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Peer Review

WSDA member dentists are expected to be sensitive to any uncertainty or misgivings exhibited by a patient during treatment and to be willing to discuss explicit complaints. However, some informal methods of resolving misunderstandings are not always sufficient. A more formal method of response has been developed to address these situations: peer review.

In its simplest terms, peer review is a mechanism by which organized dentistry demonstrates the appropriateness and quality of the care it renders. It provides an expert and credible system for resolving disagreements that cannot be resolved at an earlier, more informal stage.

Peer review panels are composed of dentists with appropriate credentials who conduct hearings, review evidence, and make objective decisions based on the findings. Peer review panel members are volunteers who practice and live in your local community.

Peer review is not a court of law, has no disciplinary powers, and is not a punitive process.The purpose is to help educate, mediate, clarify, and, where necessary, exercise remedial procedures. Peer review is voluntary, however all parties must comply with the findings of an arbitrated settlement. Peer review does not consider cases that are in litigation.

Requests for peer review involving WSDA members are first handled by the component society in which the care in question was delivered. Complaints involving other dentists can be directed to the state Department of Health. For additional information, contact Mike Walsh at michael@wsda.org, or at 800.448.3368.