The infection prevention and control (“IPAC”) craze has had dentists scratching their heads for quite some time wondering where to turn for answers about IPAC, Public Health Ontario (“PHO”) inspections, which of the many IPAC guidelines to follow, how to respond to inspectors, etc. If you’re out of the loop and need to find out more about the “craze” that started last summer, see our previous IPAC blogs by clicking here.
The description of the checklists on the PHO website states:
These checklists were developed to assist public health units and others during IPAC lapse investigations and can be used to conduct inspections, audits and reviews of IPAC programs in dental practice settings.
That’s helpful, right? But it appears that an inspector who comes to your practice may be using these two checklists to assist in ensuring compliance. The language is not definitive and room is left for inspectors to use other documents. What’s more, the checklists reference sources from the RCDSO guidelines and Dispatch articles, the Occupational Health and Safety Act, PHO documents, Provincial Infectious Diseases Advisory Committee (PIDAC) documents, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) documents, etc.
So, although instructive on the matter, the new checklists may not be the definitive answer dentists were waiting for about their IPAC obligations!
The RCDSO put out a news release early this month stating that they have worked closely with PHO to develop the new checklists.
The RCDSO also took the opportunity to confirm that the RCDSO has always and continues to suggest that dentists’ professional obligations include
following public health guidelines as well as the recommendations of manufacturers of sterilization and other dental office equipment to ensure patient safety at all times.
They also hint at “potential changes” to the RCDSO Guidelines but confirm that no changes are anticipated until at least the new year.
What’s interesting is that despite recommendation that dentists follow public health guidelines and manufacturer recommendations for sterilization, they also state the current RCDSO guidelines will remain in effect and that “We have had no reports of any dental office that follows the current Guidelines being closed” which is a confusing message to send to dentists.
Right now, dentists don’t know where to turn for authoritative IPAC information. They are pulled in every direction from PIDAC to RCDSO to CDC to CDA – each of which have their own guidelines, recommendations and IPAC documents – some of which are similar but not always the same. And with confusing and contradictory information about which document to follow for proper IPAC measures in their dental practice, no wonder there is so much head scratching going on.
Although not the definitive answer dentists were waiting for, the new checklists are certainly instructive and a step in the right direction. But it is my hope that the PHO and RCDSO continue to collaborate to create a consolidated guideline document for dental practices that will help dentists to easily access one authoritative document and then feel safe and at ease knowing that they are conducting their IPAC using the authoritative guideline on the matter.
In the meantime, dentists should be familiar with both PIDAC and RCDSO guidelines on IPAC. If you are a dentist in Ontario you should absolutely use the new checklists to conduct an internal inspection and to see if your office would comply if an inspector walked into your dental practice today! And be sure to familiarize yourself with the other documents cited in the checklists!
Please note that the information provided herein should not be considered legal advice and is provided for informational and educational purposes only. If you need advice about IPAC at your dental practice, please contact me (Ljubica Durlovska), Jonathan Borrelli, David Mayzel or Michael Carabash. We are your legal dental team.
In June, a Burlington dental office (Dr. Vick Handa’s Upper Middle Dental) was temporarily shut down and 9,000 patients notified that instruments had not been properly cleaned before being used. According to this CBC article, patients were warned to go to a physician to test for hepatitis B and C and HIV. The RCDSO suspended Dr. Handa’s license from June 12 to June 14. On June 14, that practice was inspected and confirmed to have met infection control standards.
Now, as I write this, a Guelph dental practice is about to get sued in a class action by patients. By way of background, Guelph Dental Associates (which also operate under the name “Growing Smiles”) was shut down by public health inspectors and its 3,600 patients were urged to get tested for hepatitis B and C and HIV as a result of improper sterilization. This all started after the parents of a young patient complained about developing a bacterial infection after a trip to the dentist in June, which triggered an inspection and the shutdown. Weeks later, with the practice still not open, Gary Will of Will Davidson LLP says he signed up a few patients in a class action lawsuit (which could theoretically include all 3,600 patients) and is seeking millions of dollars in damages.
All of a sudden, infection control became the two key words of the summer for dentists. In August, for example, both Henry Schein and K-Dental are educating dentists about their obligations when it comes to infection control. And if you go on the RCDSO’s website, infection control is right there, at the top, with a link to a page that talks about:
So with that said, let’s take a look at some of the legal implications of infection control, shall we?
In the next blog, I’ll get into a dentist’s obligation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
The Ontario Government confirmed the Royal Assent of Bill 87: Protecting Patients Act on May 30, 2017. This new law makes some important changes to the Regulated Health Professions Act which of course applies to Dentists. Read more
This is an update to my blog What’s in a Name? What Dentists Need to Know about Naming Their Dental Practice. There, I talked about the types of names a general or specialty dental practice is permitted to have, but I did not discuss mixed specialty practices and co-mingled speciality and general practices. That’s the topic of this blog…
Whether we are talking about a general practitioner hiring a specialist associate or partnering up with a specialist, the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (the “RCDSO“) naming rules for mixed general and specialty practices are the same:
Separate RCDSO naming rules govern situations of two or more different kinds of specialists practising out of the same location (whether in partnership or as associates):
For further guidance on practice names, you can contact us or the RCDSO directly or visit them online for useful publications: www.rcdso.org. Please note that the information provided herein is not legal advice and is provided for informational and educational purposes only. If you need legal advice, contact me (Ljubica Durlovska), David Mayzel or Michael Carabash. We are your legal dental team.
Congratulations! You just bought or started up your very own dental practice. Now you want to give your practice a sleek, catchy name that will attract patients and give you an edge over the dentist across the street. But what name should you choose? How about “Best Smile Dental” or “Number One Dentist in Toronto”. Maybe “Dentistry on Smith Street”. Or how about “Pear Tree Dental”?
Dental practice names must be applied for and approved by the executive committee at the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (the “RCDSO“). It is considered professional misconduct to operate a dental practice under a name which is not approved by the RCDSO, with very few exceptions (such as “Family Dentistry”).
According to the RCDSO, practice names cannot include the use of descriptive terms about the practice, the practitioner, the equipment, materials, expected treatment results or any other aspect of dental practice. So the names “Best Smile Dental” and “Number One Dentist in Toronto” that you were considering earlier are unacceptable.
So, if the name of your dental practice cannot refer to “any other aspect of dental practice” then what can the name refer to?
According the the RCDSO, and from our experience, dentists who submit applications for a name which is reasonably referable to the location of the practice are normally approved. So, names such as “Dentistry on Smith Street” would be acceptable. Also, names such as “Lake View” or “Mountain View”, if you are close to a lake or mountain would also both be acceptable. However, names such as “Toronto Dentistry” may not fly, because there are thousands of other dental practices in Toronto, so that description may not be “reasonable” in the eyes of the RCDSO.
At this point you might be asking “what about areas that are so saturated that most names referring to the area or location of the practice are already taken?”
In such a situation, the RCDSO recommends that you choose a name which is completely unrelated to dentistry, such as a non-offensive object like “apple”, “tree” or “sun”. So, names such as “Pear Tree Dental” and “Sun Dentistry” will most likely be acceptable ones. But… object names are only acceptable so long as they are not “unprofessional” and do not refer to any other aspect of dental practice such as “Molar Dental”.
Specialist practices, such as orthodontic, periodontic, etc. have other rules imposed on them. The RCDSO practice advisory on practice names states that the specialty referred to must be one of the 11 recognized specialties of the RCDSO and all the dentists (including associates) who practice in the office where the name is used must be registered with the RCDSO as specialists in that branch of dentistry. So, if you are a periodontic specialist practice with the name “Smith Street Periodontics” who wants to hire a general dentist a few days per week – you might find yourself in some trouble. For further reading on mixed specialist and mixed general practice and specialist practice names, click here.
For further guidance on practice names, you can contact us or the RCDSO directly or visit them online for useful publications: www.rcdso.org.
Please note that the information provided herein is not legal advice and is provided for informational and educational purposes only. If you need legal advice, contact me (Ljubica Durlovska), David Mayzel or Michael Carabash. We are your legal dental team.
Filed under Blog, Buying / Selling a Practice, Dental Marketing, Incorporating, Start Ups, Uncategorized · Tagged with associate, associates, dentist, dentistry, general practice, names, naming, naming practice, partnership, rcdso, rules, specialist, specialist dentists, specialty practice, specialty services
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