Why Soliciting New Patients by Phone is Different Than Advertising by Mail

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.

Licenses, Licenses and More Licenses

By Graham Nicol, Esq., Health Care Risk Manager, Board Certified Specialist (Health Law)

I have a valid dental license in the state of Florida — that’s all I need to practice here, right? Wrong. As just one example: you’ll also need an occupational license — maybe even more than one! Occupational licenses are required by county ordinance and city regulations, not state law. Any business operating within city limits may have to get a county license as well as a city license.

Not feeling the love? It gets worse, ‘cause you’ll also need a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) — kind of like a social security number, but for a corporation instead of a natural person — and a National Provider Identification number (NPI).

You see, all four levels of government want to regulate you to protect the public from unsavory characters. Unfortunately, the only way government can keep these nasty people off the streets is to charge each licensee an annual fee for the privilege of practicing your chosen profession and feeding your family.

So, don’t forget: Get all your licenses and keep all branches of government well-funded.

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.

5 Things Every Florida Dentist Should Know About Records


By Graham Nicol, Esq., Health Care Risk Manager, Board Certified Specialist (Health Law)

1. Records are evidence (exculpatory or damaging).

2. They must be kept a minimum of four years post-treatment, but preferably at least seven years (statute of repose for medical malpractice).

3. They should contain an entry every time an examination, treatment or dispensing of drugs occurs.

4. They document the doctor who is primarily responsible for all dental treatment regardless of who actually did it.

5. If you get in trouble with the Florida Board of Dentistry, a count for “failure to keep adequate records” will be alleged.


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.