What Is the Dental Board of California Diversion Program?

Disciplinary action against dentists is not just limited to what they do on the job. They can be punished if they are convicted of DUI or a drug offense or have a substance-abuse problem. The main purpose of the law is to protect patients, with the understanding that a dentist with a substance-abuse issue can be a danger.

A dentist will not automatically lose their license if they are found to have an addiction or have been convicted of an offense. There are legal options, and ways to both keep practicing and get the help that you need.

Diversion Attempts to Rehabilitate Dentists with a Substance Abuse Problem

According to the law, the intent of the diversion program is to:

“seek ways and means to identify and rehabilitate licentiates whose competency may be impaired due to abuse of dangerous drugs or alcohol.”

Rehabilitation means that the dentist cannot practice again until they have received treatment. They will be required to undergo treatment that follows the requirements laid out by the relevant committee. The dentist is obligated to comply with the rules of the program to remain a part of it. The dentist must foot the bill for their own care.

In most cases, participation in the diversion program comes at the request of the dentist. If the dentist requests the diversion program, their participation will remain confidential, which is important when a public disciplinary record can harm the dentist’s reputation. If the dentist successfully completes the program, all records relating to their participation in it are destroyed.

The Dental Board of California can order a dentist into a diversion program as part of a disciplinary action, but there is nothing that says that they must allow the dentist into diversion. The dentist will not be allowed to practice while they are in the diversion program because they will not yet be considered rehabilitated.

Dentists Must Successfully Complete the Terms of the Diversion Program

The benefit of the diversion program is that it can eventually allow the dentist to return to practice once they have completed the requirements of the program. However, the dentist can face disciplinary action if they fail to complete the requirements of the diversion program successfully. Then, their records can be handed over to the Enforcement Committee for potential punishment. If the dentist tests positive for an illegal substance while they are in the diversion program, the enforcement program will be immediately notified for potential action.

The diversion program can be helpful for dentists who are struggling in their personal lives. Without getting help, the dentist can find their license at risk. The best thing is to participate voluntarily in the program. However, an attorney can negotiate participation in the program if the dentist is convicted of a drug or alcohol offense. If you are a dentist who is struggling with substance abuse or you have been charged with an offense, you need to contact a professional dental license defense attorney today.

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