Saturday, January 07, 2006

Dr. Penelope Dunlap - Angola Indiana Dentist–11 Felonies

An Angola dentist accused of diagnosing fictitious cavities lost her bid Friday to regain her license to practice when the Indiana Board of Dentistry voted 6-0 to continue Dr. Penelope Dunlap’s suspension.

Five members of the board abstained but did not give a reason.

Dunlap was initially given a 90-day suspension in November that was expected to run out in February, before the board was scheduled to meet again.

The latest 90-day suspension will last until May 4, just past an April trial date that has been set on 11 felonies Dunlap has been charged with in Steuben County. * * *

In November, the state Attorney General’s Office filed a complaint with the Indiana Board of Dentistry seeking an emergency suspension in reference to questionable cavities in three patients.

In December, local prosecutors filed six counts of Medicaid fraud and five counts of attempted theft, all Class D felonies.

Deputy Attorney General Dan Cavallini said the number of patients has now risen to 11, and his office needs more time to investigate.

In all, according to Cavallini, Dunlap is alleged to have diagnosed 63 non-existent cavities and attempted to bill Medicaid and private insurers for drilling and treatment of those teeth. “We either have an incompetence issue or a fraud issue or both,” he told the board.

But Dunlap’s attorney Anthony Kraus said she denies the allegations and hasn’t had an opportunity to confront her accuser – Dr. James Jones – the dentist in a key state affidavit who challenges her diagnoses. He was unavailable for the first hearing and the state did not call him as a witness Friday.

Kraus pointed out that Dunlap diagnosed one patient in the state’s complaint with 10 cavities while an unidentified dentist said the person had none. Another unidentified dentist countered with two cavities, and Jones said zero.

He said that diagnosing cavities is subjective; pointing out those four different dentists reviewed the patient and had three opinions. “My client has suffered the ultimate penalty here by having her license suspended for 64 days based on a judgment call,” Kraus said.