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Barred dentist will appeal

By PAT JENKINS

The Mirror

A Federal Way dentist plans to contest the state’s decision to revoke his dentistry license, though he might not get far.

In a prepared statement, the attorney for Jeffrey Burgess said the dentist is “extremely disappointed” in the action by the Washington Dental Quality Assurance Commission “and will file an appeal.”

But the commission’s decision to bar Burgess from practicing dentistry in Washington for five years is final and won’t be reconsidered, said spokeswoman Deanna Whitman.

The commission announced last Wednesday that after investigating allegations by some of his former patients of sexual misconduct and other unprofessional conduct, Burgess’ license will be revoked. It can’t be reinstated until after the five years pass and he pays a $25,000 fine and receives a psychological assessment.

In its official decision, the commission stated it won’t accept any requests for reconsideration, Whitman said.

An appeal is coming, though, according to John Versnell, Burgess’ attorney.

Burgess “has provided professional, successful and appropriate care to thousands of patients since 1973 and hopes to do so in the future,” Versnell said in a statement issued last Friday. No reference was made to taking any legal action.

Versnell also denied Burgess is under investigation by authorities in Hawaii in connection with his dental practice there. “There is no investigation,” Versnell said.

The Hawaii Board of Dental Examiners is looking into an undisclosed complaint against Burgess, according to the state’s Department of Consumer Affairs. The details aren’t public until the investigation is finished, officials said.

Versnell said Hawaii authorities opened a file in response to being informed about the Washington case, but no investigation is underway in Hawaii and there are no complaints against Burgess there “that we’re aware of. Dr. Burgess still has a license to practice in Hawaii.”

Whitman said Washington notified Hawaii of the license revocation here.

After a female patient claimed in 2001 that he touched her inappropriately, Burgess was accused by nine other women of sexual misconduct occurring between 1996 and 2002. One of them also alleged he allowed an unlicensed assistant to give her a shot.

In revoking his license, the dental commission cited that incident and also said he touched the breasts of female patients inappropriately, didn’t explain treatment procedures and contacted patients for “non-therapeutic purposes.” The commission also said Burgess’ former South Sound Oral Medicine office failed a state audit for infection control methods.

Editor Pat Jenkins: 925-5565, editor@fedwaymirror.com

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