I had been a 10 year patient at Dr. Pearl Burns? office. I had chosen to forego my insurance benefits and had paid 100% out-of-pocket for all my cleaning and dental visits because I believed that Dr. Burns cared for the patient, not just the payment.
Because I was always impressed with Dr. Burns, I decided to make an appointment for my 11 year old son. I was changing his dentist because I thought he was now old enough to start seeing her. I called to schedule an appointment and provided his insurance information. I received a phone call from Dr. Burns? account payable clerk and was surprised to learn that his insurance was unacceptable, not because of the insurance policy, but because I?m divorced and his insurance is under his father?s (my ex-husband) policy.
Dr. Burns? account payable clerk told me ?they don?t like to get involved in that? as if I and my son are undesirable due to my divorce status. As a divorced parent, I found this statement offensive and discriminatory against me. The accounts payable clerk also stated that this was some strange amalgamation of HIPPA guidelines along with office policy. I find it hard to believe that HIPPA prohibits this since his current dentist and primary physician both accept his insurance under his father?s policy.
I was upset when I was told that the insurance was unacceptable because I?m divorced and no consideration to my 10 year relationship was given. I therefore requested my dental records and my appointments to be canceled. I had an appointment for July 11, 2007 for a cleaning (as I had an examine in March and went every four months for a cleaning). After an hour, I called the office and requested that I still have a cleaning.
Instead of receiving a phone call back, I received a letter from Dr. Burns terminating our patient/doctor relationship. Dr. Burns never called me or discussed what transpired. Instead of being thanked for bringing a new patient, I was shunned and dismissed.
Pros: Sent a nice letter terminating relationship but seeing me in case of emergency through July 21, 2007
Cons: Long-term relationship doesn't matter as long as payment is made