Winnie Sung - June 2014

June 26, 2014
As per Section 39.3 of the Health Professions Act the following public notice is given:

Name of Registrant

Winnie Sung("Registrant")

Action Taken

The Inquiry Committee requested and obtained a consent order from the Registrant under ss. 33(6)(c) and 36(1)(a), (b), (c) and (d) of the Health Professions Act requiring her to:

  1. undertake not to repeat the conduct of:(a) submitting false billings for dental hygiene services that she did not provide; (b) failing to maintain proper clinical and billing records for dental hygiene services that she provides in accordance with the College’s Standards of Practice; (c) failing to safely and securely store clinical records for a period of 10 years in accordance with the College’s Practice Standards; (d) exceeding her scope of practice as defined in s. 4 of the Dental Hygienist Regulation, B.C. Reg. 276/2008; (e) failing to cooperate in a timely manner with a College investigation; and (f) failing to be forthright and candid in providing information to the College for an investigation.
  2. consent to a reprimand in relation to her unethical conduct of submitting false billings to the Complainant for dental hygiene services, using the equipment and supplies of her employers without authorization, and failing to discharge her duty to cooperate with the College’s investigation.
  3. consent to a ninety (90) day suspension of her practice of dental hygiene as defined in the Dental Hygienist Regulation, B.C. Reg. 276/2008 commencing the date of the Consent Order.
  4. consent to permanently restrict her practice of dental hygiene to working in dental offices under the supervision of a dentist in good standing with the College of Dental Surgeons of British Columbia and to permanently refrain from engaging in the independent practice of dental hygiene or otherwise holding herself out as an independent practitioner or contractor of dental hygiene services for the duration of her registration with the College.
  5. consent to provide written notification to the College of her current practice setting(s) within five (5) days of the Consent Order, and to notify the College in writing immediately upon any change of those practice settings and to ensure that the College has current information of her current practice location at all times for the duration of her registration with the College.
  6. consent to disclose the terms of this Consent Order to all current employers where she works as a dental hygienist within seven (7) business days of the date of the Consent Order and to any new employers within two (2) business days of receiving an offer of confirmed employment as a dental hygienist. This provision will remain in effect for five (5) years from the date of the Consent Order.
  7. undertake not to apply to the College for exemption from the 365 Day Rule for the duration of her registration with the College.
  8. consent to keep her home/mobile operatory located at her current residence or such other residence as she may move to in the future permanently dismantled and cooperate with random inspections by a College appointed inspector of her residence (wherever it may be) from time to time to ensure that the home/ mobile operatory remains dismantled, recognizing that the timing and frequency of the random inspections are within the sole discretion of the Inquiry Committee.
  9. undertake to successfully complete courses on professional ethics and dental hygiene clinical-record-keeping, such courses to be approved in advance by the Registrar, at her cost within nine (9) months of the date of the Consent Order and to provide documentary evidence confirming that she has successfully completed those courses to the Registrar within seven (7) days of receiving confirmation that she has successfully completed the courses.
  10. The Registrant undertakes to participate in, and fully cooperate with, an individualized assessment of her practice skills by an assessor to be appointed by the Inquiry Committee - such assessment to be completed within thirty (30) days of the Registrant obtaining new employment after serving her ninety (90) day suspension period. The Registrant acknowledges that the assessor will be required to report back to the Inquiry Committee regarding the results of her individualized assessment and that she will be solely responsible for the costs of the individualized assessment and that the requirement to pay such costs forthwith upon receipt of invoices from the College constitutes a term of the Consent Order.
  11. undertake to submit an individualized remediation plan to the Inquiry Committee for approval (following submission of the individualized assessment report to the Inquiry Committee) within three (3) months of the date of the Consent Order. The Registrant must make any changes to the proposed individualized remediation plan directed by the Inquiry Committee within seven (7) days of receiving notice of the changes and must complete the approved individualized remediation plan to the satisfaction of the Inquiry Committee within nine (9) months of the date of the acceptance of the individualized assessment plan by the Inquiry Committee.
  12. consent and undertake to cooperate with scheduled and random site-based spot audits by a College appointed inspector at any time for a period of five (5) years commencing after the expiration of her suspension recognizing that the frequency and timing of the spot audits is at the sole discretion of the Inquiry Committee. The Registrant must provide the inspector with immediate and unrestricted access to all clinical and billing records relating to her practice of dental hygiene for audit purposes and will be solely responsible for all audit costs (including the inspector fees and disbursements). The requirement to pay such costs forthwith upon receipt of invoices from the College constitutes a term of the Consent Order.
  13. undertake to carry out such remedial work that the Inquiry Committee directs during the seven (7) year period following her return to practice at the expiration of her period of suspension, at her cost, in the event that any areas of deficiency are identified by the inspector during the scheduled and random site-based audits.
  14. pay the sum of $8,000.00 towards the College’s costs of investigation in accordance with the payment schedule attached hereto as Schedule “A”.

Reasons for Action

The Inquiry Committee initiated an investigation after receiving a complaint from Sun Life Financial alleging that the Registrant had engaged in unethical conduct by submitting false claims to the insurance company for dental hygiene services that she did not perform and by claiming to have performed hundreds of services for five patients over the course of five months. During the course of the investigation, the Inquiry Committee confirmed that the Registrant had: (a) submitted false billings; (b) engaged in unethical conduct by using equipment and supplies from the dental clinics where she worked without their knowledge or permission; (c) violated the 365 Day Rule; (d) failed to obtain and document informed consent to treatment; (e) failed to perform proper diagnosis, assessment and care planning for her clients; (f) failed to maintain adequate clinical and billing records in accordance with the Practice Standard Policies; (g) altered her clinical records by using white-out and adding later margin notes; (h) failed to securely store clinical records in accordance with the Practice Standard Policies; (i) failed to maintain clinical records for ten years and lost many of them; (j) engaged in conduct that was outside her scope of practice as a dental hygienist; and (k) failed to cooperate fully with the College’s investigation because of her repeated failures to respond to the numerous messages and requests made by the inspector and Inquiry Committee, and her claim that her business laptop had been stolen.