Tuesday, May 21, 2013

OK.......Now I'm Ticked Off!

People don't tick me off easily, but when they do......watch out.  

I had a dentist appointment today and I knew that they wanted to do full mouth x-rays, since they hadn't been done in a while. I put them off last time, because I didn't want to pay for x-rays, so I knew I couldn't get by with that now.

Our only dentist for the first 42 years we were in Raleigh retired about two years ago and a woman took over his practice. She seemed competent and very nice and friendly, so we decided to maintain our relationship with that practice. But now, I'm not so sure. 

The first dentist was always very nice about allowing people to make payments when their dental bills were in excess of the usual cleaning and check-up fees. Things like crowns, extractions, x-rays, etc. always cost way more and sometimes it is hard to come up with the amount they want on the spur of the moment. When we first started going to him, in 1970, the fees for a cleaning were $30. I remember when he went up another $10 and he apologized for having to raise his charges. Now, the cleaning alone is well over $100 and the x-rays added on to that make it difficult sometimes. 

So today, when the new receptionist told me the amount, I said "I can give you part of that today and the rest in 3 weeks."  She answered...."That will be okay for today, but in the future, we expect payment when services are rendered."  I replied...."Then I may not be coming here in the future." She gave me a shrug and a look that said "You think I care?" and at that moment, I really began to miss the old receptionist, whom we have known for over 25 years. She would never have said that to me. I suspect that may be part of the reason she left that practice; being loathe to tell people that they had to pay out hundreds/thousands of dollars when that had never been the policy before. 

This dentist may not know it, but even when I paid installments, I always got the bill paid within a month or a few days more. I suppose there are many people who don't finish paying the bill, and that is why she is changing her policy - but it rubs me the wrong way. I think our former dentist might cringe if he heard what is happening. I wish I could tell him.

At any rate, I may be in the market for a new dentist, before my next cleaning in September. How does your dentist handle it? 




12 comments:

Bernie said...

That’s just terrible customer service!!! I understand that they have bills to pay and so on, but there is a right way to communicate it to the customers/patients!!

The last time I went to the Dentist, to which I loath (Dentists in general from a bad experience before braces) but LOVE this guy as he is patient with ME, it costs about $250 for a clean. Of this, I get most of it back with insurance, and I am out of pocket about $70; which I don't think is too bad! (The bulk of the cost is the 'Happy Gas' I have).

When paying the bill in a few weeks, I would be attaching a letter to it to the Dentist, outlining WHY it is you're leaving, and requesting the treatment files be transferred to the new Dentist!!

OldLady Of The Hills said...

I have had mucho extensive dental work---I mean, I could have bought a house on the Beach in Hawaii for all the money that has gone into my mouth. And Always, every Dentist I ever had, was very good about letting me pay "on time"....And it was much appreciated by me because it made such a difference in easing the pain of it all.
I think you are right to consider finding another Dentist, Judy.
My feeling about the receptionist?She represents the Dentist or Doctor she or he is working for, and if that is the Dentists policy---it certainly is not in keeping with the way our economy is functioning, especially today.

ancient one said...

I went to my dentist today also. I noticed that they have brochures in plain view saying they will work with you with monthly payments. Thankfully, I was able to pay the full amount due. We no longer have dental insurance and it is nice to know if you need it... they will work with you on the payments.

Arkansas Patti said...

Like ancient one, my dentist also has those brochures with interest free options if paid within 90 days.
I really could use a bridge to replace a molar but just don't have the $3000 necessary. Dentists really are super expensive.
If you have a nearby dental or hygienist school, check them out. Token dollar amounts for supervised work. They are slower working but I think more thorough.
I am sorry there aren't any here.

Granny Annie said...

Our dentist brother-in-law recently retired. Our dental bills were zip. Now we are going to have to join the world of dental fees and I cannot imagine what we will expect. We can't keep going to his office because he sold it to a general practice MD. Probably a good idea because he was an exceptionally good pain free dentist and will be missed by many.

Kay Dennison said...

I just added dental insurance to my medical package. I just happy that I can manage it!

Celia said...

My dentist gives you 10% off if you pay cash, check, or credit card on the day you finish. The only extension is putting it on your credit card.

robin andrea said...

I've worked the front desk at a dentist office many years ago. It's pretty easy to look at a patient's billing history to know if they will reliably pay. It's disappointing that they didn't do that. I hope you find a dentist you like and work out a payment plan that is acceptable to both of you.

Star said...

I am so lucky because I have dental coverage through work. If you like the dentist I would mention the way you were treated to her. She may not be aware how her office staff is approaching customers. If she is, then move on.

Peruby said...

What the receptionist said was completely out of line. No customer should be told that. She is in the wrong job (with that attitude I am not certain ANY job is right for her).

My dentists' secretary checks with my insurance company before new procedures. For items not covered (for example a bridge) they want payment up front. Sigh.

Thumper said...

Wow...I've never been to a dentist that wouldn't work with the patient on payments. I'm not sure what my current dentist would do since we have really good insurance and it hasn't been an issue, but the guy is so friendly and accommodating that I can't imagine he wouldn't have his staff figure something out...

LL Cool Joe said...

Oh yeah here in the UK you have to pay the whole bill there and then. But of course on the NHS dental work is much cheaper.