LARGO, Fla. -- The Florida Department of Health listed his license to practice as "null and void" in 2009, yet he's seen possibly hundreds of patients.
The Largo hearing specialist tells 10 News it's not his fault he's practicing without a license. "Right from the start, the only reason this happened is because my ex-wife didn't put in a check for my license renewal," said Dean Knoblach as he leaned against his car in his driveway.
This isn't the first time Knoblach has done this.
"In terms of touching patients and all, you must have a license," says Dr. Anastasia Knoblach. She should know; she's the ex-wife Dean Knoblach falsely blames for not sending in a check for his renewal. She is a licensed audiologist with a PhD. She tells 10 News that when Dean Knoblach touched patients or used an otoscope, like he did on our producer we sent in undercover, he was violating the law.
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Dr. Knoblach told us you cannot test, you cannot look in a patient's ears, and you can't touch a patient unless you have a valid license and everybody who is in the business knows that. But, apparently, Dean Knoblach doesn't. He's been seeing patients on a regular basis since 2009. Knoblach says he knew this day was coming and had a written official response in an envelope waiting for us at his office even before we contacted him.
The statement says, in part, "This whole situation was the result of a license renewal check that didn't get cashed in a timely fashion. When I discovered this error, I immediately contacted the Florida Department of Health, collaborated with the authorities, hired an attorney, and promptly hired another Doctor of audiology to insure that all necessary steps have been carefully followed to resolve this clerical error."
"So, when I called the state and told them about this they said, 'Well, OK, this is how you have to handle this' and I followed every single step they said, dotted all my I's, crossed all the T's," added Knoblach.
Not exactly. According to the Department of Health's Division of Medical Quality Assurance, Mr. Knoblach's license was not renewed in 2009 with the Florida Department of Health and is therefore null and void. "Any subsequent licensure shall be as a result of applying for and meeting all requirements imposed on an applicant for new licensure," it stated.
"I think it is important for the public to know and I think it is important for him to be stopped because it is unethical, flatout wrong," said Dr. Anastasia Knoblach.
This isn't the first time Dean Knoblach has been in trouble for operating without a license. When asked about Minnesota, he said, "It's all in the letter, dude."
According to a stipulation and consent order issued by the Minnesota Commissioner of Health, Knoblach advertised himself as a certified audioprothologyst, which he was not, certified from the National American Conference of Audioprosthology, which he was not. In addition, he ran into problems in Wisconsin and didn't disclose that to Minnesota, which revoked his license.
When asked about these problems, Knoblach kept changing the subject and accused 10 News of violating HIPPA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. We contacted patients of this so-called doctor, and all the folks we talked said they were happy with his services.
The Department of Health says it takes the fact that Knoblach has no license and is still seeing patients very seriously, and that he can be subject to criminal prosecution. In an email, it stated, "The Florida Department of Health remains committed to identify and investigate people illegally practicing medicine or revealing unbecoming conduct. We take our enforcement process very seriously and are proud of the efforts made and taking the appropriate measures to safeguard residents and visitors against unlicensed activity by practitioners. By using the appropriate disciplinary tools, such as Emergency Suspension Orders, we can ensure we protect public health."
The Medical Quality Assurance website has a form where you can fill out a complaint for unlicensed activity if you suspect there is someone practicing without a license, or you can call (850) 245-4339.