Report: #515171

Complaint Review: Elizabeth Park, DDS - Carson City Nevada

  • Submitted:
  • Updated:
  • Reported By: Justdoit — Reno Nevada U.S.A.
  • Elizabeth Park, DDS 501 S Division Street Carson City, Nevada United States of America

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My medical/dental insurance became effective in March 2009. I went thru the phone directory and located a dentist close to my home. I have had dental service for most of my adult life and my teeth and gums are in excellent shape.

I called the office of Dr Elizabeth Park, DDS, told them my situation and asked for a dental cleaning. It was scheduled for a couple weeks later.

I arrived early to completed the insurance forms as requested. At that time, no one discussed any services with me. I waited 30 minutes after my appointment was scheduled, and I asked the clerk, "I do have an appointment, don't I?" She said the Dr was working on an emergency and would be with me shortly.

Finally, I was taken to an exam chair and they began doing x-rays. I wasn't concerned because I knew that my insurance included the usual x-rays. I don't know the exact number that were taken, but it was more than had ever been done at one time in my whole life.

The DR came in and began examining my teeth. After 10 minutes, she said, "Looks pretty good. We'll get you in for a cleaning in a few weeks."

I said, "Hold on. That's what I expected today. That's what I asked for when I made the appointment."

At this point, an hour had passed and I had other commitments that evening. The Dr did offer to do the cleaning but I could not do it at that time. It was scheduled for several weeks later.

As I was leaving, I was puzzled to be called into her accountant's office to settle my bill.

My insurance plan had two types of dental coverage. One involves the usual dental services and there is no charge for receiving them. The second is for specialized services which I had determined I would not need.

Seems that it is the customary practice for Dr Park's staff to deliver services of both kinds without informing the patient of what they were doing. In my situation, I had bite wing x-rays taken and they were covered by my plan. They also included x-rays of a type I had never had done before and they were included in the specialized services. The additional charge was around $60.

I objected to the accountant and asked for time to investigate the services on my plan and what the Dr had delivered.

After clarifying my insurance coverage, it was clear to me that Dr Park and her staff had maximized every possible charge that could have been made for my visit.

Immediately, I called and canceled my appointment with Dr Park. I also told her staff that my prior bill needed to be adjusted.

Then, I called my old dentist, 200 miles away, and discussed what had happened with this new dentist and made an appointment for the following week.

When I was in his chair, he asked, What did they say the reason was?

Well, that's exactly the issue, no one said anything. I felt like a used car pulled onto a lube rack. The service began, and the fact that I didn't want an oil change was never considered.

I got it anyway!

So, here we are several months later. Dr Park delivered services I never asked for. She billed me for items she knew were not covered by my insurance plan.

And now she has an even bigger issue. What she did discouraged me from continuing to do business with her, so those x-rays will never be used.

Of course, I continued to be billed by Dr Park's office for services I did not request.

Eventually, I wrote a letter to Dr Park, expressing concern that this was a situation that ought to go away as soon as possible. Suggesting that her professional reputation was at stake here, not to mention that it would be great customer service.

She actually responded with a personal letter and a ton of supporting paperwork, asserting that my services in the past may have not been fully comprehensive, and of course, her's were.

Referencing ADA guidelines from 2004, she asserted that she did everything according to the policies prescribed for her profession, and that for her to write off such a small amount would be illegal.

Last week, I discovered that in fact she did write-off the amount by sending it to a collection agency. Immediately, I called the agency, and as a courtesy, informed them of the dispute that surrounded this account.

Of course, operator #33 at Collection Service of Nevada wasn't really interested in hearing from me, except if I was making payment arrangements. Today, barely 10 days later, I receive another notice from the collection agency.

To summarize my complaint.

I requested a cleaning from Dr Park. Instead, I got every possible x-ray used in the dental world, and none of these premium dental services were discussed with me in advance and certainly not authorized by me.

As I sought to resolve the issue, Dr Park decided her internal office policy of getting maximum dollars from the insurance company was the best policy.

And rather than fully resolve this questionable account issue with me, Dr Park sells it to a collection agency. If only all life issues were as simple to dispose of.

Well, Dr Park, looks to me as if the price of your professional reputation now revolves around a dispute over $60. How sad it's come to this.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 10/26/2009 03:35 PM and is a permanent record located here: https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/elizabeth-park-dds/carson-city-nevada-89703/elizabeth-park-dds-dentist-says-i-dont-clean-teeth-without-doing-x-rays-first-carso-515171. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#10 Consumer Comment


AUTHOR: Jeanski - (U.S.A.)

POSTED: Thursday, November 19, 2009

Stacey - thanks for the advice about AFLAC. I just sent off for the info packet. This might be a great solution to my problem!

BTW.... you and I tend to respond to a lot of the same posts and I like your candor :-)

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#9 Consumer Comment


AUTHOR: Stacey - (U.S.A.)

POSTED: Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thanks for being so kind to our responses - You are indeed a true lady

Here is an idea - Get AFLAC dental - I have it and it is great!!!! $30.00 a month and they will pay quickly and cover pretty much anything - Take care of those teeth!!!

Hope you have a great holiday season!

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#8 Author of original report

What's your real issue, Jake?

AUTHOR: Justdoit - (USA)

POSTED: Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Let me say this as plain as I can.

My teeth are in "excellent" shape and so are my gums. I'm over 60 yrs old. I've sat in more than a couple dentist chairs, so this was not my 1st rodeo. You keep telling me what I ought to have done, or perhaps what you would have done.

Also, I'm the only person I know my age who doesn't not have a boatload of prescriptions. I have zero. As one might guess, I have a very proactive relationship with my health care providers. I ask lots of questions and most can't be answered on the spot by most doctors.

Another poster mentioned how proactive Dr Park was for what she had done for me. My experience with proactive Drs is considerably different than what happeneing with Dr Park. If she spent ten minutes with me, I'd be surprised. After a bit of poking, she said let's schedule you for a cleaning. That's when I finally spoke up cause I wasn't getting what I had booked the appointment for.

I was with my last dentist for over 15 yrs. We discussed the latest advances in dental technology, and he often referred me to journal articles relating to what we discussed. "All" of my dentist visits were routine cleanings. At that time, my insurance paid for two cleanings per year, and I got two per year. "Never" paid a dime out of my pocket.

When I first called Dr Park's office, I mentioned all of this, and I fully expected a cleaning "only". When they began doing x-rays, I did mention it. "This is just routine," the technician told me. Hmmm, what was there to discuss? Routine x-rays were covered.

Just so you know, Jake. I've "never" had a toothache in my while life. So why you keep busting my chops is a mystery to me. If you have something useful to say about this situation without including me, please share it.

Calling me ignorant and telling me what "I ought to have done" is hardly helpful. This is all history now.

Re "Dictate treatment"..what's with that? No doctor has ever dictated to me what my treatment ought to me. I've rejected treatment in the past and I've sought alternative treatment. Perhaps that's why my health is more like that of a healthy 30 year old. Most often, I tell the doctors what I want such as testing and the like. Most comply and welcome the two-way dialogue.

I suppose in the past, I've dealt with a much more professional class of doctors. Ones who screened patients for such things before they ever sat in a dental chair and who was willing to discuss such matters with their patients as if it was a collaborative process.

I wasn't nearly as fortunate this time.
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#7 Consumer Comment

To Stacey and Susan

AUTHOR: Jeanski - (U.S.A.)

POSTED: Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ladies, thank you for constructive advice. But I DID ask the dentist about gum disease because I'm 52 and have already had some experience with this. He said I didn't have it yet but was "at risk". OK, I can handle that. Bad teeth run in the family and, although I take impeccable care of my teeth and follow all the rules, I know that dental problems are in my future. But doesn't it make sense that a regular cleaning (which I can afford) is better than no cleaning at all? I can't imagine any dentist turning me down.

As for the OP, I checked my insurance plan and it only pays for a full mouth x-ray every 5 years. I think, if I remember correctly, that the bite wings are taken at every cleaning (every 6 months) and are covered by most insurance plans. I've only had three full-mouth series that I recall, and they were all done prior to needing major work. I seem to recall that I was informed about it too, prior to the work, so I could make sure my insurance covered it.


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#6 Consumer Comment

Still Sat There and Claim to Have Not Realized What you Were Getting

AUTHOR: Jake - (U.S.A.)

POSTED: Wednesday, November 18, 2009
So you were told you were getting xrays, received them and then complain that they are not covered. Still the same issue again and again. You could have stood up and left, you could have asked for a confirmation of coverage. You could have asked if they were necessary for the sake of a cleaning. You did not. You had them and were told to be scheduled for a cleaning. You then choose to complain about the doctor. Hope you got a rant on here about the crappy coverage you have that will not play for a full mouth series of xrays whenever seeing a new dentist. and another for the prior doctor who "did what you wanted". Awesome! A dentist that lets the patient dictate treatment. Again, had something been missed or you developed a toothache on one of those teeth that WOULD NOT have been visible in the few xrays that ARE covered under your policy, you would have been filing one of those reports about how "all the dentists did was bill my insurance for stuff that was covered at 100% but never bothered to evaluate the rest of my mouth".
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#5 Consumer Comment

Uh huh

AUTHOR: Stacey - (U.S.A.)

POSTED: Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Every NEW dentist I have visited took x-rays before any work was done to determine the condition of my teeth usually a full mouth set

That is called proactive care - don't like it then don't go.  But be prepared that any Dentist you see will require the same x-rays unless you can get the x-rays from your old dentist provided they are not older than 2 years

NOT a rip off - the Dentist is doing his/her job to ensure that you get the best dental care

As for the person who stated that her Dentist told her she needed periodontal cleaning - Sounds like you have gum disease and I speak from experience - NO I do not work for a Dentist or Periodontist I just had to have major dental surgery because I neglected my teeth - The money spent to preserve your teeth will save you alot more in the long run

Good luck

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#4 Author of original report

Ignorant, huh? You sound like a dentist doing CYA!

AUTHOR: Justdoit - (USA)

POSTED: Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Medical and dental insurance is quickly becoming a nightmare. I'm betting that most consumers are "ignorant" of vast parts of their coverage. That's why you have such a touch time getting them on the phone to ask a question about your coverage.

My coverage was chosen because I could get the usual services I expected and received in the past without any additional fees. For dental, I had no deductible or copay. That was what I wanted. In case no one has noticed, this economy is in the toilet. I have other things I'd rather spend cash on besides useless x-rays, and if this dentist had done only what my prior dentist had done, I'd be doing something else now instead of rehashing this kind of nonsense.

I suggest this dentist had other options, and the size of the insurance claim was the highest priority. My prior dental records were available. My prior dentist says he ships them out on a regular basic every week.

I'm used to having a collaborative relationship with the professionals around me. Looks as if this economy is making all that a lot more difficult. So Jake, I hope you never get squeezed because you know too little or some service provider decides to give you what they think you need instead of what you ask for.
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#3 Consumer Comment


AUTHOR: Susan - (U.S.A.)

POSTED: Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Justdoit, Jake gave you an excellent answer.

Jeanski, maybe try another dentist for a second opinion.  Odds are they will say the same thing.

A Periodontal Cleaning means you have gum disease.  If I were you, I would pay for that cleaning and worry about the crown later. 

Think about it, The crown would be a waste of money if your teeth fall out because of gum disease wouldn't it? 

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#2 Consumer Suggestion


AUTHOR: Jeanski - (U.S.A.)

POSTED: Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I looked up the ADA code of ethics because I'm facing a somewhat similar situation.  I think this might help: 

5.B.6. UNNECESSARY SERVICES. A dentist who recommends and performs unnecessary dental services or procedures is engaged in unethical conduct.

Seems you could make a case that the extra xrays were unnecessary and not part of the "contract" (i.e., you made an appt for a cleaning, not full exam).

My dentist wants to do one of those periodontal cleanings, when all I asked for was a regular cleaning. He wants to do the periodontal in preparation for crown work. But I will be unemployed soon, and won't be able to pay for the crown out of pocket, so no point in spending the extra $$ for the perio cleaning right?  So I want to take my chances and just get the regular cleaning. He won't do it....

I'd be interested in hearing if you take any further action.

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#1 Consumer Comment

Unfortunately most people are this ignorant

AUTHOR: Jake - (U.S.A.)

POSTED: Tuesday, November 17, 2009
A dentist should not clean a patient's teeth unless they have a current FULL set of xrays. If they do not have radiographic evidence and fail to diagnose an issue, I guarantee you, you would be the first one on here complaining about how you had your teeth cleaned but were not told you had an abcess or decay. I love it when a layperson tells an office that their teeth and gums are "fine". I suppose you went to dental school and have xray vision. It is not the dental office's job to explain your insurance to you. You consented to treatment by sitting in the chair. You knew the xrays were being taken. You claim to have not worried because you "knew" your plan covered xrays, yet apparently you did not know the difference between a full mouth series and a set of bite wings. And since you failed to ask, you are responsible for the cost of them. The office did what is standard operating procedure. Dental coverage IS NOT insurance, it is an assistance plan. It does not cover everything with the exception of a copay. It has deductibles, copays and substantial out of pocket expenses. If people unerstood their coverage, they would be less likely to attack an office doing the right thing and worry more about why their employer got such crappy coverage
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