Maryland lawmakers oppose bill calling for faster addressing of dental complaints

The Maryland State Board of Dental Examiners has opposed a bill that advocates for complaints against dentists to be addressed quicker and make its process more transparent, the Capital Gazette reported Feb. 22.

The bill, sponsored by state Sens. Pam Beidle, and Sarah Elfreth, would have the board post profiles of all licensed dentists on its website and include complaints by patients.

Staffing challenges and the level of work required by the proposed changes would make it difficult for the board to comply with the bill, Murray Sherman, a legal assistant for the board, told the Gazette. "The board would like to work with legislators to improve the process but this is not the way to do it."

The bill was put to state legislators after Neil Woods, DDS, closed his practice in Severna Park, Md., in December 2019 and voluntarily surrendered his license in February 2020, 10 years after the board investigated him for complaints filed by patients.

Based on a review of 20 of Dr. Woods' patients, the board alleged he failed to conduct basic clinical charting, that radiographs were not of "diagnostic quality" and ordered at an excess and that 11 patients had implants improperly placed.

The bill copies the process followed by the Maryland Board of Physicians, which can resolve a complaint against a physician in a year, according to the report.

The board offered to form a workgroup to study the issue, but Ms. Beidle asked state legislators if there is sufficient reason to enact the proposed changes now.

The Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee will hear the issue March 2.

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