No Oversight Over State Dental and Medical Board is The Biggest Barrier

By: Bharani Padmanabhan – Aug 2019

Governor Charlie Baker did nothing over four long years to fix fundamental regulatory problems at the RMV. This led directly to seven innocent people being killed. Charlie owns those deaths. In order to escape censure and future oversight from the Legislature, Charlie bribed them by signing the budget without even one single line-item veto. As a result one Thomas Bowes will be thrown under the bus and the swamp will continue undisturbed.

One thing that got funded through that bribe is a new 23-member commission. Katie Lannan reported “With an eye on improving and expanding health care services offered in rural and otherwise underserved areas, a new commission established in this year’s state budget will dive into issues surrounding the licensing process for medical professionals trained in other countries” and report on “strategies to integrate foreign­trained medical professionals into rural and underserved areas in need of medical services.”

Before buying a flashy new boat it would help to plug a gaping hole in the present one: the state dental and medical boards. This month I shall focus on the dental board.

Dental care is an inseparable part of medical care, which is why the ADA has always allowed dentists to treat any part of the body that had an impact on the oral cavity. Dentists also put you on antibiotics before major dental procedures in order to prevent damage to your heart valves. Via the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act the federal government ensures dentists are considered physicians just as any other.

The new commission would do worse than begin by asking the dental board why it destroys forward-leaning dental practices that provide much-desired services to the people.

In the case of Dr. Helaine Smith, who ran a highly successful clinic in West Rox, the dental board destroyed the doctor without even a patient complaint and drove her out of Massachusetts.

The board destroyed a successful woman physician and her small business because it was angry with a Boston Globe article that complimented Dr. Smith’s care and reported on her planning to provide Botox treatments. Nine years ago, Dr. Smith would have been among the very first in Massachusetts.
BU now includes Botox in its routine curriculum for students and has developed significant expertise in the field. All the state dental board achieved was destroy a pioneering woman physician and prevent her from being nationally recognized in the field of Botox within dentistry. I can only imagine how different her professional career would have been.

The board couldn’t countenance a successful woman physician practicing her profession without begging the state for permission before trying something new. The destruction of Dr. Smith and her Massachusetts practice is a classic exercise in unbridled statism.

Having lived under socialism in India, this is intimately familiar. Before socialists were driven out of power, one needed a state license to, for example, increase production of plastic buckets, in your own private factory, from 1,000 to 1,100 per day. And you could either wait 5 years for that permission or bribe the state official.

It is devastating to see this in one of the United States. This happens because state boards have no oversight at all, even less than at the RMV. State officials always wield power disproportionately when they can. Madison et al explicitly warned against this.

Lannan reports that “more than 20 percent of the over 8,000 doctors, nurses, pharmacists, mental health providers and other medical professionals in the Bay State who were educated abroad are unemployed or underemployed because of difficulties getting licensed in the U.S.”

Given that state boards actively destroy US-trained physicians simply because the doctor didn’t lick their boots, this is inevitable. I

invite the new commission, funded only through the deaths of seven people from lack of oversight, to strongly urge tough annual oversight for the state medical and dental boards and prevent the destruction of good physicians.
This leads to the further problem of who will audit the boards given that the State Auditor’s Office is a card-carrying member of the corrupt swamp that periodically throws the Legislature a bone, food stamps finagles, just to pretend it’s doing its job. ◊