HBS Partners Jo Jagor and Ryan Donihue will be joining Dr. Mitchell Gardiner for a A Simulated Dental Malpractice Court Case Presented Live at the 2017 Hinman Dental Meeting. They will be presenting on March 24th from 2:00-5:00pm. Using an actual dental malpractice case, this program will portray what really takes place in the courtroom between a defendant dentist and malpractice lawyers. Meeting attendees will get to see and hear the examination and trial testimony of the dentist by two of Atlanta’s premier malpractice attorneys. Question and answer periods will allow attendees to better understand procedures and the types of questioning common in court. A jury of dentists will determine the outcome.

Jo Jagor grew up in a family of dentists and dental providers. She began her medical malpractice defense career specifically defending dentists of all types including general dentists, oral and maxillofacial surgeons, endodontists, periodontists, prosthodontists, pedodontists, orthodontists, and hygienists in civil suits and claim, as well as with issues involving the State Licensing Board of Dentistry. Jo has assisted her clients in resolving Risk Management issues, updating Consent and Medical forms, and with their General Business concerns. She is an annual speaker at Risk Management Seminars for various Insurance Companies and has collaborated with dental experts in their presentations at meetings as recently as the 2012 Hinman Dental Association in Atlanta. Jo admires the art of dentistry. She has taken the time to learn the medicine so that she can better communicate with her clients and the experts in this field. Jo has presented at the 2015 and 2014 Hinman…       Read More

Here is a smattering of a some of the more interesting articles from the past few weeks related to dental news and commentary from varying perspectives: Patients, Insurance, and Costs There have been several articles recently commenting on the intersection of Medicare, Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, and emergency room visits for dental care. Health Canal focused and MedicalXpress discussed a study that found that more than two percent of all ER visits are related to non-traumatic dental conditions. http://www.healthcanal.com/oral-dental-health/65841-dental-coverage-for-patients-with-medicaid-may-not-prevent-tooth-related-er-visits.html; http://medicalxpress.com/news/2015-08-access-dental-low-income-americans-exception.html. In looking at coverage sign-ups, the Steamboat Today noted that in Colorado, 25% percent of individuals in the northwestern part of the state did not opt in for dental coverage due to the cost.. http://www.steamboattoday.com/news/2015/sep/01/medicaid-enrollment-surges-northwest-colorado-unin/ . The Street recently published an article attempting to break down the economics and offered tips to the public for saving money related to dental care. http://www.thestreet.com/story/13268237/1/how-to-drilling-down-on-dental-costs-save-on-your-next-trip-to-the-dentist.html. Modern Healthcare offers a look at…       Read More

The sale or purchase of any business is a long, complicated process. This is especially so when it comes to a dental practice. Imagine, a group of busy dentists attempting to effectively compile, review, and complete stacks of documents while completing their normal, heavy workloads. Obtaining counsel early will minimize interference with your practice workload and provide a vital service to you throughout this difficult process. When attempting to sale or purchase a dental practice it is essential to obtain counsel prior to the completion of the Letter of Intent, otherwise obstacles and backtracking are destined to occur. The Letter of Intent lays out the agreed upon purchase price, the mechanism for modifying the purchase price, the necessary confidentiality provisions to protect both employee and patient data, and the rights of all parties involved. A mistake during this process could cause one or both sides nightmares going forward. Hiring counsel…       Read More

These days most dentists advertise their practices and services via the internet or some form of print advertising.  Some larger practices even advertise via billboards or commercials.  While this type of advertising can provide increased exposure for your practice, it is important to remember that in Georgia there are advertising regulations that apply specifically to dentists.  Although the Georgia Board of Dentistry may not actively monitor all dental advertisements, the more visible your practice, the more likely your advertising will be scrutinized.  Violation of these advertising regulations can result in action by the Board, or even delay obtaining a conscious sedation or other type of permit.   There are specific regulations regarding the advertisement of fees, specialties, practice locations, and the use of certain trade names.  For example, if you advertise routine treatment or a routine dental service for a specific fee, you must continue to make that treatment or…       Read More

Jo Jagor, a partner at Hall Booth Smith’s Atlanta office,  and Nathan Gaffney a senior associate have been selected to present at the Hinman Dental Seminar in Atlanta on March 27th.  This makes the second year in a row that Ms. Jagor and Mr. Gaffney have had the distinction and honor  of presenting to this distinguished meeting.  Their topic of a simulated Dental Malpractice trial will involve records and transcripts from an actual trial.  Ms. Jagor specializes in medical liability cases with a focus on dental claims. She is an experienced litigator involved in all aspects of the defense of dental providers. She is especially recognized in the state for her expertise and experience in successfully handling all aspects of dental claims.  Mr. Gaffney is co-chair of the firms Appellant Practice group and is a regularly requested speaker before many dental groups including the annual Hinman seminars. His presentations on…       Read More

As a defense lawyer to health care providers that often find themselves in a completely foreign and alien universe called a LAWSUIT, it is my usual practice to run through an initial laundry list of topics, including procedural and substantive requirements for the claim itself, initial investigation parameters, recommended course of action, etc. In other words, as attorneys we tend to be somewhat task driven- we analyze the allegations, investigate the claim and proceed with the enumerated steps to best resolve the lawsuit. But far too often in our deadline and task driven world, we forget that this is a human being that has been sued, and often the crafted allegations, shrouded in confusing “legalese”, are very raw and personal. One of my favorite scenes from an oldie but goodie, You’ve Got Mail, involves Meg Ryan as an independent book store owner confronting Tom Hanks, a chain bookstore developer, about…       Read More

Due to the widespread use of electronic recordkeeping, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is of particular importance to dentists and their practices. According to HIPAA, any dentist who conducts certain transactions in electronic form is known as a “covered entity” and is subject to HIPAA’s rules and regulations. Under HIPAA, a covered entity must take precautionary measures to protect electronic patient information. Such patient information is referred to as Protected Health Information, which is individually identifiable health information. For example, an individual’s past, present or future dental condition, the provision of dental care given to that individual, or any other information such as a Social Security number or address that identifies the individual are all protected. In January 2013, US Department of Health and Human Services strengthened and expanded HIPAA, expecting compliance by September 2013. Those amendments impose additional restrictions on the use and disclosure of patient…       Read More

Every dentist has inevitably come into contact with the phrase “dental malpractice.” And for practicing professionals, it likely arouses sentiments of fear and anxiety. But what does it mean exactly? Like other medical professionals, dentists are required to exercise care and skill in treating their patients. “Reasonable care and skill” means that care and skill is employed by other dentists under like circumstances and conditions. Generally, this varies from state to state. Dental malpractice occurs when a dentist’s conduct falls below this standard of reasonable care. For example, extracting the wrong teeth, leaving numbness in the mouth, and failing to diagnose gum disease have been found to constitute dental malpractice in certain Georgia cases. The good news is that dentists are presumed to have performed their services with due care, and it is the burden of the Plaintiff to prove otherwise. Dentists are not insurers or warrantors of their services;…       Read More

Nearly every dental malpractice claim requires expert testimony.  Experts help determine the requisite standard of care, whether or not that standard was met, and, if so, if a deviation caused the injury complained of by the plaintiff.  Expert deposition and trial testimony are critical. So, who is qualified to be an expert?  Before Georgia’s 2005 tort reform statute, Georgia law was extremely liberal in permitting expert testimony to be placed into evidence.  In fact, before tort reform, under O.C.G.A. § 24-9-67, “opinions of experts on any question of science, skill, trade, or like questions shall always be admissible.” Today, under Georgia law, an expert’s testimony must be both (1) relevant and (2) reliable.  Experts must render an opinion that educates the jury on the relevant standard of care, if the defendant breached that standard, and if the breach caused the plaintiff injury.  If an expert is able to meet this…       Read More