Hard Data: Board disciplines 7 dentists for misdeeds

  • Article by: JANE FRIEDMANN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 4, 2012 - 4:39 PM

One dentist touched patients' breasts and filled cavities with the wrong material. Another maintained a dusty office strewn with debris, pet hair and laundry. A third overbilled 14 patients.

The Minnesota Board of Dentistry disciplined six dentists and denied licensure to another in the 12 months ending in June.

The board gets about 250 complaints a year. There are about 4,000 licensed dentists and 12,500 hygienists and assistants in Minnesota.

With the exception of Michael Mattingly and Ayman Risha, the dentists on this list agreed to the board's orders. I ranked the list by the size of the fine and the severity of the licensing action.

Keith F. Ostrosky, South St. Paul, stayed suspension, $30,000 fine

Ostrosky made "suggestive, lewd, lascivious, or improper advances" toward at least eight female patients. Behavior included touching or rubbing women's breasts, positioning tools near patients' nipples and having a sexual relationship with a patient.

Ostrosky improperly placed temporary "Fuji fillings" in the teeth of 10 patients. Many of the teeth later fractured or required crowns or root canal treatments.

In some instances, Ostrosky failed to provide anesthetic before beginning procedures, including root canals.

The board also found he overbilled and billed for procedures he didn't perform.

Ostrosky must now have a female attendant in the room when treating female patients and take at least seven courses, including two in professional and sexual boundaries.

Ostrosky refused to comment on the matter shortly after the order was made public last fall, but he did say through his attorney that the requirement of course work was a "fair resolution."

Ostrosky can file a petition as early as September to have the stayed suspension removed.

Michael Mattingly, Minneapolis, suspension

An inspection found clinic surfaces dirty with debris, insects and pet hair and strewn with underwear and other laundry, improperly sterilized instruments, a lack of protective barriers and stained linens, including the lab coat Mattingly was wearing.

The inspector observed that Mattingly "had been viewing a pornographic website on his personal laptop in the front desk area."

Otto F. Ringle, Jr., Walker, stayed suspension

Ringle failed to comply with terms of a 2009 board order by failing to make proper diagnoses or remove all decay for five patients, improperly performing a root canal and maintaining inadequate patient records. The 2009 disciplinary action limited and placed conditions on his license for substandard care, poor recordkeeping and billing irregularities.

Board inspections in 2011 found that his "care continued to fail to meet the standard of care" in seven categories including diagnoses and treatment planning, periodontal care, radiographic diagnoses and infection control.

Ringle is prohibited from providing periodontal work to patients with serious gum detachment and may only provide root canal work in certain emergency situations. He must take a course in recordkeeping, submit to monitored by a board-approved evaluator and submit patient records for regular review.

David R. Dunphy, Napa, Calif., $7,500 fine

Dunphy overbilled 14 Minnesota patients a total of $34,731 in 2008 and 2009.

He charged patients directly though his contract with Delta Dental required that he write off the difference between his service fee and the insurer's payment. Dunphy agreed to provide refunds.

In an e-mail to Whistleblower, he attributed the overbilling to "an unfortunate accounting error" engaged in by his "bookkeeper -- at the time, a new hire" and contrary to his instructions.

The board order states that while Delta Dental first ordered Dunphy to provide refunds in 2009, as of April 2012 when Dunphy agreed to the board's order, only one customer had been reimbursed, for $454.

Joseph A. Fiedler, Chanhassen

Fiedler failed to do comprehensive exams of seven patients, sufficiently document progress and adequately evaluate the patients' tooth models or X-rays before treatment.

Fiedler must submit patient records to a monitoring company monthly for two years and must complete a course in orthodontics.

David J. Burrichter, Plymouth

The board placed conditions on his license based on a concern that he "may be unable to practice dentistry with reasonable skill and safety due to a physical, mental, emotional, or other disability." Burrichter received treatment for alcohol dependency at facilities in Minnesota and Virginia in 2011. After receiving a complaint about Burrichter, the board placed conditions on his license that included abstaining from mood-altering chemicals or drugs, and participating in a chemical-dependency monitoring program.

Ayman Risha, St. Cloud, license application denied

The board had earlier decided that Risha was operating a dental clinic and practicing dentistry without state licenses. Risha was told to cease and desist in 2010.

While practicing, Risha scratched expiration dates off products, changed billing codes to justify procedures and directed staff to falsify periodontal probing numbers and take unnecessary X-rays.

He also "engaged in fraud or deception ... by providing diagnoses and preparing treatment plans that were not warranted," the board said.

Hard Data digs into public records and puts a spotlight on rule breakers in Minnesota. Contact me at jfriedmann@startribune.com.

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