The Pennsylvania Department of Health is advising patients at the Center for Family and Specialty Dentistry in Reading that they might be at risk for infection after an investigation discovered the facility did not follow appropriate infection control procedures. The department recommends that patients seen between December 19, 2015, and October 19, 2016, get tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
“While we haven’t received reports of hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or HIV from patients, infection control procedures at this practice were inadequate and created the potential for harm, so we’re recommending patients get tested,” said Health Secretary Karen Murphy, PhD. “We prefer that patients receive information regarding their health directly from their provider. However, in this case, that did not happen, so we’ve contacted patients of this practice directly.”
The department has mailed nearly 1,000 letters recommending testing for current or former patients who had dental procedures performed at the office such as cleanings, fillings, implants, and denture fittings. An investigation by the Department of Health and the Department of State found that the practice did not follow appropriate procedures to properly clean, disinfect, or sterilize devices and equipment at its 2642 Bernville Road location in Reading.
On October 21, the Department of Health sent a letter to the practice to cease and desist all patient care while issuing formal recommendations to improve patient safety. No patients should have received care at the practice following that notice, the department stated, and it will remain closed until the infection control concerns are addressed.
“Infection control is an essential step in patient safety that cannot be overlooked,” said Secretary of State Pedro Cortés in a statement advising consumers in Pennsylvania. “It’s important to talk to your dentist about infection control and what they are doing to protect you while under their care.”
On November 4, 2016, the Pennsylvania State Board of Dentistry temporarily suspended the licenses of Stephen Sulzbach, DMD, of Greenville, Pa, and Jana Osmolinski, DDS, and Eric Osmolinski, DMD, both of La Jolla, Calif, who practiced at the Center for Family and Specialty Dentistry, on the grounds that their continued practice may be an immediate and clear danger to public health and safety. The suspensions will remain in effect pending further board action.
Patients are encouraged to call (877) PA-HEALTH or (724-3258) for more information. They also can go to the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s website at health.state.pa.us for more information about hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV. Additional information about infection control procedures at dental offices is available at the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention website.