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Examining the complaint process as it relates to licensed MN dentists – IV

Back in April, our blog began the painstaking process of examining what happens when the Board of Dentistry, the agency tasked with investigating and disciplining licensed dental professionals for violations of the Minnesota Dental Practice Act, receives a written complaint.

Our purpose in doing so has been to debunk some longstanding myths and provide some much-needed clarity to those who have invested so much time, money and energy into their chosen profession.

In today’s post, we’ll move toward the conclusion of this discussion by exploring the third way in which the Board can respond to a written complaint: the stipulation and order.

The stipulation and order

When the Board decides a licensed dental professional has violated the Dental Practices Act, and must be held accountable for their prior conduct or as a means of protecting the public, the Complaint Committee will ask him or her to enter into what is known as the stipulation and order.

In general, the stipulation and order are defined as the following:

  • Stipulation: This is an agreement reached between the licensed dental professional and the Complaint Committee as to the disciplinary measures (i.e., license limitations) to be imposed for the alleged violations of the Dental Practice Act.
  • Order: This is issued after the full Board has reviewed and approved the terms of the stipulation, a move that essentially allows the suggested disciplinary measures to take effect.

It’s important to understand, however, that licensed dental professionals are not powerless in these situations, as there is always a chance that the full Board will reject the stipulation and order. More significantly, licensed dental professionals themselves can also refuse to accept the disciplinary measures advanced by the Complaint Committee.

In either of these cases, the matter will be classified as a contested case and brought before an Administrative Law Judge who will then consider testimony and other exhibits — much like a civil trial — and issue a binding decision as to the discipline that may be taken.

We will conclude this discussion in our next post, exploring the types of disciplinary measures that can be pursued by the Board.