INDIANAPOLIS (Legal Newsline) - Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced an administrative complaint Thursday against the president of Allcare Dental & Dentures for allegedly engaging in multiple licensing violations.
Robert Bates, the president of Allcare, allegedly gave a two day notice to his Indiana employees that offices would be closing for two weeks starting on Dec. 18, 2010. Bates allegedly told the workers that the offices would be permanently closed only days before they were scheduled to reopen.
Allcare Dental & Dentures, a national chain of dentist offices, abruptly closed its locations in January 2011. The company's locations included offices in Evansville, Mishawaka, Fort Wayne, Muncie, Avon and Indianapolis.
"Allcare's abrupt closing left patients without their dental devices, refunds, patient records and a dentist," Zoeller said. "This formal licensing complaint is part of our office's consumer protection effort to hold Indiana's professional license holders to the standards required by the state - both in terms of quality of care and service."
Bates and Allcare allegedly failed to reimburse patients who paid upfront for incomplete services, failed to complete dental procedures in progress and failed to provide dentures that were already created.
Employees were told to make arrangements with other doctors to transfer the records of patients, however, dentists were allegedly locked out of their offices and unable to do so. Indiana law states that dentists must make reasonable arrangements with active patients to transfer records to them or a succeeding practitioner.
Bates' alleged failure to notify patients of the closing represents a violation of state law that requires dentists to notify all active patients in writing or by publication weekly for three consecutive weeks in the newspaper.
While the Board of Dentistry cannot provide restitution to consumers under Indiana law, consumer restitution is being sought through bankruptcy proceedings in a separate process.
New Hampshire, Ohio, North Dakota, West Virginia and Massachusetts have also taken actions against Bates' dental licenses in their states for similar alleged violations. Indiana law states that a licensed professional facing disciplinary action in other states while holding an Indiana license is also in violation in Indiana.
A hearing on the complaint is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 5 by the Indiana State Board of Dentistry. The board will determine at that time if any violation occurred and what disciplinary action to impose.