A dental assistant who practiced in Swift Current was recently expelled from the Saskatchewan Dental Assistants’ Association.
Tanis Martens entered guilty pleas of professional misconduct to a hearing in front of the Discipline Committee over the phone on May 9th, 2015, for infractions she committed in a Swift Current business dating back to November 2012 to August 2013.
Martens was charged for fraudulently submitting claims for reimbursement in relation to dental work that had not been performed and fraudulently deposited the cheques as a result of the non-existent insurance claims between November 1st 2012 and August 29th 2013. Martens also plead guilty to unlawfully removing and wrongfully converting gold between May 1st 2013 and May 30th 2013.
“Our process is that when a complaint comes in, as a self-regulating health organization, we are required to investigate it, so any complaint is documented and then forwarded to a professional conduct committee. That committee meets and holds interviews and they determine whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant a professional discipline committee meeting. When notices are served and the Disciplinary Committee meets and the charges are heard, the member has the opportunity to enter a plea,” said Executive Director Registrar of the SDAA, Susan Anholt.
“In this instance the member entered a guilty plea. The council for the professional conduct committee lays forward the case and the Discipline Committee considers it and rules on it, and they felt that there was sufficient reason to expel her for a certain length of time. There is a potential to reapply after five years, but the member actually has to reimburse the cost of the investigation and the hearing,” she said.
In the summary document of the final decision, members of the Discipline Committee said that she abused a position of trust, and that “Martens committed both theft and a repeated series of frauds. She misrepresented herself in calls to the insurer. She not only did not admit the misconduct at first, but also implicated other workers.”
“There’s a lot of trust in the healthcare professions and when trust is breached, it really has a significant impact on the whole profession,” added Anholt. “The profession very much says we want to be honourable healthcare providers, and it’s just something that we want our members to understand that this is inappropriate and unacceptable.”
The decision was made on June 17th, 2015, and Martens must reimburse the SDAA $24,733.25 if she wishes to reclaim her license.
No criminal charges were filed against Martens.
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