The complaint has been investigated and
resolved to the customer's satisfactionResolved West Coast Dental — fraud/mal practice/unethical practices
resolved to the customer's satisfaction
My first visit to the west coast dental office located at 5162 whittier blvd los angeles, ca 90022 was on a friday in the middle of march 2008. Upon my arrival I checked in with the receptionist sam. Sam requested my medical card and in turn provided me with the necessary forms for me to fill out. I completed and returned the forms and given my medical card back. Sam then requested my driver’s license. I turned over my license. Sam did not return my license and soon after I was called in to see the dentist. I had x-rays, a check up, and the treatment consultant who was supposed to consult me on the condition of my teeth simply told me I had 19 cavities that needed to be filled. I had a few filled that same day. By the time I left that day the office was closed. When I went up front to make my next appointment I asked for my driver’s license back. The women up front at this hour, was the actual manager who claimed she could not locate my license and told me she had to assume the receptionist must have taken it home. She asked if I could come back on monday to pick it up. I clearly stated this was impossible and it is illegal to drive with out a license. I requested she call the receptionist and ask to bring back the license as not only it is illegal to drive with out a license but my identity is at risk. After a 10 minute wait, sam, the receptionist came back to the office to return my license. Without word she handed me back my license and walked away. This office failed to uphold the privacy of me as their patient. My identity has been at risk of theft since this date not excluding the risk of medical fraud. Who is to tell where she went with my driver’s license. They are responsible for their employee’s actions and to take another’s identity off the premises calls for serious reprimand. When I returned to my home and gave my self some time to allow my mouth to regain its feeling I called the dental office and left a message expressing my concern for their employee’s unethical behavior and the manager’s little remorse to retrieve my license. The office is liable for any confidentiality breach. This is a serious offense in its own. The removal of my license with the receptionist’s prior knowledge of my medical information puts at risk my identity and my medical account which people are known to commit fraud with this information at hand. I don’t have access to my dental account online and willing to go line item by line item to verify the services charged to denti-cal are legit if you wish.
A few weeks later I received a message indicating that my cleaning had been approved through medi-cal and I should make an appointment. This message had me questioning for the fact that a regular cleaning would usually not require prior approval. I called the office back to reconfirm the voicemail. I spoke with brenda. Brenda said I was approved for a deep cleaning. I informed her that I was never consulted on my last visit about a deep cleaning. She replied with “oh dr. Kim didn’t tell you?” I told her that dr. Kim, nor anyone at the office, consulted me on a deep cleaning. I ended up making the appointment for my deep cleaning despite the fact that I had no previous knowledge or consultation that I needed this treatment. I also scheduled, in the same day, the reaming fillings I needed completed. When I went to this second appointment my pockets in my mouth were never measured nor in my prior visit was this procedure performed. This type of consultation and measuring of the pockets are part of the process to obtaining approval of deep cleaning for patients. I find this questionable and believe this calls for a serious evaluation of the practices this office is performing. I believe the office is not providing thorough consultation nor following the general guidelines for obtaining approval for work..
Two months after the composites in teeth #7, 8, and 9 were done one of them fell out. I went in the next morning as an emergency visit to have the composite that fell out corrected. After waiting 3 hours I went up to ask for an estimated time I would be seen. The girl at the receptionist, whom was extremely rude, told me I was not actually an emergency patient and I will have to wait till the doctor. Was done with his other patients. I waited the entire day. I believe the office has more than enough patients than they can professionally and ethically provide dental and consultation services to. I believe that it was not the place of the receptionist to make judgment on whether my situation was an emergency or not. I feel this office is in clear discrimination of my insurance status. I would like an investigation of the office’s practices and in part the volume of patients they are serving and if this is evenly humanly possible. I don’t believe any doctor should rush through a procedure. The over booking that takes place in this office has caused poor quality in the doctor’s services with unreliable treatment and virtually no consultation services medical call is in turn billed for..
One month after the composite that was redone fell out again. I had to take another unpaid day off of work. This was the third time for the same composite. I need to mention here that I told on my previous visit that I may need two root canals. On this visit I asked for the treatment of the root canals to be explained to me. The girl working at that time, brenda, asked me in turn “don’t you work at a dental office?” I do in fact work at a dental office; however, I just started working in a dental office and as a medical insurance biller not a dental assistant who would be familiar with the details of a treatment. I shouldn’t have to explain to anyone what my profession is and the answers to my questions about major work should not be the basis as to how much information I will be told. Being that I was a patient there I complete explanation of the treatment is due.
Not sure of the exact date when I went in for the two root canals, I was told they were for tooth # 30 and 31. When I sat down with the dr. I was told 31 was not needed. He started on tooth 30. I assumed that he would fill it permanently after the procedure, however, uncertain because brenda never explained post root canal treatment to me. When the doctor was doing what had to be done or could be done in one day I went back to the receptionist. I asked him if I had to come back to fill it. He smirked and said “oh no, of course not. You need a crown. Brenda can help you with that.” I went over to brenda and before I had a chance to ask anything she said “ok so, total for all your work is $2, 000”. I was in shock. The emotional stress this moment caused me is unspeakable. I asked her how she came to this total and she said “well for the two crowns and core build up”. I asked her what was a core build up and she sighed and made it seem like explaining the treatment was a big inconvenience. I asked her why someone didn’t tell me that I would need a crown after the root canal so I could have been better prepared financially. I am a medical recipient and even if I weren’t I don’t know anyone who can afford that price. She said she didn’t know why no one ever consulted me on the fees and someone should have. I had no choice but to apply for two plans. I wasn’t approved for either of them. The dental office suggested I ask neighbors, friends and family to open a line of credit for me. As embarrassing as it was I brought my friends in to apply. All failed. I asked brenda what other option did I have left. She said to pay it in full. I told her that that would not be possible at this time. She said “well then there is nothing more that we can do”. I told her that because I don’t qualify for carecredit nor do my friends and family then are you telling me I can’t get treatment?” she replied with “no”. I left the office with no other choice but to stay with the temporary filling on #30. This could have all been avoided had the office done the correct thing and informed me of any out of pocket expenses I would be responsible for beforehand. I would have shopped around or gotten a second opinion or even better found a dental office that had an in-house credit terms. I am sure they billed medical for preventive services and which includes consultation. I never received such services.
November 26 2008 another front composite fell out and I went in to get it filled. While I was waiting in the dental chair the assistant came in and I told her that I was curious to know what my perio condition was such as big pockets. The assistant looked threw my whole chart for about 5 minutes and couldn’t find my pocket charting. I told her I had a feeling that this was never charted because I never heard them go through the process. The assistant then said that perhaps medical kept it. The doctor came in soon after this conversation. This time it was a male dr. That came in to take a look at my tooth that needed to be refilled once again. He rudely said “if this falls out again i’m not going to redo it”. Feeling intimidated by his tone and comment I didn’t know how to reply. He numbed me and redid it. When I got home I rinsed my mouth out and realized that he had made a big gap between my teeth. The gap was not there before and now there was no contact with my other tooth. When I flossed it there was no contact the gap was so big. I went back and asked if the dr. Can fix it. He said there was nothing to fix. I again showed him what I was talking about. When I questioned why he shaved off so much of my tooth he was extremely rude and made an unprofessional remark about how only god can give me nice teeth. All I asked was for him to make it the way it was. The composite was more on the lingual area and there was no reason for him to shave so much in between. I told him if knew he had to do more obvious shaving of my tooth why didn’t he consult with me before permanently damaging my tooth. I was very upset I could not even gather my words and thoughts to defend myself in this humiliating moment. My sister, nicole, was helpful in calling the office and contacting the regional manager teresa. After nicole had an hour long conversation with teresa and explain to her the experiences I have had since the beginning of the year, the regional manager called me at home and apologized for the way the dr. Acted towards me. She said she was astounded at my previous and current experiences. She asked me if I could come in 11/29/08 so another dr. Can look at my tooth that the male dr. Damaged and see if there is anything that they can do to fix the damage. I agreed.
November 29, 2009 as scheduled by the regional manager teresa I went to the dental office. When I went to sign in and the male receptionist I believe his name might have been david asked me if I had an appointment. I said yes and I told him the time and who had scheduled it for me. After about five minutes of waiting the male receptionist informed me that my appointment was not for the 29th but rather the prior day, the 28th. Please note, this is not the first they either overbooked or changed my appointments without my knowledge. I asked how can that be considering who made me the appointment was a regional manager. He said he didn’t know. I wanted to trust this dental office and their practice and this was my last chance I was giving them to reconcile before my final decision to make a complaint. I left the office and went home after the receptionist made it clear I had no appointment scheduled. The regional manager had given me her cell phone number in our conversation in case of any problems. I could call her. I left her a message thanking her for trying to make me that appointment but her office still could not help me and sent me away telling me I had no appointment and that it was schedule for the prior day. I also informed her that I would be making a complaint. About five minutes later I received a call from the male receptionist at west coast dental apologizing for the mix up he had received a call from the regional manager that I in fact did have the appointment for that day and not the day before. By this point, I was so fed up with the poor communication at this office, unethical practices of the doctors and billing department and careless inconsiderate mistakes.
I finally went online to look up other providers. I found a new dentist, a great one in fact. On my first visit they informed me that medical in fact does cover some type of crown and medical will cover the core build up. Those services I was told I was responsible for at west coast dental in that west coast dental told me medical did not cover the cost whatsoever.
I feel coned, deceived, and discriminated against in the ways west coast dental tried to take my money. I was taken advantage of and in the process lost part of my tooth. I don’t have money to correct the tooth myself. I don’t have the means to take them to small court. I believe west coast practices need to be investigated further. I hope matters will be addressed appropriately.
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