Penn Dental School Experiences
I'm wondering if anyone else has had an experience like this at the Penn Dental School.
I had a procedure done to both sides of my mouth, which was pre-certified by my insurance company. Shortly after that, I got a bill from Penn Dental for half the cost of the procedure. This was in March of 2009.
When I questioned Penn Dental about it, they said that the insurance company was claiming that I'd had the procedure done twice on one side of my mouth, not once on both sides, and they weren't covering what they were claiming was the second procedure done in the same area. Penn Dental told me I had to resolve it with the insurance company because they'd sent the insurance company the correct information. They told me that they, Penn Dental, couldn't get any information from my insurance company because of privacy and confidentiality laws.
I filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Insurance Department against my insurance company, saying that they're rejecting Penn Dental's records stating that I had this procedure done once, on both sides of my mouth. The Insurance Department investigated, then wrote to me, saying that my insurance company had given them documentation showing that Penn Dental had sent them notification in writing that I'd had the procedure done twice on one side of my mouth. The mistake was Penn Dental's, not the insurance company's.
This was in late August. By now it had been dragging on, I was getting run-around from Penn Dental's insurance office, and I kept getting statements from Penn Dental showing the open balance. I'm concerned that it's affecting my credit rating.
I've been back and forth, first with Keith Wells, then with Joseph Wolk, in Penn Dental's insurance office. I've sent them emails and written documentation, and in September, when I'd received yet another bill in the mail (after repeatedly trying to get Penn Dental to resolve the matter), I hand-delivered an envelope explaining everything (and including the documentation from the state Insurance Department) to Joseph Wolk. I also emailed Rachel Dworak, the "patient advocate" there. She replied that she would work with Keith Wells about the error. I also CC'd a copy of my email to Penn Dental's Dean, Denis F. Kinane, and of course, got no reply from him.
I had no reply from anyone at Penn Dental after that, and then, a few days ago, got another statement for the open balance. I sent another group email out, and so far (as of Monday October 19), only Rachel replied, to say she is "discussing" it with Joseph Wolk.
Do others get this run-around, and open contempt, from them? There are plenty of unemployed people who would be happy to replace them and actually do their jobs.
An update: today, Thursday October 22nd, I've left three voice mails with Joseph Wolk. He hasn't answered. No one has contacted me.
If you're a Penn Dental patient, or considering becoming one, this is how they'll treat you if they make any errors in your account.
so whatever happened with this?
Originally Posted by wollstonecraft
I've had zero problems.
Worst thing about Penn Dental is the smell on the elevator.
I had lots of problems with the sheltered health acct. but it wasn't from the Denatal staff. They ID's the issue and told me how to resolve it with another Penn payroll office when I dd have a problem.
Ins and billing is a problem I've had everywhere except at Penn (so far)
No problems beyond the horribly rude and unprofessional front desk staff.
They're worse than the Frankford Terminal Transpass window personnel.
Just hope they don't make a clerical error in your account.
Originally Posted by ChasingFoxes
I finally got Joe Wolk live on the phone. He said the reason for all the voice mails and emails going ignored was because they were switching over to a different record keeping system. He acknowledged in the phone conversation that the clerical error in my account was Penn Dental's error, and the balance in question was removed. There's an additional $37 I'm still fighting, and they aren't very forthcoming about dealing with that.
At one point I filed a complaint against Penn Dental with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The BBB reported to me that they tried twice to talk to someone at Penn Dental about the matter, but that Penn Dental ignored them. The BBB has no enforcement authority, so all they could do was to rate Penn Dental "unsatisfactory" on their web site--as if Penn Dental is shaking in its boots over that.
Penn Dental has a captive clientele. It looks to me like they don't care how they treat their patients. I can't afford to see a private dentist, and even Penn Dental's care is usually out of my reach. I don't think Temple's School of Dental Medicine would be any better. Once I can afford to see a private dentist, I'm going to stop going to Penn Dental, and I would actively discourage anyone who asked my opinion from going there. I don't trust anyone who works at Penn Dental, from the front office people through to, and including, Dean Kinane.
Penn Dental is the worst! I filed a complaint with the BBB and also the:
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, PROFESSIONAL COMPLIANCE OFFICE
2601 NORTH THIRD STREET
P.O. BOX 2649
HARRISBURG, PA 17105-2649
The sqeaky wheel gets the oil!
So stop talking about it and file a complaint the the DEPARTMENT OF STATE, PROFESSIONAL COMPLIANCE OFFICE.
Here is a letter I enclosed with my complaints to the State and the BBB:
Dear Dr. Kinane,
Today I left a message requesting a meeting with you. In return, I received a call from Dr. Stephen Orlitsky. This person was extremely abrupt, rude, impatient and condescending. He told me the school is refusing to treat me. I commented, "I have a right to come to the dental school and how can I be refused? and why? He answered, "because I am in charge, and if I say so, that's the way it is".
On June 11th, I had a fall. The #7 tooth was cracked at the root. In calling Penn to get help, I was constantly being put off. Regina told me that because it was summer, the hours were short and even if I came down early, it would not be guaranteed I would be seen. Meantime, I told her I was in pain and afraid the tooth was going to break off completely and did not want to be without my front tooth. This went back and forth for a month while Regina kept telling me to find a private dentist. I called at least 25 dentists without success and Regina was well aware of the problem I was having in finding a participating dentist.
By June 23rd, I went to Dr. Gerace who charged me $113 for an x-ray which resulted in him telling me I should go to Penn. At this point I was still speaking with Regina and trying to get into the school. Finally on June 29th, I found Dr Hao in Upper Darby who took my insurance but he could not do the extraction. He splinted the tooth for which I had to pay $75 and he told me to go to Penn for the extraction.
By July 20th, I was still getting the run around from Regina and went to Dr Blumenthal in Springfield to have the tooth extracted for $130.
Dr Olitsky made a comment that I want to "dictate my treatment". I have no idea why he would say such a thing. I just know that I have been trying to get an appointment at Penn in seeking an implant. In speaking to Regina about this, she commented, "Well, your insurance will not cover it and you can't afford it anyway". Although I was offended, I did tell her that my daughter was going to help me with the expense. How dare Regina speak to a patient like that?
By the way, Dr Orlitsky would not allow me to ask a question, he kept talking over me and actually hung up on me. At one point, I felt as if he speaking for someone else's benefit who may have been in the room because he was saying things that did not apply to the conversation. I found him very condescending and arrogant.
Dr Kinane, I still want a meeting. I choose Penn because I knew I could trust the staff to oversee the work by the students and I had great trust. But now, I am confused as to what matters at Penn Dental.
A response to this note by you and only you would be greatly appreciated.
If you are not happy with Penn Dental, don't go there. Medical care costs. Pay an independent doctor. We all have to do it...it is not pleasant, but medical care costs. I pay. I don't have cable. There are choices we make.
Hi minnoh1, I haven't visited PS in a long while, so I missed these posts of yours. This is atrocious. You're right, if enough people raise enough of a ruckus, the community might see results. I haven't gone through anything this bad, at least not yet, but the attitude of contempt from Penn Dental is palpable. It impacts on a big community of patients who can't afford to go to a private dentist.
Originally Posted by minnoh1
Professional Compliance Office
Complaint: Penn Dental School
May 1, 2010
After our conversation on 4/29/10, you said you would take another look at my complaint against Penn Dental School in Philadelphia and you pointed me toward your department’s website to view the rules and regulations.
Penn Dental is in violation of:
49 Pa Code § 33.203. Advertising and Pa Code § 33.211. Unprofessional conduct.
Upon your re-review, please refer to the Penn Dental Medicine website and click on the two sections on the right from which I took the information below.
These quotes verify that Penn does treat complicated patients.
Although Regina (clinical coordinator) claims my case was too complicated and the students were not equipped, she has yet to explain of what complications she is referring. Maybe you cannot do anything about the extreme rudeness and ineptness of the front desk, but you do have jurisdiction when it comes to the rules and regulations.
Fact Sheet section; second paragraph from the bottom states:
“Penn Dental Medicine treats over 18,000 patients each year in its main clinical teaching facilities, located primarily in the Evans Building. A full range of general and specialty services are provided at the School, including treatment for medically complex patients. A new clinical facility, the Robert Schattner Center, was dedicated in 2002.”
Patient Care: Dental Care Network section; last paragraph reads:
“All treatment is provided by faculty and staff of the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. In addition to general practice dentists, care is provided by periodontists, who specialize in the treatment of gum disease; endodontists, who specialize in treating teeth with nerve damage; and prosthodontists, who specialize in complex restorations. There are also specialists in oral surgery, orthodontics, implantology and pediatric dentistry.”
Penn Dental failed under 49 Pa Code § 33.203. Advertising.
(b) Advertising that is false, misleading or deceptive is prohibited under section 4.1(a)(10) of the act (63 P. S. § 123.1(a)(10)). Advertising is false, misleading or deceptive if it does one or more of the following:
(1) Contains a material misrepresentation of fact, or omits a fact necessary to make the statement considered as a whole not materially misleading.
Penn Dental also failed under § 33.211. Unprofessional conduct.
(4) Withdrawing dental services after a dentist-patient relationship has been established so that the patient is unable to obtain necessary dental care in a timely manner.
(8) Failing to provide necessary dental care to a patent in a timely manner or to apprise the patient of the need for the care.
It is nearly a year that I lost my front tooth and I am devastated. The adjacent teeth are shifting. I need an implant before any more damage is done but I cannot afford the cost of a private dentist.
Again, my case is in no way complex or complicated. Maybe you should have someone take a look at my records.
In addition, I am sending you the print out of complaints from the website “Phiadelphiaspeaks” about Penn Dental. I found these after I made my complaint on March 25, 2010.
I believe a thorough investigation is needed.
and this follow up letter:
May 25, 2010,
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Department of State
Bureau of Enforcement and Investigations
Professional Compliance Office
2601 North Third Street P.O. Box 2649
Harrisburg, PA 17105-2649
Complaint File Number 10-46-03723
On May 6, 2010, I was informed that you have been assigned my case concerning the March 25, 2010 complaint on Penn Dental School in Philadelphia.
My letter dated May 1, 2010 addressed to Denise, details the Pa. Codes of which Penn Dental violated.
Along with that letter, I included a print out of other complaints about the school from the website, “Philadelphiaspeaks”.
As I expressed in my last letter and on the phone with Denise, it is a year now that I have lost my front (#7) tooth and my adjacent teeth surrounding it, are shifting. Each dentist involved in my care concerning this tooth has directed me to Penn Dental for an implant. They have told me not to wait any longer, as my teeth will only shift more.
The ordeal with Penn Dental has caused me great stress. My March 31, 2010 Stress Echo Test indicates a prior infarction. Doctors’ notes as well as my own personal log reflect this incident occurred in the first week of November 2009.
If you read my October 22, 2009 letter to Dean Kinane concerning the many attempts in reaching a resolution, you can get an idea of the unprofessional treatment I experienced from the school staff.
My complaint needs to be taken very seriously.
I am requesting a confirmation that you received this letter and a phone call to update me on this investigation as soon as possible.
LIKE I SAID IN MY FIRST POST....DON'T JUST COMPLAIN...MAKE THEM FIX IT!
another angry dental patient at Penn Dental
Thank you so much for posting your thread and the information about your complaint which I will definitely use in my case.
I am so furious; no communication at all except for how to get your name on the payment form. Then nothing. They are horrific and if they were not part of the university they would have been shut down a long time ago.
Everyone out there should Be warned- avoid this place!
In March 2011 University City Review published an account I wrote about what I went through with Penn Dental. Two days after the account appeared, Dr. Kinane wrote me a letter terminating me as a patient. Actually, he did me a favor. If you visit the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Dental Association web site, some helpful information is there--or at least it was helpful to me. I'm now seeing dentists in a different clinic, and it's working out well for me. You just have to do some digging.
In his letter, Dr. Kinane claimed, "I have emails"--concerning me, and he implied that they provided evidence that I was a difficult patient in some way. I did reply to him expressing interest in knowing more about these emails he claimed to have, because I've got emails stating that I was a very good patient--always paid my bills on time, even in advance when I anticipated a costly treatment, that I was always present and on time for appointments (never a "disappointment"), that I'd gone through a prolonged, difficult procedure on one tooth without complaining, that I was cooperative and pleasant for students and instructors to work with. I never did hear from Dr. Kinane again, but that isn't important. I guess I was "difficult" in the sense that I was persistent in pursuing the billing matter that was drawn out for so long.
Dr. Kinane accused me of "publicly attacking" the employees I'd been trying to deal with at Penn Dental, even though I gave thorough documentation of what went on. My hunch is that Dr. Kinane did that partly, at least, because he couldn't dismiss my documentation. But I see that tactic a lot, namely, when someone publicly airs a complaint and they can back up their complaint with specifics, they're accused of an "attack."
When my account of my experiences was published, I'd wondered if there would be a reaction from the community where many residents patronize Penn Dental, but there wasn't. I don't know if that's because a lot of people don't read University City Review, which is free, or if it's because a lot of people don't bother with civic involvement.
The catch is that patient records are confidential unless there is a subpoena of some kind, and for a subpoena you need probable cause. But for probable cause, an awful lot of patients would have to speak up about problems that call for an inquiry of some kind. They'd have to voluntarily share details about their patient records. And it doesn't look like that's going to happen.
Last edited by wollstonecraft; 02-24-2012 at 02:50 PM.
Earlier today, I wrapped up 4 continuous months of dental appointments (a root canal which turned into an extraction, six fillings, and a cleaning). Yeah, each appointment has taken me about 3 hours, but it's a dental school. The students are not full-fledged dentists yet, so they aren't allowed to just start drilling willy nilly. Frankly, issues with that end are more issues with the fact that dental students must complete a set number of fillings, crowns, root canals, cleanings, etc., before they can legally become licensed dentists. It sucks and is inconvenient, but it's a compromise that you're making for cheap dental care and a quick appointment.
I initially came to Penn dental clinic through the emergency clinic. Just so all you Yelpers now, they pretty much only takes root canals and extractions through the emergency clinic and everything else must go through a regular appointment. Within a week of breaking a tooth, I was able to get into the dentist and have them start treating it.
I was scared ****less of getting a root canal done. I had never had one and my boyfriend got me a little unnerved about it, but my student dentist - Carmen Garcia - has been nothing short of warm and absolutely wonderful. The students who performed the extraction (that I wound up needing on that tooth) were absolutely wonderful, even though I was tired, petrified, in pain, and frankly, a little bitchy. Everyone has been completely gentle, very responsive to the least little bit of pain, and so willing to answer questions that I've had.
With the exception of some of the faculty dentists. Ouch.
I can't remember the name of the one particular dentist, but he was a little rough...rough to the point that I have to remove one star for him. I needed a really deep filling - I think I had to have an old filling removed and replaced - and he was just yanking and jabbing so badly that I literally yelped and jumped out of the chair. There are a couple other faculty dentists who are "meh" at best, but one of the things that really redeem Penn is that they also have faculty dentists who are wonderful, helpful, and as great as the students. (I've never had a problem with any of the female faculty members, and absolutely adore the Middle Eastern dentist whose last name sounds sort of like "Saloumi." Sorry, her name always slips my mind!)
Anyway, it's not perfect, but the flaws at Penn dental lie mainly in the fact that it's a dental school. It's a lot of the same issues that you have at Jean Madeline (i.e., the appointments take longer than you might be used to and there are a lot of extraneous people involved). But even despite Penn's flaws, I wouldn't be able to get a free dental implant through an insurance policy. So keep in mind, there is also the chance that you can get really awesome perks like free dental work if you qualify for studies...considering that an implant often is considering "cosmetic" for dental insurance and costs over $1000 normally, I'll put up with a little extra waiting to get my cavities filled.
I know, it's a dental school. My complaint isn't the waits, the inconvenience, so much as it was another matter, and IMO, dental school or no, there was no excuse for the way they treated me.
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