San Luis Obispo dentist cited for safety violations

March 18, 2015
Robert and Robyn Flores

Robert and Robyn Flores

By KAREN VELIE

The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed penalties totaling $8,100 against a San Luis Obispo dentist the state agency said failed to protect its workers and patients from blood borne pathogens and to properly maintain equipment.

In the March 13 citation and notification of penalty, OSHA said that Robert S. Flores DMD committed five safety and health violations, one of which was deemed serious. According to OSHA, a violation is considered serious if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.

In May 2014, a complaint filed against R&R Dental Care reported its owner, Flores, for failing to properly maintain a hygienist patient chair. However, Efren Gomez, the OSHA inspector assigned the case, did not perform a physical inspection; instead he relied on a letter from Flores claiming the chair was not broken and that the complaint was made by a disgruntled employee.

On June 2, Gomez sent Flores a letter telling him the case was closed.

A second complaint was sent to several of Gomez’ superiors that said he failed to properly investigate the allegations. The case was then reopened, and during a Dec. 2 inspection, OSHA discovered the chair was still broken and cited Flores for not maintaining it in a safe operating condition, according to OSHA documents.

In addition, Flores failed to implement or follow safety guidelines set in place to protect patients and employees from diseases and blood borne pathogens, the citation says. For example, in order to prevent the spread of HIV and Hepatitis, needles are to be disposed in a container that is replaced as necessary to avoid overflowing, the citation says.

But Flores would have employees overfill the sharps containers reducing the frequency of disposal by his disposal service provider, and saving Flores money. During the time of the original complaint, Robert Flores and his wife Robyn Flores were in the process of opening a second R&R Dental Care office in Arroyo Grande.

During the 2014 investigation, Robert Flores was president of the Central Coast Dental Society.

“The Central Coast Dental Society is a professional association of dentists who are committed to the enhancement of the oral health education and dental welfare of the public,” the society’s website says. “CCDS is committed to the promotion of professionalism and quality in dentistry.”

Flores has until March 28 to either appeal the citation or pay a 50 percent reduced penalty of $4,050 and to produce documentation that he has remedied the violations.

Flores did not return requests for comment.


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lalaloopsy

A chair in any office can break down just like a car. Sometimes it’s short or it can be a hydraulic. The fact a chair a broke and needed fixing is no big deal. I doubt the sharps container was overflowing and that they cut corners in cleaning instruments. Sounds like someone is out to get them. I feel bad for them.


mielkeway2011

I am a patient at R and R dental care so when I read this story I became alarmed. I have family members in the dental field so I contacted them and they told me that all OSHA violations are public records so I went to look it up and there are no violations or citations for Dr. Rob or Dr. Robin Flores. Again I asked my sibling and they responded any and all violations would show on the OSHA website. Looks like someone should check their source. I will be staying a patient at R and R dental care and hope next time they get all the facts before trying to destroy someone’s business.


question this

Don’t you feel like they dodged your question when you asked if they had a violation? Why didn’t Dr. Rob or Robin just answer your question instead of directing you to a website that probably hasn’t been updated…? Or did you ask you family and not call the office? The violation must be posted in the office until it is resolved, so if you really are concerned you might want to follow up some more. I wouldn’t trust my health to a website. Mind as well have asked web MD…


mielkeway2011

The office was already closed by the time I read this article. I will be calling this morning. The information was given to me by my family member in the dental field. You could be right that the website isn’t updated, but also it could be because they are still fighting these citations in this article, and actually have no violations. If that’s the case we shouldn’t even know about it until they had a chance to appeal. I feel this article was premature and brought to this writer to do harm to the Drs not to look out for patients safety. I take my health very seriously and the website was as much as I could do last night. When I go for my visits at R and R dental everything is clean and in working order. I’ve never felt like they were risking my well being. Like many other comments that have showed up I feel it’s a disgruntled ex employee wishing to do harm to Dr a Rob and Robyn.


swiftgorilla

Both of them are dentists and they have enough money to purchase a second business location, but they are so cheap they don’t get the sharps containers emptied or their broken office equipment fixed. Makes you wonder what else they are cutting corners on to save a few bucks??? Hopefully they properly clean the dental equipment that goes in your mouth! I prefer my cleaning not come with Hepatitis or who knows what…


This guy was the President of the Dental Society in 2014? He should definitely know better!


swiftgorilla

Both of them are dentists and they have enough money to buy a second business location, but are so cheap they don’t get their sharps containers emptied or broken office equipment fixed. Makes you wonder what else they cut corners on to save a few bucks – hopefully they properly cleaning the dental equipment that goes in your mouth!


Stunned

C’mon, saying he’s trying to save money by not disposing of sharps? I don’t think so and I’d venture a guess that a staff person simply calls the disposal company and they take care of it.


I wouldn’t switch dentist over it. Add: He’s not mine btw. :)


justbeware

It’s not hard to imagine someone not wanting to pay to dispose of medical waste, and taking improper steps to avoid doing so.


Stunned

Considering the pharmacy takes them back at no charge to you its not much I’m sure.


indigo1955

His wife Robyn is my dentist….that leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth…. :(


Robert1

You will be very lucky if that is all that was left in your mouth!


scoopone

The first action is to discipline or fire Gomez. He’s probably pulled this caper before;

laziness and failure to do his job. He’s supposed to investigate complaints and not take

the word of the accused. Will he be fired? No, disciplined perhaps…that’s the best we

can expect from any governmental agency nowadays.


panflash

OK, so has any disciplinary action been taken against Efren Gomez for failure

to appropriately perform his duties?


If not, why not?


kayaknut

Yes, if history is any indicator, he was given a raise, promoted, an/or allowed to retire after bumping his pension payouts, all while thanking the taxpayers as he was heading to the bank.