Pennsylvania dentist’s license suspended; patients urged to get tested for HIV

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The Health Department is urging patients of the Center for Family and Specialty Dentistry in Reading who were seen between Dec. 19, 2015, and Oct. 19, 2016, to get tested for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), as well as for hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

A joint investigation by the departments of health and state revealed that Center for Family and Specialty Dentistry patients might be at risk for the diseases after finding that the practice didn't follow proper procedures for cleaning, disinfecting or sterilizing dental devices. 

“While we haven’t received reports of hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or HIV from patients, infection control procedures at this practice were inadequate and created the potential for harm, so we’re recommending patients get tested,” Health Secretary Dr. Karen Murphy said in the release. “We prefer that patients receive information regarding their health directly from their provider. However, in this case, that did not happen, so we’ve contacted patients of this practice directly.” 

The Health Department sent a letter to the practice on Oct. 21 ordering it to cease and desist all patient care, in addition to issuing formal recommendations to improve patient safety. No patients should have received care at the practice and the practice remains closed until the infection control concerns are addressed, the press release said. 

“Infection control is an essential step in patient safety that cannot be overlooked,” Secretary of State Pedro Cortés said in the release. “It’s important to talk to your dentist about infection control and what they are doing to protect you while under their care.” 

The Pennsylvania State Board of Dentistry on Nov. 4 temporarily suspended the dental licenses of three dentists who practiced at the Center for Family and Specialty Dentistry.  

Suspended were Dr. Stephen Sulzbach, of Greenville, Mercer County; and Drs. Jana and Eric Osmolinski, of La Jolla, California. They were suspended on the grounds that their continued practice may be an immediate and clear danger to the public health and safety, according to the release.  

The temporary suspensions remain in effect pending further action by the board. 

Patients can call 1-877-724-3258 for more information.

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