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Dentist who reused needles on patients under criminal investigation

DENVER — Denver Police say they are investigating Dr. Stephen Stein for prescription fraud. The criminal investigation is ongoing and has been underway since early April.

Police say it is an ongoing investigation. They are not looking into his repeated use of needles that put thousands of patients at risk of dangerous diseases.

Anyone who was a patient of Stein, a dentist who practiced oral surgery in Denver and Highlands Ranch, is advised to get tested for HIV and hepatitis.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment made the recommendation today.

Officials say patients may have been exposed to HIV, hepatitis B and/or hepatitis C if they received intravenous (IV) medications while under Stein’s care from September 1999 through June 2011.

Patients may be at risk if they were seen by Stein during these time frames and at these locations:

September 1999 to June 2011 at Stein Oral and Facial Surgery, 8671 S. Quebec St., #230, Highlands Ranch, CO 80130

August 2010 to June 2011 at Stein Oral and Facial Surgery, 3737 E.1st Ave., Suite B, Denver, CO 80206. Patients also were seen at this location by Stein under another name, New Image Dental Implant Center.

“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,” the health department says. “This practice has been shown to transmit infections.”

The health department says it sent 8,000 letters Thursday to patients who could be at risk. Investigators also say there are more people who should get tested because records dating back so long are incomplete.

Read the letter sent to patients here

Stein Oral and Facial Surgery is closed. He stopped practicing on June 24, 2011.

So far, there have been no specific infections linked to these offices according to CDPHE.

Call 1-877-462-2911 or visit http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/ for more information.

From the Department of Health:

People infected with viruses such as HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C may not have symptoms for many years, so it is possible patients might have been infected and not know it. Even though patients who may have been exposed may not feel ill or remember getting sick, they should get tested. Although testing cannot determine where or how someone was infected (at Stein’s offices or from another exposure), it is important to know so treatment can begin.

Health providers who test Stein’s former patients are being asked to report any tests positive for HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C to their county health department or the state health department and to specify the patient was tested as a result of unsafe injection practices at Stein Oral and Facial Surgery. HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C are reportable conditions in Colorado, meaning they must be reported to public health authorities.

Needed Tests
Patients who may have been exposed should ask their health provider to order the following tests:

HIV antibody

If positive, reflex confirmatory testing with Western blot or other approved confirmatory methods should be performed.

Hepatitis C antibody

If positive, hepatitis C RNA (quantitative or qualitative) should be performed. (Reflex testing often is available for hepatitis C RNA.)

Hepatitis B surface antigen and hepatitis B core antibody should be done. Hepatitis B surface antibody also should be considered and is useful to determine immunity to hepatitis B.

Additional Resources
Patients can and should ask their health provider about safe injection practices. For further information on safe injection practices, please visit http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/dc/Epidemiology/injsafety.html .

For further information on HIV, please visit http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/dc/HIVandSTD/index.html

For further information on hepatitis, please visit http://www.hepatitiscolorado.info.

Dr. Stephen Stein’s biograhphy video from YouTube: