Date: December 28, 2017 06:39AM
Wow, didn't expect so many responses! Thanks.
WHY I ASKED
So, I've read so many posts about dentists and such becoming bishops that my search got me wondering. Anyway, the reason I don't want a Mormon dentist (all things begin equal), is because I know many Mormons equate success to their TBM-ness, so I don't want to fuel that sort of mentality. I also don't want any of my money going to TSCC.
SINCE YOU RESPONDED
I'd be curious about the opinions of the dentists who responded, and/or other health professionals about why I'm fed up with my current dentist.
We get our health and dental insurance through my wife's job. She recently took an early retirement, and so they switched our health insurance plan. The company also recently offshored their HR operations to India. There are various options to select (lump sum, annuity, etc), and the dogmatic Indians would not fund the insurance plan until a bunch of things had been "completed," In reality, depending on the set of options selected by the retiree, certain of those things couldn't happen, so the health insurance wasn't funded, and the "manual enrollments" done by administrators in Virginia, kept getting cancelled.
So... in November my dentist's office texts me that I'm overdue for a cleaning and that they had a cancellation. So, I call and say I'm willing to come in, but I explain the insurance issue and and ask if they can verify that it's active before I come in (we already have a couple of doctor visits that we've paid out-of-pocket for and have to file claims, and that's an extra hassle I'd rather avoid (i.e. I'd otherwise wait until the insurance reactivates) because the dental insurance is even a different company than the health insurance with which we already have pending claims.
Anyway, they call back a few minutes later and say that the insurance is active, and I go in. The retiree plan seems to be a little less comprehensive, so when the hygienist would say "do you want such-and-such? It's usually covered." I'd ask her to check coverage to be sure (not 'cause I'm not willing to pay twenty bucks for flouride, but because I was just sort of curious about how it compared to the previous plan). My point though, is that they checked coverage multiple times: before I came in, and a couple times while I was there.
I mentioned to them that my jaw had been sore in the mornings. They suggest that I've been grinding my teeth and suggest a dental guard. I say "ok," and they take molds, charge me nearly $300 (because the new policy won't pay for it, but has a "contract price"?), and schedule an appointment for two weeks later to check the fit.
A couple days later I get a text from them saying my daughter is due for a cleaning, asking if she wants to take a cancellation. She was home from school for Thanksgiving, and was available, so in we go. When we arrive the girl tells us that the insurance isn't valid and that we'll have to pay cash.
I said we'd just come back later (again, don't want the hassle of filing extra claims, when simply waiting will make it easier). So, then she tells me that if we cancel an appointment with less than 24 hours notice, that we'll have to pay a penalty. I say the "appointment" didn't even exist 24 hours earlier. She says it's their policy. I say I'm not paying it and have the dentist call me if he wants to discuss it.
A couple days later, I get a voicemail saying that the claim for my appointment from the week earlier had been denied, and that I'll have to pay cash (nearly $600). This sort of surprised me, because, as I described above, they had verified the insurance before my visit, but I know the health insurance had been cancelled more than once, so it's also not surprising, but aggravating nonetheless.
Anyway, the voicemail goes on to say that they'll need to collect the payment when I come in to fit the dental guard, and asks if I want to cancel that appointment (i.e. I can't have the dental guard--which I already paid for--until the other appointment charges were paid. Again, frustrating because I wouldn't have incurred the charges if I had known there was no coverage, and I asked them to verify the coverage, and they did. It seems strange to me that the insurance company would sort of "retroactively" deny coverage for services provided on a day when there was coverage.
At the same time, I'm not naive. The dentist deserves to be paid for his work. I call back and say that if the insurance isn't re-activated by the time I come in, that I'll pay the bill and plan to file a claim. But, in the same space of time, I know things are moving with my wife's company because we got an email from the insurance coordinator saying they'd set up the company side and funded the policy, and we finally got the information necessary to start paying our monthly contribution (which I did immediately to avoid any further issues).
The appointment was more than a week away, and in the interim I know the coverage reactivated, because I could see it online myself at that point. On the day of the appointment though, my wife was sick, so I called to postpone, explaining why. She mentions the penalty again. I ask what's the charge for the fitting. She says no charge, it's included. I ask, how can you charge a penalty for missing a free fitting? Anyway, I dropped that and told her that I thought the insurance was active again, and could she please verify and let me know, and we could also then reschedule my fitting.
Well, fast forward nearly a month, and no call. My jaw had long since stopped hurting, so I wasn't thinking about the dental guard anymore. But my daughters both had appointments coming up right after Christmas, so I called last Friday to inquire about the coverage. She says, Yeah, she had just called the day before and verified it. I was dumbfounded that she not only waited nearly a month, but then didn't call me to let me know and/or set up a time to pick up the dental guard.
I was irritated, asked her why she waited so long. Explained that I wasn't even experiencing the problem for which the guard had been prescribed, etc. It occurred to me that she hadn't even followed up for me, but probably because they were getting near the month or year end and were looking to retry their unpaid claims. I asked her to have the dentist call me.
I wanted to complain to the dentist about this employee of his. She's been insensitive and rude, etc. I was so irritated after I spoke to her that I texted our girls' orthodontist and asked if he could recommend another dentist (and he sent two names).
Anyway, I cooled down and over the weekend I wondered if I had overreacted. Decided to go ahead and take my daughter in to her appointment today. Things seemed to proceed normally. I went in with her, and sat in the extra chair. After the x-rays, cleaning, etc, the dentist came in to do his part, plus superficial chit chat.
But I notice at some point that someone handed him a plastic case that's sort of dental shape, and it occurs to me that it's probably my dental guard. Sure enough, when my daughter gets up, he says it's my guard and tries to hand me. I didn't take it right away, but say that I had asked for him to give me a call about it. He says, "it's yours. You ordered it." I said that that isn't exactly what I wanted to talk about. He says they were just walking out for the day and holds it out again.
I asked what about making sure it fits. He said I could try it on as he left the treatment area. I sat there a few minutes, and figured we were done. When I wandered out he was already working on a patient in the next space. I said "see you tomorrow" to both he and the girl at the front desk, since my other daughter had an appointment.
Based on my thoughts the day before about maybe blowing out of proportion, I really wasn't in too bad a mood about it, but as the day wore on, it started to irritate me again.
First of all, I have this dental guard that I don't really even know if it fits properly. Don't know what to expect, how much to wear it, how to clean it, etc.
And when I came out, my daughter had gone out to the car. She said "I hate that girl." Turns out that the "lady" with whom I was having to deal with on all this stuff--who was rude and dismissive and insensitive--is just an 18 year old kid.
It also occurred to me that the dentist wasn't concerned with whether the dental guard fit. For what they had originally wanted to schedule an appointment to make sure it fit...he was content to just hand it to me. He just wanted to be rid of it.
He said they were "just leaving the building" that day, but he could have called Friday, or yesterday. My only recourse to complain about the girl, is through the girl. He doesn't want to hear me out. He knows her side of the story, and isn't interested in mine. He knew I wanted him to call me, and didn't bother.
The girl had made comments on the phone that implied that I didn't want the guard any longer, and his echoed them because he only knew her side of the story, but my problem was not the guard. My problem was the girl, at least initially (now I'm pissed at him too).
Assuming he thinks I don't want the dental guard, then he's so short sighted that he's willing to lose four long-term patients over a three hundred dollar dental guard. Because four patients is what's it's costing him.
So, I scheduled my youngest an appointment with the referred dentist, and then called to cancel tomorrow's appointment. When Miss Charming asked if I wanted to reschedule it, I just said "no."
Anyway, another observation: in the last six months, his entire staff has turned over. And it's about half the size. There used to always be two ladies at the front desk. Now it's just this 18 year old girl. So the "atmosphere" is different (and not as nice).
Also, one of my pet peeves with his practice is that its way over computerized. For example, I mentioned these texts that arrive. My old policy authorized cleanings every 90 days because I had once needed a deep cleaning or something (not sure about the new policy), and I'd always be reluctant to schedule too far out, because each semester I teach a different schedule, so I don't know when I can go until fairly close up. So, as soon 90 days elapses, I start getting bombarded with "overdue" texts and email invitations to fill a cancellation.
That's another thing that bugs me. 9 times out of 10 I'm filling a cancellation, so I'm virtually always doing him a favor. And when I need a little consideration, it isn't forthcoming.
Also, it's like he "harvests" the insurance policy. He wants to do anything and everything that it will cover (like cleaning my teeth every 90 days, whether I need it or not.
One of the reasons my wife retired early is that she's been sick and on short-term disability for nearly two years. Rather than go on long-term disability, it was better for her to retire. But we're getting fatigued by treatment, and have little tolerance left for bad care. I hate having to file claims, and they add up. Don't want more.
Ok, rant over.
I'm I justified in finding a new dentist?