An exclusive 5 On Your Side investigation uncovered a Northeast Ohio dentist who can still legally practice, despite state records that show he has a long history of complaints and disciplinary actions, which includes three years of probation stemming from a criminal conviction.
Igor Skalsky, 59, has been disciplined four times by the Ohio State Dental Board since 1986, according to documents obtained by NewsChannel5.
“Four is a significant number,” said Lili Reitz, the executive director of the Ohio State Dental Board.
Skalsky owns Cross Creek Dental at 3915 Center Road in Brunswick, Ohio.
Dentist’s Disciplinary History
In 2007, Ohio state dental board investigators found Skalsky violated state code 30 times. The charges related to fees Skalsky charged for missed appointments and late payments.
Ohio State Dental Board records said Skalsky billed 18 patients $50, but “provided no dental treatment… to substantiate the charge.”
The records also said “Dr. Skalsky admits that new patients may not have been aware” of the fees.
The dental board put Skalsky on probation for one year. He was also ordered to take 34 hours of continuing education classes in billing and ethics classes.
The board dismissed eight counts of the 2007 investigation that involved complaints about patient care.
Skalsky was already on probation at the time.
In 2006, records showed dental board investigators examined 21 patient complaints and found Skalsky fell “below the accepted standard of care for dentistry.”
Among the charges, Skalsky “failed to perform a baseline periodontal assessment” on 20 patients.
Records showwed investigators also found Skalsky “failed to obtain informed consent” from 16 patients, “document the type and/or amount of anesthesia used” on nine patients and obtain a record of complete medical history from three patients.
During an exclusive interview with NewsChannel5 investigator Sarah Buduson, Skalsky said he is more cautious now.
“I’m very adamant. If the patient does not sign off on the treatment, I will not do it,” he said.
He also addressed the 2007 charges.
“Has my arithmetic been perfect? Not all the time, but I try my best,” he said.
Skalsky was first disciplined in 1986.
Records showed a patient complained about a fractured tooth and pain after Skalsky extracted “several teeth.”
Skalsky was ordered to complete 56 hours of continuing education.
Skalsky said he attended all of the classes he was ordered to take and plans to continue practicing until he is ready to retire.
“The state of Ohio says I can practice and I will continue, and not only that, I will go to court, I will back my assertions, as far as clinical diagnosis and treatment, in front of a jury any day. Any day,” he said.
Attempted Forgery Conviction
Skalsky has been to court over another issue related to his practice.
Skalsky pleaded guilty to and was convicted of attempted forgery in 2006.
Raymond Raffay, Skalsky’s former patient, told NewsChannel5 Skalsky forged his name on a dental bill.
A Brunswick police report said Raffay was charged $870 for dental work he did not receive.
“Signing my name. That’s wrong,” said Raffay. “You should be able to trust your dentist."
Skalsky said he pleaded guilty to avoid a court battle with Raffay.
“It was like, ‘OK, do you want to bother with this?’ Forget it,” said Skalsky.
He was fined $50.
MI, IL, PA Actions
Skalsky’s disciplinary history and conviction in Ohio caught the attention of dental boards in three other states where he was licensed to practice dentistry.
All three states took action.
In Illinois, the status of Skalsky’s dental license is listed as “refuse to renew."
Records from Pennsylvania and Michigan showed Skalsky voluntarily surrendered his licenses in lieu of disciplinary hearings.
Few Ohio Dentists Lose License
In Ohio, Skalsky is still in good standing. That is not unusual.
Ohio State Dental Board records show few Ohio dentists lose their licenses, even after patient complaints are investigated.
Records showed dental board investigators completed 578 investigations from July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011.
During that time, the board did not revoke any dental licenses. Forty-six dentists were suspended. Eight dentists voluntarily surrendered their licenses or retired.
The board also filed 67 consent agreements. The agreement are used to discipline dentists.
“The goal of the board is not to take dentists out of practice,” said Reitz. “There’s a lot of work obviously that goes into getting a dental license and if there is a way a dentist can be remediated in an area where there’s practice deficiencies, they’re willing to work with dentists."
Ohio law says the 13 member Ohio State Dental Board must be made up nine dentists, three dental hygienists and one member of the public.
“I think he shouldn’t have his license. I think if you’ve lost your license in that many states, you shouldn’t be able to practice,” said Tiffanie Roller, a former patient.
NewsChannel5 decided to investigate Skalsky in September after Roller complained about her visit to Skalsky’s office.
Roller said Skalsky told her she needed all of her upper teeth extracted. She said he also demanded she pay $1,500 up front for the procedure.
“That’s when I knew something was wrong,” said Roller.
The Brunswick mother got a second opinion.
The second dentist gave her the option of only removing four of her upper teeth.
“I thought, ‘Thank God, I didn’t let him do anything to my mouth.’ Who knows what I would have ended up with in the end,” she said.
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