By: Debbie Hagan
Last week, News 4 in San Antonio, Texas ran a story about how the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners farms out it’s duties to the local police station instead of investigating themselves. Thanks to a tipster, who says the dental board isn’t the least bit interested in making any changes, I’m publishing the story here, not to critique the story but to comment on the luncy of the content.
Dental board refers out criminal investigations
by APRIL MOLINA
March 14, 2017
“The Texas State Board of Dental Examiners receives dozens of complaints each year; among them, drug diversion and addiction, practicing dentistry without a license and dentists performing unnecessary work.”
Uh, I would say it’s more like hundreds of complaints; maybe even thousands.
"It is I think appropriate that the dental board evaluate all complaints and if they find wrongdoing, either civil or criminal, then it's incumbent upon our dental agency, our dental board to take action," said Texas State Senator Charles Schwertner.”
The citizens of Texas think the board should as well, but over the last several years, I think they have seen the dental board take less and less action. In fact I would say the TSBDE is the least effective of all dental boards, well maybe other than California.
“The dental board has always investigated the administrative side of complaints and for more than a decade board investigators have also had the ability to conduct criminal investigations, often handing cases over to the local district attorneys for prosecution.”
"In hopes of protecting my community and protecting the citizens of Texas I passed this bill that gave them the capacity to have licensed peace officers," said State Senator Jose Menendez.
Menendez's 2003 law enabled the dental board to hire experienced dental investigators with the authority to investigate criminal cases without delay.”
Apparently the TSBDE were not doing their job in 2003 either! Over 14 very long years later, the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners have had the full force for the law behind them to investigate criminal acts of dentists? WOW! Who knew, right? I bet Lisa Jones, the Director of Investigations, should, could and would put the handcuffs on the criminals.
“In late 2016, a whistleblower tipped off the News 4 Trouble Shooters that a decision was made to re-direct criminal investigations at the end of 2015.”
“Re-direct” to where? To be “re-directed” they have to have once been “directed” to someone or someplace, right?
“3 months after Executive Director, Kelly Parker, took over, the director of investigations sent out this email to staff: "Per Kelly, as of today, we will no longer investigate the criminal aspects of a complaint. We will not be filing cases directly with the D.A. any longer. If you have a case with a criminal element, work the administrative side of it and refer the criminal elements to a local police department with jurisdiction."
Say what!! 3 months in and she took this approach? Who hired this Kelly Parker, anyway? And who is she to decide? Clearly, the ED has way too much power. Who’s directing the Director?
At a hearing of the Committee on Public Health in 2012 Lisa Jones, Director of Enforcement for the TSBDE stated she had been with the board for 10 years and Director of Enforcement for over 7. At the hearing Jones stated there had been 153 case of fraud reported and only 5 dentists in 5 years had their licenses revoked or voluntarily surrendered. When asked about cases turned over the local District Attorney’s Jones stated in the last 2 years they had turned over 200 cases and only 5 had some sort of conviction. Lisa Jones is still the Director of Investigations.
The Executive Director at the time was Glenn Parker, who couldn’t attend, but sent a letter. Committee Chair Lois Kolkhorst read from a letter sent in by Glenn Parker, where he made it clear local District Attorneys were reluctant to prosecute these cases, since murders and such took precedence. So, are you telling me, Executive Director of the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners, Kelly Parker, thinks sending a file over to the local cop’s desk would get better results!
Kelly, hon, you have a Director of Investigations, right there in your office. I bet you see her at least one or two times a week. She gets paid to “investigate”. Yet you believe you and your office staff are just too busy with ….uh…work….uh… so important that the local police station should do it! I can’t even get my head around that!
Where are you going to “re-direct” the investigations next, the local dog catcher’s desk?
“Parker would not agree to an interview, but sent us this statement: "Other agencies exist for the purpose of pursuing the criminal violation and it would be wasteful and redundant for the dental board to do so, too."
Well, Good God Almighty! Taxpayers wouldn’t want any ‘waste”! (sarcasm)
Ms. Parker, for years, those same agencies along with the state legislators—and the public— have been asking why your agency has done little to nothing to take care of dental related crimes and violations. Earn that $92,000 a year, darlin’! Now, there’s some “waste” for you to ponder.