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Letters: 'Live patients'

March 21, 2016 The article "Using Patients in Board Exams Under Debate in Iowa," (Feb. 15 ADA News), refers to "live patients," and I would remind you that all patients for licensure are live.

Yes, there are a myriad of issues with the one-time exam, and yes, new doctors have paid a ton of money to examining agencies, patients, assistants and profiteers in the licensure process. Here in California there are people outside the examination areas with patients and records to sell to those taking the exam if their patient selection failed to be accepted and/or they offer turnkey patients/assistants/equipment bundles for a price. And then there are the regional boards who charge outrageous fees for their exams. I was recently president of the Dental Board of California, and one thing I wanted to do was change the way we license dentists here in California. It required cooperation of all of our dental schools establishing guidelines with what we called the portfolio examination. It took a few years but it's now in place. It requires areas of specific numbers of procedures in multiple areas and requires a student to take competency examinations with patients of record at their school.

This eliminates the "one shot" examination with so much on the line and eliminates outrageous fees for patients and assistants.

Lewis J. Turchi, D.D.S.
Palos Verdes Estates, California