By Graham Nicol, Esq., Health Care Risk Manager, Florida Bar Board Certified Specialist (Health Law)
Q: In Florida, a dentist cannot lawfully solicit members of the public to become patients either in-person or by telephone. Does that mean dentists can solicit new patients via the mail?
A: Yes, it means exactly that. The Board of Dentistry distinguishes between in-person or telephone solicitation versus that done by mail. The reason they treat the communications differently based on phone versus mail is that phone solicitation “cannot be supervised, may exert pressure and often demands an immediate response without affording the recipient an opportunity for comparison or reflection.” A patient is not under pressure via television or radio advertising or by receiving a flyer in the mail.
As 21st century Americans, we all quite effectively ignore advertising and junk mail, but hanging up on a telephone caller is harder to do. So don’t call strangers on the phone asking them to be your patients. Even worse, don’t stroll door to door looking for patients like it’s Halloween! Getting arrested for trespassing is never going to build your practice.
This blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional legal advice. If you have a specific concern or need legal advice regarding your dental practice, you should contact a qualified attorney.