Friday, May 18, 2012

Bloomberg's story about private equity and dental abuses has legs

The Bloomberg story has really struck a nerve (I'm sure the bad guys will be complaining that the press is engaged in over-treatment and excessive coverage--well, at least you aren't strapped down in a papoose board as the press sheds some sunlight on harm being caused to kids).  It will be interesting to see which dentists with a conscience and a spine will step up and blow the whistle.  

I've re-posted some of the comments to the Bloomberg story below.

The story was also linked at these sites:

Comments posted on Bloomberg's site:
I practiced dentistry for the better part of 25 years as a dedicated, post grad educated dental hygienist.  The rationalized fraud at all levels was astonishing--and is massive.  Private practice, public health dentistry... it's all the same.  Finally, I could not stomach the unethical behavior any longer, and retired to work in health education.  The dental profession rips off its employees, overcharges patients regularly, uses "fear" words to pressure patients into accepting questionable treatment.  If as an auxiliary you do not go along with the "selling" of the treatment plan, the dentist gets rid of you.  There is plenty of need in the community, appallingly so, but organized dentistry is, believe me, all about the money.
As a physician, I can barely count the egregious breaches of practice standards enumerated here.  Can you say "malpractice" (violation of the standard of care)?  How about assault (physical harm without consent)?  I graduated with debts and still recall what an instructor told me, "be honest, do good, communicate with the patient; the income will follow".  Words to live by, they've served me well.
So long as there are lightly (or none at all) monitored government (or corporate) coverage programs, abuse will follow.  Student debt is not a factor here; greed is.  Licensing has a purpose, one of which is to protect the public from harm from practitioners like these.  Just because one in two Americans has unmet dental needs, doesn't excuse these types of actions in the name of public health.  I'd say shame on them, but it is obvious they have no shame. 

It doesn't sound like appropriate treatment even with consent.  I am sure that parents even, if poor, don't intend to have their children held down in pain while they have teeth pulled.  If that were my child, I would be absolutely livid.  My children don't need medical care of any kind in a school setting.  I take them to the doctor or dentist as needed or recommended.  For those who can't afford to take their children in, I can understand, but they should still be present to ensure that propper care is taken.  Lesson learned, if my children have any event like this at school, I will be keeping them home to avoid any confusion.
Govt. funded healthcare (Medicaid) = minimal oversight.  For-profit insurers have virtually nil provider fraud, since they are reluctant to pay for anything at all.
This country is slipping into chaos.

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