Complaints are assigned to an investigator and an initial summary of the issues involved is to the Board at its next scheduled meeting. However, due to the workload of the investigative staff and the complexity of many of the complaints received, it is not always possible to begin the investigative process immediately unless the issues involved constitute an immediate danger to the public or to the respondent. Most case investigations are completed and the Board makes a determination on the matter within about six months are the initial complaint is received.
When a complaint is received, it is assigned a number and the person submitting the complaint will receive a letter from the Board advising them of the case number and that they will be contacted during the course of the active investigation. A staff investigator sends a letter to the licensee (respondent) who is the subject of the complaint requesting a copy of patient records where appropriate and a response to the allegations in the complaint. Once the information is received, the investigator reviews the records, interviews the respondent, interviews the person filing the complaint, interviews any prior and subsequent treating dentists, and interviews any other witnesses as may be necessary to elicit sufficient information for a fair and accurate inquiry into the issues raised. The Board also utilizes the services of expert consultants in especially complex or specialized situations where independent evaluations are necessary.
The investigative report describing the facts and findings of the investigator is presented to the Board for consideration and action. ORS 676.165 and 676.175 specify that the information gathered during the investigation and the investigative report are confidential and not subject to public disclosure except that the Board may provide sufficient summary to the complainant to explain the action the Board took in the matter.
Disposition of cases can result in finding of no violation, issuance of a warning (Letter of Concern), or a determination that disciplinary action is warranted. Approximately 18% of cases result in disciplinary action.