DOCS Education is offering a new online CEâ€”and it's free! John Bitting, an attorney specializing in dental regulations and advertising, leads this new course entitled: "What Dentists Should Know about Their Dental Boards." Clinical knowledge, practice management and regulatory awareness: the breadth of information required to practice dentistry successfully is truly daunting. That's why DOCS Education's new CE series offers a varied menu. Each course lasts 60 minutes, is available online, and provides 1 CE credit. Online CE topics cover not only clinical care of the patient but a variety of other areas addressing the work of practitioner and staff. Take the newest title: "What Dentists Should Know about Their Dental Boards." As is the case with other online CE offered by DOCS Education, the course is free to members. The latest presentation is taught by DOCS Education faculty member John Bitting. Bitting is a Washington attorney specializing in dental regulations and advertising. He's among only a handful of lawyers in the United States focusing on the actions of dental boards and the effects of these decisions upon the profession. Dentists ignore the activities of dental boards at their peril, Bitting stresses. "Dental boards act under the authority granted by their state legislatureâ€™s Dental Practice Act. They are quasi-judicial bodies with the power to establish permit fees, levy fines and mete out punishment. In a worst case, they can take a dentistâ€™s license away." Learn about dental boards by taking the new DOCS Education online CE course here. Staying within the bounds of the regulations and practicing above the standard of care is among the best strategies for staying off the radar of the dental board, according to Bitting. All of the nation's dental boards hold public meetings and most maintain websites. Those are two ways to learn what actions the board is taking, Bitting explains. "It's really important to know not only what they're voting on but also the implications of any decisions." Interpreting the decisions of a dental board is complicated not only by the lack of clarity with which many regulations are written but also by the reality of the dental boardâ€™s mission. Their role isnâ€™t to help dentists do their jobs better. The purpose of a dental board is to protect public safety, a straightforward and simple mandate most dentists donâ€™t understand, Bitting says. "Many dentists mistakenly assume the board exists either to assist or educate members of the profession." Even regulations of small scopeâ€”for example those related to advertisingâ€”can have powerful consequences if not heeded, Bitting adds. Anyone can initiate a complaint with the dental board, including a competing dentist. Should that trigger an investigation, the board has broad powers with regard to obtaining records, he explains. "Financial records, patient information, CE certificatesâ€”all of those could be requested. This broad authority to investigate is among the best reasons I can imagine to document all aspects of your practice scrupulously." Bitting advises members of DOCS Education about developments in dental regulations and advertising throughout the United States and Canada. He can be reached at Regulations@docsedu.com.
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