Idaho licensing agency took action against Payette dental hygienist’s business

The Idaho State Board of Dentistry pressured Cherie R. Dillon into surrendering her dental hygiene license after she illegally formed a business to provide dental services.

Dillon, a Fruitland resident, operated Dental Healthcare With Heart in Payette for a decade before giving up her license last June.

She was indicted earlier this month by a federal grand jury meeting in Boise and accused of seven counts of health care fraud and an equal number of counts of aggravated identity theft.

The board, which licenses and disciplines dentists and dental hygienists, found that in 2005 Dillon submitted articles of incorporation for her company with the Idaho Secretary of State’s Office. It was organized, the board said, for the practice of Dentistry.

However, state law limits the formation of professional companies, often used by doctors, dentists and lawyers, to those who are authorized to perform the professional services offered by the company. As a dental hygienist, Dillon was not qualified to practice Dentistry or to establish a professional corporation.

“Therefore, Ms. Dillon could not form or be a member of a professional limited liability company organized for the practice of dentistry consistent with the laws of Idaho,” Susan Miller, the board’s executive director, wrote in the document Dillon signed in agreeing to give up her license.

The eight-page letter was obtained by The Idaho Statesman following a public records request after Dillon’s arrest.

In the criminal complaint, Dillon, 60, is accused of examining patients and developing treatment programs that were carried out by several dentists who were contracted by Dillon on a part-time basis to perform services at the dental office. Only a dentist could legally perform examinations and draw up treatment plans.

The contract dentists believed the initial work was carried out by a dentist supervising Dillon’s work as a hygienist.

Dillon reportedly told the contract dentists, who received between one-quarter and one-third of the money received from health care benefit providers for the services they carried out, that a dentist listed as “T.F.” in court documents performed the initial examinations and decided the treatment needed. Dillon told the dentists that T.F. owned the company, prosecutors said.

According to prosecutors, T.F. became ill in July 2010 and stopped practicing Dentistry. He did not have any ownership stake in Dental Healthcare With Heart.

Dillon was licensed as a dental hygienist in Idaho since January 1985. With the surrender of her license, she cannot perform any dental procedures, including teeth cleaning and other services provided by hygienists.

“The Board of Dentistry believes that the public health, safety and welfare can be assured by means of Ms. Dillon entering into and complying with the terms and conditions of this consent agreement,” Miller wrote.

R. Keith Roark of Hailey, who is serving as Dillon’s attorney in the criminal case, could not be immediately reached for comment.

John Sowell: 208-377-6423, @IDS_Sowell