State: No record of tool cleaning by Shamokin dentist since June 2013
By Eric Scicchitano
HARRISBURG - State investigators said there are no records to show if any dental tools had been sterilized after June 2013 at the office of a Shamokin dentist whose license was temporarily suspended Friday.
A petition to the state Board of Dentistry alleges Dr. Vincent J. Paczkoskie, who practiced at 315 N. Shamokin St., failed to have biological spore testing performed on his autoclave, a device used to sterilize equipment.
Without test records, state investigators can't say if he had been sterilizing dental instruments used on patients.
The state Department of Health recommends all current or former patients be tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). There were no reports as of Friday of disease transmission or illness.
Spore tests are required by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and standards require tests be performed weekly.
There were no records of when the autoclave had last been used, nor any specifics on time and temperature settings or which instruments had been sterilized.
Paczkoskie also allegedly failed to properly disinfect "critical instruments" before reuse and failed to properly scrub instruments. He had no record of a contract for the disposal of medical waste.
Also, investigators said they found just one dental handpiece, or drill, among the tools when they inspected the office.
Paczkoskie was first licensed in June 1965.
His last renewal was April 2013, which is set to expire in March 2015. He is a longtime dental examiner for the Shamokin Area School District. His appointment was last renewed in August.
Ron McElwee, school board director, said disposable mirrors are provided to dentists who examine students in district buildings. Paczkoskie did not bring his own tools for examinations, he said.
McElwee said Paczkoskie saw approxmately 100 students in third grade and pre-kindergarten in the past year and has been working at the school for at least 30 years.
A preliminary hearing has not yet been scheduled. It's expected by July 13 at a location chosen by the dentistry board, and Paczkoskie is entitled to be present. If the case is found to lack merit, Paczkoskie's license will immediately be restored. If it is found to have merit, the suspension will remain in effect for up to 180 days.
A separate action to suspend, revoke or restrict his license will also be filed. An answer from Paczkoskie must follow within 20 days and then another formal hearing will be held.
Patients of Dr. Vincent J. Paczkoskie who have health insurance are urged to contact their primary care physician or their insurance provider to arrange for testing. Those with ACCESS/Medicaid should call the Department of Public Welfare at 800-440-3989. Call 1-877-PA-HEALTH and select 9 for information and assistance in finding testing options, between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.