Minnesota Dental Board Rejects Random Inspections
Earlier this year, in an effort to protect public health, Jake Manahan, JD, a citizen member of the Minnesota Board of Dentistry, proposed implementing random inspections of dental offices throughout the state.
Earlier this year, in an effort to protect public health, Jake Manahan, JD, a citizen member of the Minnesota Board of Dentistry, proposed implementing random inspections of dental offices throughout the state. It was thought that such assessments would ensure dentists and their teams were following infection control protocols. The board ultimately rejected the plan 5 to 4. The four board members in favor of inspections included two citizens, a dental assistant, and a dental hygienist.
The random visits would have inspected approximately 3% of the state’s 4,000 dental practices each year. Manahan was disappointed by the rejection. He commented that he doesn’t believe patients are “in a position to sufficiently ascertain whether a licensee is practicing legitimate infection control.” Currently, offices are inspected only if a patient or employee files a complaint.
Board President David Gesko, DDS, cited cost as the basis of his opposition. “As board members, we need to be stewards of the state and spend its money judiciously,” he said. “Creating staff, systems, and processes to do this is not a good use of the state’s resources.”
State Senator Tony Lourey (DFL, Kerrick), chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Finance Committee, said he’s worried dentists on the board are more concerned about protecting their interests than protecting the public. Lourey also stated a need for hearings on whether the board needs to be reconstituted to ensure that the dentist majority cannot influence or block policy.
From Dimensions of Dental Hygiene. December 2015;13(12):14.