W.B. Perkinson Jr, DDS Complaint - Local Dentist all about the $, does not care about patients

Review by kccruzan on 2007-01-17
MECHANICSVILLE, VIRGINIA -- I have been a life time patient with this practice. Specifically for the last 10 years with Dr. Roper. My son recently went to Dr. Roper with complaints of sore gums. He was informed he needed to have all 4 wisdom teeth out. They set up an appointment for over a month later(which they said was the soonest they could do the surgery). The day before my son's surgery appointment, I received a phone call from Dr. Roper's office confirming the appointment. Then asked what I planned to pay them at the appointment. My estimated patient responsiblity was $676. I said I planned to pay $200 at the appointment and the remainder to be paid off prior to 90 days. They replied they wanted $300. I said I couldn't do that and Dr. Roper's office immediately cancelled my son's surgery appointment for the following morning.They let me know there was no room for negotiation. I would like to point out I do not owe this office any money and again I have been a long time patient as well as my husband and 4 children. If I were a new patient or owed them money for prior services, I could understand them not wanting to work with me, but that simply is not the case. I reviewed the Treatment plan they provided stating my estimated Patient Portion($676) as well as my Estimated Insurance portion($651). The last paragraph on this form states:
This is not to be considered a guarantee of payment, and any remaining balance after you carrier has processed the claim is the sole responsibility of the patient. All outstanding balances over 90 days are subject to a service charge of 1 1/2% per month, or 18% annually. I then stated if that is how they treated their patients, I would like to pick up my medical records and I would find another dentist. They said, sure, you can come pick up your records. I said I find it hard to believe you would want to lose long time patients over $100. They could have cared less!!!

I tried to appeal to the Practice Administrator, which he promply replied: I will look into this ASAP. Sorry this has occurred. You are right we do not want to lose long time patients. I will be back in touch asap. The practice admin then sent me another email stating: Dr. Roper said he would respond to you and I hope everything works out. Followed by an email from Dr. Roper which states:

It is with sadness that I read of your desire to seek treatment elsewhere. Over the years, unfortunately, we have had to develop a more stringent collection protocol. It has never been our policy to put our patients in a financial hardship, and over extending credit is a very quick for people to get in over their heads. I hope that you can understand where our decisions have come from and that this is not personal.

Again, I am sorry about your decision.

Erik Roper

So, apparently the Practice Admin and the Physicians in this group do not agree on how to work with their patients. I do not feel I was given any other choice than to seek services elsewhere since they refused to see my son. I strongly feel it is unethical to allow a patient to suffer for over a month while waiting for their appointment, only to be cancelled the day before. Now my son has to continue to endure the pain he has been in until I can find another dentist and get an appointment.
Comments:10 Replies - Latest reply on 2007-01-20
Posted by tnchuck100 on 2007-01-17:
Medical profession is BUSINESS FIRST, patient care is secondary. The statement "I hope that you can understand where our decisions have come from and that this is not personal." is totally asinine. Your relationship with your doctor is, indeed, personal. If you were a 10 year patient and treated you this way he is a total jerk!
Posted by yoke on 2007-01-17:
Are you sure the e-mail came from the Dr himself? Anyone in his office could have sent it signing his name. If I were you I would contact the dr and speak to him in person. Let him know how you feel and how disappointed you are in his office. When I had a problem in my sons dr's office about a bill (that was paid in full) and the billing clerk would made it sound like her answer was final I made an appointment to see the dr and talked to her about my concern. She apoligized for the way the billing clerk took care of the situation and agreed that the amount in question was already paid for in full. Sometimes dr's don't really know what is going on in the front office, they should, but some don't.
Posted by N. on 2007-01-17:
Our family gave 5 years of business to a local dentist in Fredericksburg, VA. We always carried double insurance coverage. Then it happened that my hubby's work changed insurance to a company they were not under contract with. They felt this allowed them to charge us the usual fee even though they were part of the secondary insurance. So that is how they treated us and they even made us pay up front for all charges and send in our receipt for reimbursement from both insurances. We never carried a balance with them ever. So we found another dentist who we think is much better and doesn't keep us waiting for 40 minutes past the appt time.
Posted by NeveragainAmazon on 2007-01-17:
I have to disagree with TnChuck,
"Medical profession is BUSINESS FIRST, patient care is secondary." I work in the Clinical arena of Health Care. The billing Department and the Clinical setting of any Health Care System are two different entities. I do not know the Billing Offices practices, but I can assure you that Care is not related to the monetary aggreement fulfilled with the billing Department. I am a professional and I pride myself in the care that I give every patient that I encounter. So, to say that patient Care is secondary is unfair to those of us involved in that care.
Posted by kccruzan on 2007-01-18:
Thank you for replying and supporting me. I am glad to see most of you agree with my assessment. This definitely was the physician, himself. I have been a patient of this physician for 10 years, but a patient of the practice for 25. Maybe this helps the last one to comment understand how incredible this was to be treated this way. Again, I did not owe them any money. I have since been approached by others that go to that practice as well and they have told me that they have had work done recently and was never asked for a cent up front. I think it all boils down to the physician and what they are willing or not willing to do.
Posted by kccruzan on 2007-01-18:
One more side note. My husband went to pick up our dental records and xrays yesterday. They would only give us the x-rays. Per the American Dental Association, the ethical statements subscribed to by the profession place the patient’s welfare above any other consideration. I definitely do not feel my son’s welfare was above any other consideration. I also feel my HIPAA rights have been violated by this office not providing me with my dental records that I had requested. I made this request on 1/15/07 when they cancelled my son’s appointment. I talked with the office manager directly. Her name is Jennifer and asked for my entire family’s medical records and X-rays. She stated I could pick them up on 1/17/07. My husband had to take the time away from his job to go and get these records only to be told the X-rays were all he could have. After further investigation with the ADA, I have been told that under the ADA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct that a dentist has the ethical obligation on request of either the patient or the patient’s new dentist to furnish, either gratuitously or for nominal cost, such dental records or copies or summaries of them, including dental X-rays or copies of them, as will be beneficial for the future treatment of that patient. SO, I feel my HIPAA rights were violated as well I feel this doctor is unethical because he definitely didn't put my son's welfare first.
Posted by tnchuck100 on 2007-01-18:
NeveragainAmazon, you need to look beyond the edge of your own sandbox. I speak from experience. I realize not every doctor fits this but a vast majority do.
Posted by NeveragainAmazon on 2007-01-19:
Tnchuck, I do not doubt the "experience" you speak of, but what I do doubt is the arrogance by which you speak! I would like to see the statistics that back-up your claim that the vast majority of Health Care Professionals chose that route solely for the monetary aspect of the profession. My point being, is that it is unfair for you to lump everyone in the same category. I, also, do not know of any business that does not expect payment at the time the services are rendered. What makes a Health Care service any different?
Posted by tnchuck100 on 2007-01-19:
NeveragainAmazon, I admit, "vast majority" was out of line. I have no hard statistics. But, I speak not in arrogance but in frustration.
Posted by NeveragainAmazon on 2007-01-20:
Tnchuck, I accept your response, but one thing you must know, is that there are two perspectives to the term frustration in this matter.

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