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Alberta Dental Authority should be Audited

eTradeWire News/10732023
Critic of College of Dental Surgeons of Alberta Cites Numerous Concerns

RED DEER, Alberta - eTradeWire -- According to Michael Y Zuk DDS, a dental whistleblower who published numerous books on over-treatment in the profession with another almost ready for release, the newly formed dental board in Alberta is failing to do all it can to protect the public and he is demanding whoever is Health Minister following the election to put an audit of the dental authority on the priority list. "Whichever party wins the election will continue to hear calls for an independent review of the College of Dental Surgeons of Alberta. The NDP's made them reduce fees, the UCP's made them divide the college from the association and whoever wins the upcoming election will need to do more. The medical system gets all the attention while victims of dentistry and dentists bullied by the system are ignored," says Zuk.

Some of the concerns include the following:

1) A US device under investigation by the FDA which has caused tooth loss has been used in Alberta and yet the authority has not issued a warning to dentists or the public.
2) Dental complaints have backlogs of 5-9 years and rather than hire individuals with dental experience the authority is using many ex-police in this capacity. Ontario posts their processing times that appear to be less than half the average found in Alberta.

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3) Alberta charges for appeals of complaint decisions (Ontario does not charge the patient or the dentist for this service).
4) Alberta uses dentists on appeal panels (Ontario does not). An audit of BC dental recommended not using council/board members on discipline panels, yet Alberta continues to do so.
5) Alberta does not provide a copy of expert reports to the patient. Ontario does, allowing the complainant to review the opinion of the hired reviewer.
6) Many patients have found their right under the Health Professions Act for consideration of a refund order by a tribunal is being ignored. In Alberta patients do not have the right to appeal a decision by the tribunal, while the dentist does.
7) In Ontario the dental board/college publishes a conflict of interest statement related to elected officials. Alberta does not. The Alberta dental college is believed to contain many council members with ties to Canada's largest dental corporation.
8) Complaints about the authority itself are often ignored - including concerns with actions of a former lawyer and administrator who no longer are employed at the authority. Bullying, alteration of expert reports, witness intimidation and exaggerated investigations against dentist targets have been reported.

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9) Zuk estimates LESS than 1% of funds involved end up as refunds to patients who have been harmed by unnecessary dental procedures or substandard treatment. An audit could confirm this statistic.
10) Prolonged investigations have allowed dentists using questionable approaches learned at certain seminars to continue to harm additional patients or even set up in adjacent provinces while the process drags on. The choice of experts can also taint the opinion of the complaints department leading to dismissal of cases that should go to a hearing.

Recently the courts ruled against the dental authority in its pattern of shifting all costs of prolonged investigations onto the individual dentist. With an estimated annual budget of close to $14 million from registration dues from Alberta dentists, it is now expected to cover the cost of processing complaints. Zuk adds,"The current reforms imposed by the government have not done enough to address the concerns that affect patients and dentists in this province. I look forward to lobbying for change, hopefully with the help of a new MLA Raman Athwal  (running in Edmonton Mill Woods) who knows personally what failures in dental healthcare can do." These topics are discussed on the website http//www.albertadentalassociationproblems.com.

Michael Y Zuk DDS (retired)

Source: Michael Zuk DDS
Filed Under: Health

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