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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Dental Disaster!

This story gets stranger and stranger. I hope I am not in trouble--though for what I do not know.

Mr FS called the dental office on Thursday (third effort) to get the recommended treatment from a prior visit. We never got any call backs. Then, when we went on a walk, I said "Why don't you go into the office and ask them to make us a copy?" We live right down the street.

Mr FS returned a few minutes later. The dentist had emerged from treating a patient and told him that we needed to seek treatment elsewhere. We were fired.

We called a teacher of our acquaintance whose husband is a dentist and got some recommendations. We planned on calling some next week.

Today, we returned home to find notice of a certified letter in our mailbox. FROM THE DENTIST WHO FIRED US. What could it be?

Does anyone have any ideas? I am kind of nervous about this.

Believe it or not, I don't blame the dentist. Her receptionist/bill person made the initial error and, except for one cordial chat with the dentist in January, we have perforce dealt with the receptionist.

When I saw the certified notice, I was hoping the letter contained our records, but it is a LETTER and not a LARGE envelope. I am hoping the dentist is merely terminating our relationship--only officially. Could it be anything else?

I hope Mr FS and I are not banned from the dental world in our small town. Rather worrisome, since we put several thousand dollars in our flex account to cover the treatment recommended.



tess said...

What a stressful situation! Good luck resolving the credit situation and the dental one as well.

Can the ADA recommend someone in your area?

And yes, leave a true review on yelp and anywhere else you can, sounds like such a terrible place.

Patience_Crabstick said...

I don't see how you could be in any real trouble. You tried to pay a bill. THEY screwed up and didn't accept your payment and then turned you over to collection. Further communications from you, proving intent to pay your bill were met with rudeness.

The letter is probably an official notification that you've been dismissed from the practice. They probably have to have proof that they gave you notice of this. They suck.

Frugal Scholar said...

@tess--The dentist has 100s of positive comments on yelp and the like. She is not the problem! An error by her receptionist led to all this. Perhaps others would not respond as strongly to the Collection Agency issue, but our family has never had any issues like that--and perhaps I'm being a mamma bear for my little cub-daughter, in whose name the Collection Agency called.

@PC--Thanks as always for your supportive comments. We DID pay the bill--at which point we were told it had been sent to collections. It has since been withdrawn, but I'm not sure what effect that will have on my daughter's credit rating.

dotsybabe said...

Whatever the certified letter is, go back to the DDS and get a copy of your records and x-rays (so you don't have to pay for these again). They may charge you a copying fee (if reasonable, about $10 max.) Be sure to get the x-rays -- that's money in the bank, so to speak. Or you could ask them to transfer them to the new DDS (or ask the new DDS to request this professional courtesy) but do it RIGHT AWAY before some bird brain decides to destroy them or whatever. I don't trust the folks at your old DDS - clearly the DDS is standing up for her staff and her office inefficiencies. Get the X-RAYS!!!

Gam Kau said...

I'm so sorry you've had to go through this - just reading along with the saga has been stressful. It really seems there are a lot of less than ideal dentists out there and though this dentist might be good at dental care, she is obviously not at all good at the business/management of her staff and practice. I'd say consider yourself lucky you've been dismissed, chalk it up to a bad experience and move on.
How awful all of this is!
Our family has been through a series of dentists. Funny we don't have the same issues with medical doctors, but with dental care we've been very unlucky. We have also left a dental practice because of the receptionist/staff even though we liked the dental care. I don't think it is too much to expect the practice be run professionally and courteously.
Good luck to you with this!

Frugal Scholar said...

@DB--Yes--we'll have our new dentist ask for the records. I think that may be better than asking for them directly. We NEED to go to the dentist!

@Gam Kau--Thanks to you too for making me feel that we're not completely crazy and blameworthy. We've seen many an incompetent dentist (perhaps because there's not real oversight or standard practice as with medical drs??), so we were holding onto this one--perhaps too tightly.

Shelley said...

I can't believe the drama that has unfolded around this dentist. I don't care what her medical skills might be, no one should have to deal with a receptionist that incompetent and the dentist is absolutely responsible for the quality of her staff.

I can't imagine what sort of document she mailed to you, but can I point out that you cannot be fired by her? You weren't employed by her; she was employed by you. If you pay your bills, she had an income. You win by having a good dentist, she wins by having an income. As long as you each keep your side of that bargain, neither is beholden to the other. Unfortunately, an idiot at the front desk made it complicated for you to keep your side of the bargain. Personally, I think you are well to be rid of them, except for the hanging problem of the collection agency.

In your place, I would have been contacting the Dental Association, the Collections Agency (surely they send some sort of document that can be traced?), and then my attorney or in the absence of one, the Bar Association. I would be filing enough complaints - Yelp included - for her to wallpaper her office. It is a hassle, but on no account should that receptionist get away with damaging your financial reputation if it's not deserved.

I tend to avoid lawyers as a matter of principle, but they are sometimes useful. A while back when I lived in OKC I needed some paper work filed about a deed to a house and the Bar Association sent me to a nice old man in a one-man office who handled it for a reasonable fee.

I'm fairly fierce in maintaining my rights as a customer: I don't return to businesses that offend me, I've complained about poor service, walked out of restaurants (but not when I'd eaten the food), pointed out unacceptable behaviour. I'm courteous but insistent. I don't like to be walked on and I think it's my job to make people understand what I will and won't permit. They may or may not change their behaviour, but I can damn sure change mine.

As to finding a good dentist, canvass all your friends and work colleagues for recommendations. I've found two excellent dentists in Oklahoma City through friends. They can't be that thin on the ground. If your teeth are so bad as to need special expertise, perhaps the Dental Association could help; is there a dental teaching hospital in your vicinity?

I hope the letter wasn't too distressing, whatever it was. I expect it is upsetting to be asked to leave a practice, a form of rejection. No doubt the dentist has received another version of this story. Whatever the situation, you absolutely have rights as a patient and as a customer and you need to stand up for yourself. If you don't, it's very unlikely anyone else will do it for you and you'll be saddled with this mess for however long such things hang around one's neck.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Shelley--Actually, I think a business owner can legally "ban" anyone form a business. As I've said to other commenters, the dentist has excellent ratings. We will send the dentist a letter--as soon as the certified letter makes its way to us (it was not redelivered today, so I need to wait another day). I will test out the letter with my readers.