September 30, 2022

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Charlie O’Neill received part of her husband’s liver in a 2013 living donor transplant and has been taking drugs that suppress her immune system ever since to prevent her body from attacking the organ.

“I frequently get infections,” she said. “Just being an immune-compromised person, you are faced with just every little cold and flu.”

O’Neill lives in the small town of Pony in southwestern Montana’s Madison Valley. Despite living in an uncrowded rural setting, O’Neill said, the first year of the coronavirus pandemic was terrifying. She rarely left home, waiting for COVID-19 vaccines to become available.

Even now, after being vaccinated, O’Neill said the virus is always on her mind when she drives into nearby Bozeman for groceries and other basic needs. She wears a mask and avoids people as much as she can. While vaccinations provide robust protection against hospitalization and death for the typical individual, they are far less effective in those who are immunocompromised.

O’Neill developed abscesses on her liver, requiring daily visits to the Bozeman hospital for antibiotic infusions. In a state where the governor has encouraged health workers to seek vaccination exemptions, she worried about which of the many people involved in her care were instead putting her at risk: the people checking her in at the front desk, the traveling nurses, the imaging technicians?

Related: Latest COVID variant is rising overseas. How will Florida fare?

Gov. Greg Gianforte’s office estimates that “thousands of health care workers” have obtained religious exemptions and “remain in the workforce,” according to a recent press release.

“I so boldly ask people often just if they’re vaccinated, especially if I have to take my mask off for MRIs or something like that,” O’Neill said. She said she’d request someone else if a worker told her he or she were unvaccinated or declined to answer, but that hasn’t happened.

Most medical staffers across the U.S. are now required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 under a federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services rule. While, legally, requests for religious or medical exemptions must be allowed at every institution, in much of the country they are reviewed carefully and approved judiciously. In New York City’s 12-hospital public system, for example, 100 percent of staff members inside the hospitals are vaccinated; the few who were granted exemptions are assigned outside tasks.

But in Montana, the pendulum has swung in a different direction.

Gianforte, a Republican who opposed the federal mandate, encouraged health workers to seek religious exemptions before the Feb. 14 deadline to receive one dose of vaccine. His administration provided guidance to hospitals that said the validity of health care workers’ religious beliefs shouldn’t be questioned in seeking exemptions. Gianforte also told the state health department to create an application for religious exemptions, which is posted at the top of its website to download.

When asked for an interview with Gianforte, spokesperson Brooke Stroyke referred to the governor’s open letter to health workers dated Feb. 10.

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2 min read

A Wisconsin dentist was located responsible of health care fraud and other charges immediately after he intentionally damaged his patients’ enamel to improve income, raking in thousands and thousands from his plan.

Scott Charmoli, 61, was convicted of 5 counts of health care fraud and two counts of building fake statements about his clients’ treatment very last Thursday, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

With his sentencing scheduled for June, Charmoli faces up to 10 decades for each and every healthcare fraud charge and a optimum of 5 many years for just about every of the two other expenses.

Prosecutors say that Charmoli had routinely drilled or damaged his clients’ teeth on goal, charging them for further cure expert services to take care of the problems he experienced just completed. As a consequence, Charmoli’s earnings ballooned, with the dentist going from producing $1.4m and putting in 434 crowns in 2014 to $2.5m in 2015, installing over 1,000 crowns, reported the Washington Publish.

In accordance to prosecutors, in 2015, Charmoli began pressuring his shoppers into having pointless crowns, a dental course of action the place a tooth-shaped cap is placed on a broken tooth. Charmoli would drill or crack his client’s teeth and ship X-rays of the intentional harm to insurance coverage as “before” photos to justify the crown procedures.

Just one client, Todd Tedeschi, testified that Charmoli pressured him into receiving two crowns in 1 appointment, in spite of Tedeschi believing that his teeth ended up fantastic.

“It seemed abnormal, but I did not know any better,” said Tedeschi. “He was the expert. I just trusted him.”

Some of the clients that Charmoli badgered into unneeded strategies had been also vulnerable, said prosecutors.

“Some of these clients ended up really susceptible people today in abusive relationships, just lately widowed, survivors of most cancers and living paycheck to paycheck scrounging to pay for the co-pays necessary for the unneeded strategies he was billing,” explained prosecutor Julie Stewart in 2020.

In between 2016 to 2019, Charmoli billed a lot more than $4.2m for crowns, performing additional crowns than 95% of dentists in Wisconsin through that time. According to testimony from an insurance policies business government, though an typical Wisconsin dentist performs less than 6 crowns for each 100 clients, Charmoli’s rate exceeded a lot more than 32 crowns per 100 shoppers.

By the conclude of 2020, Charmoli had over $6.8m value of belongings, with trip houses in Wisconsin and Arizona.

Just about 100 of Charmoli’s previous sufferers have sued him for healthcare malpractice, with those cases set to start once Charmoli’s federal legal proceedings are about. Even though Charmoli’s attorneys did not supply comment to the Write-up pursuing Charmoli’s conviction, his legal professionals commented in the course of Charmoli’s December 2020 arraignment, exactly where the dentist pleaded not guilty, declaring Charmoli was only guilty of “hard work”.

“He definitely denies that his challenging-attained wealth of numerous, lots of yrs of dental exercise at the 40 to 60 hour for each

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2 min read

Conn. (WTNH) — The American Dental Association is now saying dentists can refuse to treat unvaccinated patients.

The news comes as more and more oral procedures are getting booked out into the new year.

The Association’s Council on Ethics, Bylaws and Judicial Affairs said in a statement that is not unethical — per se — to turn unvaccinated patients away.

“With the types of communicable diseases (and variants) that are occurring in the population, dentists must consider the ethical implications of treating or not treating patients with active illness, accepting or declining new patients who have not been vaccinated, and dismissing or maintaining existing patients who have not been vaccinated,” the statement read in part. “The American Dental Association’s Principles of Ethics & Code of Professional Conduct is a useful guide in navigating these challenging questions: ‘The ethical dentist strives to do that which is right and good.’”

A local dentist News 8 spoke to said he believes doctors have an ethical obligation to treat even unvaccinated patients. But he also said medical professionals should use their own discretion when it comes to what goes on in their practices.

“I feel like it’s our ethical responsibility to see all patients,” Dr. Jameel Dhanani said.

Dhanani told News 8 he and his medical staff don’t ask their patients if they’re vaccinated. Instead, they treat every patient as if they are not protected against COVID-19.

“Our protocol is to treat everyone as though they’re unvaccinated so when people come to the office, our protocols will not change whether somebody is vaccinated or not.”

He has taken multiple precautions in seeing his patients, including leaving space between visits and seeing fewer patients in a day.

“In our office, we maintain social distancing, full screening before and ask patients who had been in contact with somebody with COVID-19 to delay their appointments for non-emergency care.“

Dhanani said dentists are also trained to deal with a variety of diseases that may come into their offices. For him, COVID-19 is no different.

“There was one time dentists did not wear gloves and had to learn how to wear gloves, so we are used to protecting ourselves and changing with the times and changing with science and if science brings new factors on the way we need to improve our practice, we are very eager to follow and protect ourself and our patients.”

One thing that has not changed under the dentist code of ethics is demonstrating honesty, compassion, kindness and integrity when it comes to working with patients regardless of their vaccination status.

Local dentists react after American Dental Association says they can turn away unvaccinated patients

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