A dentist whose actions are prompting 8,000 of his former patients to be tested for HIV and hepatitis is now under criminal investigation.
Denver police confirm to CALL7 Investigators that they are investigating Dr. Stephen Stein for prescription fraud or possibly diverting prescription drugs. However, they are not investigating his alleged use of dirty needles.
The Colorado Department Of Health issued a health warning Thursday after an investigation by the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) found Stein was reusing syringes and needles used to inject medications through patients IV lines.
In April, the Colorado Attorney General's Office, on behalf of DORA, approached the Denver District Attorney's Office about Stein. The DA's office directed them to the Denver Police Department, CALL7 Investigators learned.
At that point, DORA turned over the results of its dental board investigation to the Denver Police Department.
Patients of Stein's Highlands Ranch and Cherry Creek practices were advised Thursday to be tested for HIV, hepatitis B and/or hepatitis C.
CALL7 Investigator John Ferrugia began asking questions of the state health department early Thursday and the department made its investigation public Thursday afternoon.
Any patient who received intravenous medications, including sedation, under Steins care between September 1999 through June 2011, may have been exposed, the health department said.
However, there have been no specific infections linked to these offices, so far, the health department said.
Investigation Found That Injection Needles Were Reused
The state health department began its investigation following a report of unsafe injection practices. Upon investigation, it was determined syringes and needles used to inject medications through patients IV lines were saved and used again to inject medications through other patients IV lines. This practice has been shown to transmit infections.
The investigation continues. State health officials are working with health officials at Tri-County Health Department and Denver Public Health due to the locations of Steins practices in those counties.
Practice Closed, Stein Not Practicing
Stein Oral and Facial Surgery is closed. Stein entered into an Interim Cessation of Practice Agreement with the Colorado State Board of Dental Examiners at DORA on June 24, 2011, and currently is not practicing.
In the original action from 2011, the state found the public health, safety or welfare imperatively requires emergency action. Because of privacy issues, the state wont release details about the complaint to CALL7.
Maulid Miskell, DORA Program Director, said that the agency continued to investigate Steins practice. In April 2012, the agency notified Colorado Public Health about Stein possibly reusing needles on patients.
More Info: http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/dc/Epidemiology/dentistFAQs.pdf (Link)
or call 1-877-462-2911.
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