The Pennsylvania Department of Health is advising patients of Cotturo Dental Associates in Mount Bethel, Northampton County, that they might be at risk for infection after an investigation revealed that the practice did not follow appropriate infection prevention and control procedures.
“Failure to properly follow infection prevention and control procedures within the dental setting can place patients at risk for infections such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or HIV,” said Rachel Levine, MD, Pennsylvania secretary of health.
“An investigation by the departments of Health and State found that Cotturo Dental Associates did not follow appropriate procedures to properly clean, disinfect, or sterilize devices. The inadequate infection control procedures at this practice could create the potential for harm, so we are recommending patients get tested,” said Levine.
Patients who visited the practice at 2094 South Delaware Drive in Mount Bethel between January 1, 2007, and September 14, 2018, are urged to get tested for hepatitis B and C and HIV. The department recommends testing for all current or former patients who had dental procedures performed at the office such as cleanings, fillings, implants, denture fittings, and other procedures since January 1, 2007.
On August 23, the department sent a letter to the practice to cease and desist all patient care. It also issued formal recommendations to improve patient safety. No patients should have received care at the practice since that date, and it remains closed until the infection control concerns are addressed. Palmer Cotturo, DDS, voluntarily and permanently surrendered his license to the Pennsylvania Department of State on September 14.
“Infection prevention and control are essential steps in patient safety that cannot be overlooked,” said acting secretary of state Robert Torres. “It’s important to talk to your dentist about infection prevention and control and what they are doing to protect you while under their care.”
Patients can call (877) 724-3258 or visit health.pa.gov for more information.