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Internist hiring Dentist legal?

August 28, 2012


Question:

Good morning Jennifer
Thanks for your efforts in educating us (physicians).  I have an primary care office now and i am expanding and intend to have a section in my facility for dental care and hire dentist to provide care in that section is it legal? I am an internal med physician and owner of the practice.
Thanks again,
Dr.  N

Answer:

Of late, the Department of Education, along with many other governmental agencies, is taking a stricter interpretation of applicable rules, laws and regulations. so much so that to answer, even though there is no specific prohibition against the employment arrangement you have referenced above, we reached out to the Dept of Ed today to discuss this question.  The answer we received was a resounding verbal NO, that an MD or DO is not authorized to hire a DDS.  When we asked for support for this determination, we were told to hold and then told the Dept of Ed would "get back to us".  We are still waiting.  The reason we are still waiting is because there are no written material readily available prohibiting the above arrangement.  However, the Dept of Ed has consistently taken a stricter interpretation of the "supervision" requirements in the Education Law.  Specifically, a practice owner is required to be able within their scope of practice to supervise those working for them.  Here, the Dept of Ed is taking the approach  that an internist does not have the complete scope of practice as a dentist and therefore may not be in the best position to supervise, or able to supervise dental services.  NYS prohibits MD and DDS partnership so a DDS cannot be an owner in the practice and supervise dental services.  Partnerships between specialties that are currently allowed amongst professionals are DC-PT joint ownership in a PLLC structure.  Another option that remains should the Dept of Ed provide support that the MD-DDS employment arrangement is inappropriate is for the primary care practice to lease or license space to the DDS.  For more information, let's discuss offline.


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