Do your hygienists have a valid license?

I wanted to share some important information from a colleague about an expired hygiene license.

I just had a client casually check the website of his local state board and found that his full time hygienist’s license had not been renewed for TWO years. She will now have to retake the state board exam! The other part time hygienist’s license had expired in February 2009. In both cases he has hygienist’s working for him with no license! It remains to be seen what type of penalty he will incur because of this. Of course I advised him to lay both of them off immediately until the license issue is resolved.

Great information to be reminding our clients. I posed the question of insurance coverage for this incident to an agent that I work with and here is his response: Here is the deal regarding an unlicensed hygienist and / or a hygienist who forgets to renew his / her license – They need to be relieved of their duties immediately!

The Board can go after the dentist and do to him / her what they do to the hygienist – meaning it could cost the dentist his / her license. There is NO Coverage for a dentist / hygienist under the Professional Liability Policy for Board action against a dentist or hygienist – they are on their own! The only way there MAY be coverage for a dentist or hygienist under the Professional Liability Policy is if the Board action results from a patient bringing the action; the insurance company may investigate the action, and, with a “Reservation of Rights” Letter, pay the claim of the patient if it is neglect of the patient.

The dentist should, as a part of their annual employee review, or anytime they bring in a new hygienist or a contract hygienist, obtain a copy of the hygienists license, record the expiration date of that license, and require the hygienist to provide a copy of their renewal license PRIOR to the renewal date. Ignorance or forgetfulness or being too busy or whatever else, is no excuse! Also, the hygienists license should be posted in an operatory. Licensure requirements should also be in the Employee Personnel Policy Manual.
For those of us who work with Bent Ericksen & Associates, we know that this policy manual AND the job descriptions have licensure as a requirement.

Just a reminder, are all of your team’s licenses current?