The Dental Board of California (DBC) has been issuing a growing number of citations over the past few years. As noted in its 2018 Sunset Review Report to the California Legislature, the DBC issued 47 citations in fiscal year 2015-2016, 56 citations in 2016-2017, and 64 citations in 2017-2018, for 36% increases in each of the previous four years. According to the report, the five most commonly cited violations are:
- Failure to produce patient records
- Failure to follow infection-control guidelines
- Failure to comply with bloodborne requirements
- Grounds for action: conduct of proceedings
- Unprofessional conduct
Under state law, patients or their representatives are entitled to receive a copy of their information as well as to direct the copy to another individual or entity. Practices must provide copies in the form and format requested by the patient, if such a format is readily achievable, within 15 days of receiving such a request. Records include x-rays, photographs, and models and include any written or recorded information, even if it isn’t clinical.
The California Dental Association (CDA) offers resources for complying with records requests, including “Patient Records—Requirement and Best Practices” and “Patient Request to Access Records Form and Q&A’s.” The CDA also offers nearly two dozen resources on infection control, such as the dental board’s infection control regulations and numerous templates and documents needed to comply with those and California/OSHA regulations.
In the report, the DBC notes that citations “may be used when patient harm is not found, but the quality of care provided to the consumer is substandard.” The DBC also says that it has “expanded the scope” of its cite and fine practices “to address a wider range of violations that can be more efficiently and effectively addressed through a cite and fine process with abatement and/or remedial education outcomes.”