I was referred to Walled Lake Dental (sold to Sunny Smiles Dental later)to have cosmetic work done on my teeth from the results of an auto accident years earlier. After my examination with Dr. Markum (Exellent dentist) it was determined that I would have to have dental implants on my 2 front teeth. (2004) Seeing that this was a direct result from an auto accident I had 100 % coverage, in addition to the full dental coverage my employer provided.
Dr. Markum and his staff understood this and agreed to take me on as a patient and also understood how they would have to bill my insurance carriers. First they would need to bill my primary dental and whatever was rejected would go to Citizens Insurance under the auto claim for complete payment.
During this process the office was sold to Sunny Smiles Dental. Once Sunny Smiles Dental took over it wasn't long before the staff quit do to the working conditions and I soon looked for another dentist to complete the dental implants. After a basic examination, which they demanded I have again...even though they had complete X-Rays of my mouth from 6 months prior...they told me I had an impacted molar that MUST come out!
I informed them that it did not bother me and until it did I was not going to have the extraction. Dr. Sommer (sp?) insisted that I have it and I refused. About a month later I get a phone call from the office confirming my appt for the extraction! I informed them again that I did not want or agree to any appt. After that I did not visit this office again. But this really isn't the issue, just a prelude to how they do business.
About 3 yrs later I begin receiving emails from "Sherry" at Sunny Smiles dental asking me about my insurance and how to bill it.
All of this info was provided to them when they bought the office numerous times by myself and the previous staff. I informed "Sherry" that she needed to send the bills to my primary dental first and then the remainder of the balance to Citizens. She claimed to understand and the call ended. About 6 months go by and I start receiving bills in the mail for $3400.00 dollars. I call the office again and inform "Sherry" that I am not responsible for the bills and all they need to do is bill correctly and they will be paid in full!
Again, this is an auto accident claim that is covered 100% in addition to my primary dental. She agrees again yet every month I get a statement asking me to pay $3400.00. Each time I get a bill I call.... The last time I call I inform "Sherry" again on how to bill the account...she puts me on hold and comes back and say's the Dr. Sommer say's that I HAVE to pay them and I can go collect from my insurance.
I inform her that will not happen and hang up. A few months go by and I get a letter from a COLLECTION AGENCY demanding payment. I called the collection agency immediatly and informed them exactly what happened and they seemed a bit surprised to have my case in their laps.
Regardless the collection process continues. Ultimatley I get a knock on my door and I am served with papers that I am being sued directly by Sunny Smiles for the $3400.00! Oh, and the collection agency reported this debt to all 3 major credit bureaus and it has damaged my credit.
First court date - Settlement Conference - I show up on time and prepared with a former staffer from Walled Lake Dental who knew all about my claim. I also have all the bills that were paid in full to the other dentists the completed my implants. (they all billed properly) They send an unprepared guy who has no idea about the case and wants me to bring him up to speed before we go in to see the judge. Yeah, right!
I am going to help him! I inform the judge on the whole case and why I should not be responsible and their representation can only reply with, "Well your Honor, ultimately the patient is respnsible".... Maybe if this were a different case, but not under the agreement I had with Walled Laked Dental.
So the judge asks us to go to a conference room and try to figure it out. After about 5 minutes of listening to myself and the former staffer their rep just stands up and leaves and says he has to get some more info.
Second court date - Settlement Conference - This time the attorney who owns the law firm shows up and has some bills and other documentation with him. He hands me all this like I am supposed to be intimadated...half of the paperwork was what I had provided to them the previous court case!
The other half is for bills totalling $1000.00 that they billed incorrectly. They sent them to Citizens first, which they were told not to do, and of course Citizens rejected them and instructed them to bill my primary dental first. (They NEVER did this) Still I am trying to cooperate with their attorney and I said I would see if I could get Citizens to pay the $1000.00 because they did attempt to bill it, albeit incorrectly.
The judge agrees to adjourn the case another month to see if this will work. I inform the judge and the attorney that I want to see the rest of the bills they are claiming I owe. (I don't think I will ever see them because they don't have them)
We are scheduled for another settlement conference next month. Since the last court date they have sent me my patient log of all my visits to that office. I assume this is because I asked to see the rest of the bills. A patient log is not proof of billing.
Also in this stack of papers is my registration form that I initially completed during my first appt. This is a document they submittted to the court as evidence. They must have not looked at it closely because if they had they would clearly have seen that I DID NOT SIGN the part that states I understand I am responsible for anything not paid by insurance.
When I registered at that office I informed them that I would not sign it because I am not responsible and I have 100% coverage from the auto claim. Also, in thes documents were the improper billing statement to Citizens that were denied because they did not send them to my primary dental first, and at the bottom of the form it say's, "Providers are advised to refrain from balance billing and/or pursuing collections against the patient. Please call ***-***-**** for payment resolution". Which they did not do! How clear can I and the claim form be. Do your job and you will get paid!
So as I await my third court date I wonder how this will turn out....My credit is damaged, I applied for credit with a motorcycle dealer and even though I was approved it was for an astronimically high interest rate which prevented me for going thru with it. I wonder if I have a claim against them for monatary damages because of what they have put me thru and what they did to my credit?
I would really think about going to this dental office. They will recommend unnecesary extractions and then not bill it correctly and screw you with the bill.
Any City, Michigan