Aspen Dental — negligent/substandard 'care'
11/19/18 4:46 PM
PATIENT NAME/DOB: CHRYSTAL PHILLIPS 04/07/1977
RE: GRIEVANCE ON CLAIMS FILED/PAID TO ASPEN DENTAL & DR. CHERYL COGGINS
DATE OF INCIDENT: 10/12/2018
To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing today to explain what occurred with the above provider and why I am convinced that this company should not only return the funds received, but should probably be completely blacklisted by Humana, Inc. overall.
I will preface this by stating; I broke a tooth near the beginning of October. I used Facebook (a local group called What's Happening In Murfreesboro), to try to find a good dental provider that would actually pull teeth instead of trying to talk me into a bunch of cosmetic repair work that costs so much & I have not had a good history with. (I.e. previous root canal/crowns ‘going bad' and having to be drilled out and left open to drain due to infection). In this Facebook group, many people in my community had nothing but great things to say about Aspen Dental. I made the error of taking their advice without searching to ensure this was a quality provider.
I have a complete ‘Log' of ALL communications/issues that resulted from my uninformed decision to go there. The long and short of my grievance is, that during the X-Ray process, the girl taking the X-Rays caused numerous gouges/sores inside my mouth during this process. During the all around X-Ray, she had me place my teeth in the groove on the bite block & proceeded to push my head forward, resulting in my front left tooth cracking & breaking in half. When I told her that either my tooth or their bite block had broken, she informed me "that is just not possible". She also informed me during this time, that they were short-handed & she was helping with X-Rays. In hindsight, I now wonder if this individual was even trained/allowed to run an X-Ray machine legally in the State of Tennessee? When the X-Ray series was complete, I raised my head & held out my hand, as I knew exactly what had happened. Once I caught the tooth, I asked her if I should just throw it away? She indicated, ‘What?' I showed her my tooth & threw it in the garbage can located in the X-Ray area. When she realized what had happened, she ran from the X-Ray area up to the front for 8-10 minutes & went running past me again to the back. I could hear her telling someone that she needed help. Another tech came out and ran a whole entire additional set of X-Rays.
Following the debacle that occurred with the X-Ray, I waited 35-40 minutes for their ‘Doctor' Cheryl Coggins to come back to me. By this time, I was shaking; having an anxiety/panic attack that felt like a heart attack and was in tears. Their ‘Doctor' proceeded to grill me about why my teeth were so bad and how they had gotten that way. I only had an opportunity to first tell her that I did have incredible anxiety where dental care was concerned & feeling pushed into expensive fixes that I felt unnecessary - as well as my pain levels with dental care were the first part. She cut me off (**I also have a medical condition, Severe Acute Regurgitative IBS - that I have battled since I was 14 years of age. I am now 41, and was informed by the time I was 24 that there was very little to no enamel left on my teeth due to the severe bouts of vomiting I experienced, along with many hospitalizations - because of this medical condition.) Doctor Cheryl Coggins humiliated me, she made me feel like an idiot and I really feel like she was trying to belittle/demean me with the way she addressed my issues.
After she got the first part of the explanation, she told me the infection was too great to pull the tooth that day. (Upon viewing the log, you can ascertain that I did call two (2) days prior to my appointment & they failed to see if my insurance benefits were available before my appointment. So I walked out of there, no tooth pulled, no financial information & no follow-up appointment to address not only the initial issue of the broken molar - but now the broken front tooth that occurred as a result of their negligence. The ONLY reason I left was that Doctor Cheryl Coggins stated that the office manager had left for the day, but assured me - "She will call you first thing on Monday. She will have financial options for you, Mrs. Phillips. I will go Plan A, B, C…all the way to Z if I have to. We will take care of you."
That was an empty promise. I waited for two (2) weeks & two (2) days before their assistant manager; Rachel finally saw fit to return a phone call. I had left numerous voice mails for two weeks & two days…only when I did a bad review of the office online, did she call me back. As of this point, I had decided that due not only to their negligence & substandard care they had previously provided; but also because they did not keep their word in following up with me, that there was ‘No way in hell I was stepping foot back in that building to allow them to "care" for me." I indicated this to Rachel. She was very ‘sorry' and felt bad that I had experience this and as "sad that they couldn't make it right, but understood and agreed that I shouldn't have to go through not only the anxiety I now associate with them, but that I would indeed be proven a fool if I were to allow them to provide ANY kind of care to me or any of my family." I was fine with that ‘irresolution' because I was NOT willing to allow them to work on me any more.
Today, 11/19/2018, in the mail, I received a claim from Humana that actually has dental benefits subtracted for substandard care. This was after I did let Rachel know that I would not be returning, nor did I feel that I should be responsible for substandard/negligent care. I was under the impression that everyone would all ‘cut our losses, ' and that they would not be bold enough to charge for what could certainly be a civil lawsuit. (I did finally do my due diligence; sadly Aspen Dental nationwide have been the defendant(s) in multiple class action lawsuits for MANY of the shenanigans I experienced when I visited the Murfreesboro location. (The same person also owns the location in Smyrna, TN.) I do NOT think that ANY of my dental benefits should go to Aspen Dental for ANY reason. The entire experience was terrible and honestly they should not even be allowed to practice PERIOD. I am filing this grievance against their claim filing.
Enclosed, please find a copy (**rough and original - NOT altered to ensure spelling/grammar etc - was live as it was happening) of the log I made regarding ALL contacts/attempted communications with this office. Also, please find four (4) photographs taken on October 10, 2018. This is a series that I took attempting to get a good photo of the broken tooth that was my initial reason for the appointment, to see how bad it was. You can also clearly see, that while my front teeth were not gorgeous, the left front tooth is indeed intact and whole. Also enclosed please review an additional eight (8) photos, taken between October 12th (the date of service & injury) through today 11/19/2018 to show not only the damage initially done…. but also the break down of the damaged tooth due to crumbling. I feel certain that the crumbling has occurred due to the fact that the tooth was forcibly broken and left untreated. This experience has increased my mental anxiety and strain now regarding ALL dental work to be done & has destroyed my smile. I used to LOVE to smile; now I am ashamed to show my front teeth.
Please help me resolve this issue. I am available ANY time at [protected] or allie.[protected]@gmail.com for any clarifications, questions, recommendations, etc you may have for me regarding this experience. IF for any reason I do not reach a phone call before you hit my voicemail, please know that it is secure and ONLY I have access to it. You can feel confident leaving a message, knowing I will receive it and I will return any communications.
I do have available for you if you are interested, the letter to Humana (pretty much the same as the above complaint), activity log, BBB Complaint, and a plethora of screenshots with a variety of reviews. I also have photos on my phone of extended wait times during attempted resolution via phone calls.
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