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The LaMaster Law Firm Blog

Friday, December 18, 2020

Dental Services Organization Hacked: 1 Million Patients Affected

Dental Care Alliance (DCA) has been hacked, exposing the personal information of more than 1 million patients. According to a breach report submitted to the Maine attorney general’s office, stolen information includes individuals' name or other personal identifying information, including:

  • Financial account number
  • Credit/debit card numbers
  • Security codes
  • Access codes
  • Passwords
  • PIN numbers

The Florida-based dental services organization (DSO) provides billing, accounting, payroll, volume purchasing, operations management and IT services to 320 dental practices in 20 states.

If details of the report are accurate, the incident would be one of the largest health data beaches in 2020. DCA’s breach report says that the company became aware of suspicious activity on October 11 and initiated an investigation in conjunction with third-party forensic specialists.

The report stated that unauthorized individuals accessed the DCA’s network between Sept.
Read more . . .

Monday, November 30, 2020

Most Dentists Anticipate Steady or Increased Reliance on Telehealth Going Forward

This blog previously covered the rise of teledentistry during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic (here). Now, a new study shows that 3 out of 4 dentists currently using telehealth anticipate an increased reliance on the technology in the so-called new normal, or until the promised vaccines and antiviral therapies come online. If you have questions about whether teledentistry is right for your practice, it is wise to consult with

Read more . . .

Saturday, October 31, 2020

The Impact of COVID-19 on Dental Practices

The coronavirus pandemic continues to dramatically impact the practice of dentistry as millions of Americans are delaying appointments. Some observers believe that this will result in an increase in practice transitions and consolidation in the dental industry. The best way to navigate this unprecedented challenge is to consult with an attorney who represents dental practices.
Read more . . .

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Hoverboarding Dentist Gets 12-Year Prison Sentence for Fraud

The infamous Alaska dentist who was videotaped pulling a woman’s tooth while riding a hoverboard is facing a lengthy prison sentence after being convicted of fraud and numerous other charges in January. The hoverboarding incident surfaced in a video that prosecutors obtained as part of an investigation into allegations of Medicaid fraud against dentist Seth Lookhart.

The Backdrop

The Alaska Department of Law opened its investigation into Lookhart in 2016 after a former employee blew the whistle on the dentist for administering more drugs to patients than necessary to inflate medical bills that were submitted to Medicaid for reimbursement.

Meanwhile, Lookhart pulled a tooth from a patient while riding a hoverboard in 2016, captured the incident on video, and shared it with people outside his office. The video eventually made its way to prosecutors during the investigation.

Read more . . .

Monday, August 17, 2020

Are the ADA and WHO at Odds Over Essential Health Care?

As dental practices continue to open in the face of the COVID-19 crisis, the World Health Organization (WHO) recently issued guidance recommending dental practices prioritize essential care and delay routine, nonessential care in communities where transmission of the coronavirus is high.

Days before the WHO issued its recommendations, the American Dental Association (ADA) Board of Trustees adopted an interim policy stating that dentistry is essential health care. ADA President Chad P. Gehani said in part, “this policy recognizes the need for people to be able to continue to access the full range of dental services..
Read more . . .

Monday, July 20, 2020

In Focus: Infections and Dentist Liability During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has raised concerns about the potential of the spread of infection in dental practices. The reality of the situation is that dental work, especially invasive procedures, has always carried the risk of infection. However, the COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented challenge as it relates to dentists’ liability for the transmission of life-threatening infections.

Because lawmakers have yet to craft legislation that provides dentists and other medical professionals with safe harbor from negligence lawsuits, the best way to protect your practice from the potential of liability in the time of COVID-19 is to consult with Read more . . .

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

In Focus: Reopening Your Dental Practice in the COVID-19 Era

Dental practices forced to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic are gradually reopening. While dentists and oral surgeons have been handling emergency cases, dental practices have compelling reasons to open, from both an economic and general healthcare perspective.

Dentists need to resume providing preventive care and treatment to remain viable while patients run the risk of dental problems by continuing to put off care due to fears of contracting COVID-19. How can dental practice reopen in the face of unprecedented health risks and ensure the safety of their staff and their patients?

Given the potential liabilities dentists face due to the potential spread of COVID-19 in their offices, it is crucial to have informed representation from an attorney who Read more . . .

Friday, May 15, 2020

How TeleDentistry Can Help Your Practice Navigate the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 crisis is having a dramatic impact on dentistry. In fact, the American Dental Association has recommended that dentists forego elective procedures on all patients and carefully consider performing non-emergency treatment on patients suspected of having COVID-19.

As states begin to reopen their economies, social distancing guidelines must continue to be followed, which means dental practices need to adapt. One effective tool that dental practices should consider utilizing during the novel coronavirus pandemic is teledentistry. The best way to determine the risks and rewards of relying on teledentistry is to Read more . . .

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Supply Coronavirus Test Kits to Dentists, Says ADA

The American Dental Association (ADA) has requested the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide dentists with coronavirus testing kits to protect patients and staff. The ADA has also requested that dentists be protected against liability associated with the administration or use of such tests by treating them as “covered persons” under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act.

The Backdrop

In a letter to the HHS, ADA president ADA President Chad Gehani wrote enabling dentists to test patients prior to receiving treatment will help lower the risk of dental personnel contracting the virus from asymptomatic patients. Dental staff are at an elevated risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus due to various workplace hazards, such as high-speed dental equipment that can hold germs for up to three hours.

While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has advised dentists to use either a negative pressure room or high-input suction devices to reduce exposure to coronavirus once they reopen, many dental practice’s lack these tools.
Read more . . .

Monday, March 30, 2020

CDC Issues Covid-19 Prevention Guidelines for Dental Practices

Dentists and other healthcare professionals are on the front-lines of the battle against the novel coronavirus. The American Dental Association has recommended that dentists forgo elective procedures and to follow Read more . . .

Thursday, February 13, 2020

In Focus: Employee Misclassification in Dental Practices

Dental practices often classify dental associates and hygienists as independent contractors as a means of controlling costs: payroll taxes, workers’ compensation insurance, unemployment insurance withholdings. In addition, independent contractors are not entitled to the wage and hour protections under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which basically means they are not required to be paid overtime.

Because state and federal agencies have stepped up regulatory enforcement of employee misclassification across multiple industries, including the medical profession, it is crucial for dental practices to properly classify associates, hygienists and other employees.
Read more . . .

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