© Gary Inglese
Dental Defense - Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulations Defense - Dental-Legal Issues - Dental Risk Management - Dental Contracts and Business Issues - Dental Office Transitions
© Gary Inglese
What do you do when the receptionist comes back to tell you that there is an investigator in your office waiting to speak with you? What do you do when you receive a telephone call from an investigator?
The simple, best advice is “don’t panic.” The following is not meant to be legal advice in any fashion and the licensed professional is advised to consult with an attorney concerning specific legal issues. The purpose of this section is to let you know what to expect and what to anticipate when contacted by investigators.
Consider the following:
1. Determine why the investigator is there or calling.
What to do if your license is being investigated?
© Gary Inglese
2. Is the investigator seeking patient records, radiographs, insurance documents and billing information?
3. Who is the investigator? Make sure you get their name and phone number. Investigators have business cards and carry identification. It should be shown to you willingly and don’t speak without seeing proper identification.
4. Does the investigator want to interview you? Are they merely looking for patient records or do they want to interview you?
5. What is the status of your professional license?
6. What is the state of your records? You cannot alter records. Make a mental note to reread articles you have seen about recordkeeping and make sure from this point forward your records meet current standards.
What you do next:
1. Speak to the investigator. If that moment is not convenient because you are in the midst of patient treatment, ask if you can speak to the investigator at a more convenient time for you --- especially if they have appeared unannounced in our office. If you were contacted by telephone and cannot speak at that moment, make arrangements to call back at a more convenient time and do so.
2. If you determine that you are the subject of the investigation, consult with an attorney. Do not speak to the investigator further without an attorney present.
3. If you are given or sent a release for patient records, make copies of the records and radiographs. Never, never give up the originals.
4. Review all documents given to the investigator with your attorney. You cannot alter these records.
5. You have the right to be represented by an attorney at an interview. If you are the subject of the investigation, it is a small price to pay for peace of mind. Remember that the investigator is trained in interview techniques and may have had access to more information than you have.
6. The investigator will be taking notes at any interview or telephone conversation and anything you say or present will be reflected in their written report. You will not have access to this report, so it is a good idea to take your own notes at this interview so you can recall what was discussed. There is no such thing as a casual or “off the cuff” conversation, so be guarded in what you say until you determine what is going on.
Remember the following: