Former Wisconsin dentist wants an Iowa judge to overturn his license revocation

By: - July 12, 2022 6:01 am

Dentist’s office (Photo Illustration by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

A dentist who has faced disciplinary action in at least three states is challenging Iowa’s decision to revoke his license to practice.

Dr. Jack Elder, who until recently practiced dentistry in Lake City, is taking the Iowa Dental Board to court in an effort to have a Polk County judge review and overturn the board’s recent decision to revoke his license.

Licensing records indicate Elder was first issued an Iowa dental license in 1972. From 1973 through 1984, he practiced in Minnesota, then moved to Wisconsin where he practiced until 2006, at which point he moved to California.

Court records indicate that shortly after Elder moved from Wisconsin, that state’s Department of Regulation and Licensing issued a formal complaint against him, alleging billing irregularities that constituted misconduct. The case centered on allegations that Elder falsified records to increase his reimbursement from patients who had limited dental insurance. The allegedly falsified records involved seven different patients.

An administrative law judge recommended Elder’s Wisconsin license be suspended for six months, and that he be required to perform 500 community service hours as a volunteer dentist. The state’s Dentistry Examining Board opted to instead revoke Elder’s dental license.

By then, Elder was practicing in California. In 2017, that state’s dental board filed charges against him, alleging negligence, unprofessional conduct, patient abandonment, failure to provide dental records, securing a license through fraud, and failure to report out-of-state discipline.

That same year, Elder applied for reinstatement of his Iowa dental license. The board initially voted to deny his application, but in April 2018, agreed to reinstate the license without any conditions.

Nineteen months later, in November 2019, the California case was resolved with a settlement agreement that placed Elder’s California license on probation for five years. By then, Elder was practicing in Lake City, Iowa.

In January 2020, the Iowa board filed charges against Elder based on the sanctions imposed in California. In reviewing that case, Iowa board investigators allegedly were told by California regulators that Elder was already out of compliance with his probationary agreement in that state.

In November of 2020, the Iowa board voted to revoke Elder’s license. However, the board agreed immediately stay that revocation and place Elder’s license on probation for five years, subject to his compliance with nine directives from the board.

In December 2021, the Iowa board indicated it planned to lift the stay on the license revocation, citing Elder’s alleged failure to comply with all of the terms of his probation. According to the board, Elder had failed to complete a board-approved review and evaluation program required as part of his probation.

Elder appealed the board’s action, and a hearing was held in May, after which the board opted to lift the stay, as originally announced, and revoke Elder’s license.

Elder is now taking the matter to Polk County District Court, arguing the board’s decision is unconstitutional, based on an erroneous interpretation of law, or so illogical as to render it wholly irrational.

He is asking the court to review the board’s action and reverse the revocation of his license.

The Iowa Dental Board has yet to respond to Elder’s petition.

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Clark Kauffman
Clark Kauffman

Iowa Capital Dispatch Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing. His 2004 series on prosecutorial misconduct in Iowa was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. From October 2018 through November 2019, Kauffman was an assistant ombudsman for the Iowa Office of Ombudsman, an agency that investigates citizens’ complaints of wrongdoing within state and local government agencies.