to do's & dont's when a problem arises

It is a fact of any professional practice that some patients will have adverse physical or even emotional reactions to particular treatments; refuse to pay outstanding accounts; or behave in a belligerent, aggressive, or threatening manner toward the treatment provider. When this occurs or when a dental professional is served with notice from a lawyer that a legal action is contemplated or pending, the standard plan to guide a dentist’s reaction and decrease the potential impact of the claim should include the following:

Practice Management "Do's"

• Remain calm.

• Notify your professional liability program immediately of any legal action or incident that could result in legal action.

• Instruct staff not to speak with anyone about the incident.

Practice Management "Dont's"

• Do not panic.

• Do not admit liability for the alleged transgression or error.

• Do not assume the suit or incident will go away if you ignore it.

• Do not contact a patient who has started a lawsuit against you or retained a lawyer.

• Do not talk to the patient's lawyer. Instead, refer him or her to your insurer.

• Never alter or add any notes to the patient's record.

• Do not lose patient records.

• Do not treat the patient after the suit begins, except in an emergency.

• Do not make any chart notations about the legal action, your conversations with your insurer or lawyer, or any other matter relating to the legal action. If you wish to make such notes, do so on a separate sheet for your own confidential records.

• Do not write on original court documents. (You may find it helpful to put these into plastic document holders to prevent you from writing on them).

• Do not seek information about the patient from other practitioners.

• Do not give away original records.

Ultimately the best defence to a claim is a strong offence. Dentists, armed with the proper tools, may not be able to avoid unhappy patients but will be able to professionally respond to and defend claims against them by employing positive practice management techniques.

How to Report

Please report any claim or incident by clicking here

Your report should contain copies of all written documents, names of potential claimants, dates the incident occurred and any detail of the incident. Information and documentation is critical in helping resolve disputes and claims.

What Happens After a Claim has been Reported?

The insurance manager, Victor Canada’s claims team will contact the dentist directly to guide them through the entire process. They have an expert control adjuster dedicated to members who has in-depth knowledge and background in working with dental claims so members can rest assured they will be well taken care of. All claims information is kept strictly confidential.