispell are the leading locales with populations large enough to support thriving dental practices. When you chose to license in Montana to build and maintain your practice, you seized a special professional opportunity.
Yet, no matter how rich Montana's allure is, you must still meet the responsibilities of a healthcare professional in a highly regulated field to practice dentistry. Montana dentists get no free professional pass. You must meet Montana code provisions for dental practice and the administrative rules of the Montana Board of Dentistry. If you do not meet those standards, the Board of Dentistry may charge you with misconduct, requiring you to respond to professional disciplinary proceedings. With your Montana dental practice at risk, retain the Lento Law Firm's premier Professional License Defense Team to help you address and defend Montana disciplinary charges. Our Defense Team is available whether you are in Billings, Missoula, Great Falls, Bozeman, Butte-Silver Bow, Helena, Kalispell, or any other Montana location. Call 888.535.3686 or chat with us now for Montana dentist disciplinary defense.
Montana Board of Dentistry Licensure
If you don't have a license from Montana's Board of Dentistry, then you won't practice dentistry in Montana. Montana Code Section 2-15-1732 establishes the Montana Board of Dentistry to govern dental practice in the state. Montana Code 37-1-131 gives the Board of Dentistry the duty to license dentists under the education, examination, character, and competence standards that the board determines. Montana Code Section 37-1-141 authorizes the Board of Dentistry to renew and withhold renewal of licenses previously granted. The Board of Dentistry provided in Montana Admin. Code Section 24.138.502 for the terms and conditions of licensure by examination. Montana Code Section 37-4-327 makes it a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and six months in jail to practice dentistry without a valid license. You must defend your license against disciplinary charges if you intend to remain in dental practice in Montana.
Nationwide Stakes to Montana Disciplinary Charges
Montana recognizes licensure by endorsement as an alternative to licensure by examination. The Board of Dentistry provided in Montana Admin. Code Section 24.138.505 for the state to recognize that another state has already licensed a dentist who is applying for licensure in Montana. Licensure by endorsement saves you substantial time, trouble, and expense. You don't have to take the dental examination or prove your good character all over again. If you license initially in Montana by examination, then you can take your Montana dental license to another reciprocating state for licensure by endorsement. Your Montana dental license thus gives you access to practice across the U.S.
But reciprocal licensure by endorsement is a two-way street in another manner. If you suffer discipline in Montana, then you generally lose your ability to license by endorsement in another state based on the Montana dental license you just lost to discipline. Don't think that you can ignore Montana's disciplinary charges to flee to another state for a dental practice. Your Montana disciplinary issues will effectively follow you into other jurisdictions. Your proper recourse is to defend the disciplinary charges in Montana. Let us help.
Montana Board of Dentistry Disciplinary Authority
The Montana Board of Dentistry has greater authority than just license dentists. Montana also authorizes the Board of Dentistry to closely regulate and discipline dentists for violating the board's standards. Montana Code Section 37-1-136 authorizes the Board of Dentistry to "adopt rules specifying grounds for disciplinary action and rules providing for" the form of discipline up to license suspension or revocation. Under the following Section 37-1-137, grounds for refusing or revoking a license are also grounds for refusing to renew a license. Section 37-1-316 states the statutory grounds on which the Board of Dentistry may discipline a dentist. The Board of Dentistry adopted Montana Admin. Code Section 24.138.2301 further articulates the grounds on which it will discipline its licensed dentists. The Board of Dentistry has express authority to discipline you and has established the rules and procedures under which it may do so. Don't underestimate its willingness to act on disciplinary charges.
Montana Board of Dentistry Disciplinary Actions
Montana's Board of Dentistry ensures that the state's Department of Labor & Industry devotes qualified personnel and appropriate resources to investigating and disciplining dentists who violate the board's standards. When you receive Department notice that you are under investigation due to a complaint of misconduct, you should know that you are dealing with enforcement professionals who represent the board in its duties to protect patients, the public, and the profession. Do not mistakenly believe that the investigating official represents you. Do not accept their advice and counsel as if it were independent. Their duties are to the board, not to you. Level the playing field by retaining our Defense Team. Don't proceed alone without representation. Your skill is in dentistry, not administrative law and procedures.
Montana Board of Dentistry Disciplinary Discretion
Montana's Board of Dentistry has more means at its disposal to discipline its licensed dentists than you might expect. It also has more ways in which it can impose discipline than simply revoking or suspending your dental license. Montana Code Section 37-1-136 authorizes the Board of Dentistry to impose any one or more of the following forms of discipline:
- revocation of a license;
- suspension of its judgment of revocation on terms and conditions determined by the board;
- suspension of the right to practice for a period not exceeding one year;
- placing a licensee on probation;
- reprimand or censure of a licensee; or
- taking any other action in relation to disciplining a licensee as the board, at its discretion, considers proper.
Montana Board of Dentistry Consent Resolution
The Board of Dentistry's power to discipline you in several ways at once appears daunting. Yet that power may work to your advantage. When you retain our Defense Team, we may be able to advocate and negotiate with Board disciplinary officials for early voluntary dismissal of the charges against you. The board's power to take "any other action in relation to disciplining a licensee" permits us to advocate for remedial training or education, mental or physical examination and treatment, counseling, and limitations on your dental practice that you are ready to accept to preserve your dental license. Your goal in defending disciplinary charges is to retain your license without interruption and without public discipline. You may even be able to avoid public reprimand with an appropriate demonstration of commitment, assurance, and acknowledgment of your duties. Let us help make a case for alternative special relief to avoid a formal hearing and the risk of a license suspension or revocation.
Montana Board of Dentistry Disciplinary Grounds
Montana Code Section 37-1-316 states a long list of the statutory grounds on which the Board of Dentistry may discipline a dentist. The Board of Dentistry amplifies those grounds in Montana Admin. Code Section 24.138.2301. Consider the following summary of those many grounds, examples of qualifying misconduct, and potential defenses that we may be able to help you raise when you retain our Professional License Defense Team.
Criminal Conviction as Grounds for Montana Dentist Discipline
Section 37-1-316 authorizes discipline for "conviction, including conviction following a plea of nolo contendere, of a crime relating to or committed during the course of the person's practice or involving violence, use or sale of drugs, fraud, deceit, or theft, whether or not an appeal is pending." Examples include convictions for assault, sexual assault, domestic violence, drug possession or delivery, and criminal insurance fraud. Defenses may involve showing that you were not convicted, that any conviction was not for a disqualifying crime, or that the court has reversed or expunged the conviction.
Credentials Fraud as Grounds for Montana Dentist Discipline
Section 37-1-316 authorizes discipline for "fraud, misrepresentation, deception, or concealment of a material fact in applying for or assisting in securing a license or license renewal or in taking an examination required for licensure." Examples include cheating on the licensing exam, misrepresenting your education on your initial license application, or concealing a criminal conviction, substance addiction, or malpractice judgment on your license renewal request. Defenses may involve proving your statements to be substantially true and not misleading, proving that any errors or omissions were innocent rather than deliberate deception, or proving that any errors or omissions were not material to your actual qualifications.
False Advertising as Grounds for Montana Dentist Discipline
Section 37-1-316 authorizes discipline for "a misleading, deceptive, false, or fraudulent advertisement or other representation in the conduct of the profession or occupation." Examples include advertising a guaranteed cure or a painless treatment. Defense may involve proving that you did not make the allegedly false statement, that the complaining witness lacks credibility, or that the statements were substantially true in the context made.
Confidentiality Breaches as Grounds for Montana Dentist Discipline
Section 37-1-316 authorizes discipline for "revealing confidential information obtained as the result of a professional relationship without the prior consent of the recipient of services, except as authorized or required by law." HIPAA violations are a special concern for employers. Examples include sharing patient diagnosis or treatment information with family members or online without patient authorization. Defenses may include a statutory exemption to report conditions or the patient's own consent.
Impairment as Grounds for Montana Dentist Discipline
Section 37-1-316 authorizes discipline for "use of alcohol, a habit-forming drug, or a controlled substance … to the extent that the use impairs the user physically or mentally in the performance of licensed professional duties," "having a physical or mental disability that renders the licensee or license applicant unable to practice the profession or occupation with reasonable skill and safety," or "engaging in conduct in the course of one's practice while suffering from a contagious or infectious disease involving serious risk to public health." Defenses may involve proof that you were not impaired, that any impairment did not affect practice, and that your impairment has abated. You may also benefit from referral to the state's Medical Assistance Program, although do not accept referral without consulting with us on the terms and conditions, or you may lose your license inadvertently.
Other Grounds for Montana Dentist Discipline
Section 37-1-316 also authorizes discipline for misappropriating property from a client or workplace, assisting in unlicensed dental practice, or committing malpractice. Defense may involve proving that you did not take any property, that others may have done so, that you did not assist in unlicensed practice and were not aware of any such practice, and that the allegations of dental malpractice are false.
Montana State Board of Dental Examiners Disciplinary Procedures
Montana must provide you with constitutional due process, meaning fair notice and a fair hearing. To meet that obligation, Montana Code Section 37-1-136 provides, "Any disciplinary action by a board shall be conducted as a contested case hearing under the provisions of the Montana Administrative Procedure Act." The Act provides detailed procedures for advance notice, investigation, exchange of incriminating evidence, prehearing resolution conferences, hearing before an administrative law judge, and limited appeal rights. Our Defense Team can help you invoke these and other procedures, including attending any hearing to cross-examine adverse witnesses. If you have already lost your disciplinary case, retain us to evaluate your appeal rights and court review.
Premier Montana Dentist Disciplinary Defense
The Lento Law Firm's premier Professional License Defense Team is available to represent you in Montana Board of Dentistry disciplinary proceedings. Our team can help you in Billings, Missoula, Great Falls, Bozeman, Butte-Silver Bow, Helena, Kalispell, or any other Montana location, just as we have helped hundreds of professionals nationwide defend and defeat disciplinary charges. Call 888.535.3686 or chat with us now for skilled Montana dentist disciplinary defense.