After 20+ years at Crystal Springs Dental (AKA Thrasher's Corner Dental) our family of 5 is leaving! Why? Because we have finally gotten tired of the lack of loyalty to their customers over the almighty dollar! Over the years there have been many instances where they have consistently charged over and above what the insurance company would cover, thus leaving us with higher and higher out of pocket expenses. Now, you might say, this is happening everywhere. Maybe. But let me tell you about the straw that broke the camels back! My 10 yr old daughter had a loose tooth that would not come out, and had been causing her a great deal of pain for some time. While in for her routine cleaning, I told Dr. Kashiwa about it. She said that the tooth was most likely almost or completely out, but wedged between the other teeth, and just needed a strong arm to pull it - and she would be happy to do so. I asked her (now being savvy about these things) how much that would cost me. She said, "Oh, no more than $25-$30 more than your insurance would cover." I then asked the technician to double check this on the computer (because, as I've said, I've gotten savvy about these things). The technician went away, came back and said,"Yup, $30." Ok, I said, go ahead with pulling the loose tooth. I'd rather you do it than go home and cause my daughter more pain with my fighting over it - for $30! So, she twisted, and pulled, and the tooth popped out - in about 5 seconds flat! It turned out to have been completely detached at the root, and just wedged in-between the other teeth, as expected. I paid the $30 on the spot.
Low and behold, much to my surprise, I get a bill charging about $200 for the tooth "extraction". My insurance paid $100, leaving me with a $93 bill! And, since I'd already paid $30, I now owed the Dentists ANOTHER $63!!! That's THREE TIMES more OUT OF POCKET than they told me. When I respectfully told the accountant that the dentist had quoted me another price, she all but called me a liar - telling me that the dentists and technicians NEVER quote prices to the patients. In fact, they weren't allowed to. Well, I asked her to check with Dr. Kashiwa, feeling sure that Dr. Patti would back me up (after all, we had a 20 year relationship built on mutual respect and trust). Instead, Dr. Patti back-peddled and said (according to the accountant) that she didn't remember quoting me a price of $30, or much about the conversation at all. I was shocked. Then, the accountant said that I had signed an agreement stating that I would pay whatever they charged, without disputing the charges, so I was obligated to pay. I finally gave up, saying that I thought this was very wrong, but that I would pay. I also asked the accountant to let Dr. Kashiwa know that we would be leaving her practice, unless she would like to reach out to us and discuss this issue further with us. But, we did not want to leave without a chance to discuss it with her personally.
FYI, I mentioned the $93 price to my 10 yr old daughter (who only seems to deal in absolutes). She was visibly shaken that someone she respected and looked up to would not be completely honest. Her response, "But she said $30, mom." Up to that my point I had been starting to doubt myself. After that, I realized, it might be time to take my family elsewhere for our dental needs; somewhere that integrity, loyalty and honesty are prized about money and the bottom line.
To this date, we have not heard from Dr. Patti, even after letting then know that we will be ordering our dental records to send to another clinic. This saddens us. But I guess, for them, IT'S NOT PERSONAL, IT'S JUST BUSINESS!