Are you getting unnecessary dental procedures?
Targets and bonuses could be benefiting dentists but costing you.
We have all heard about the ‘sharks’ in the business world. You know, those business people who work on commission and go for the hard sales in order to get clients to buy things they really don’t need, in order for the salesman to get their end of month bonus? You have probably been duped by one or two of these salesmen over the years. I know I have. But now a scary realisation has been brought to light by ABC News: this sales and commission mentality is creeping its way into the health sector and costing everyday Australians big dollars, and hindering the care provided.
ABC News reported that dentists working in corporate clinics are being coerced by health insurers to pump through patients quickly and, potentially, provide services which are unnecessary. The reason for the coercion: to receive hefty financial bonuses from health insurers.
The practice has been likened to a factory or mill, with dentists being urged to see four patients an hour, provide basic services and then move on to the next case. Of course, this type of lack of service is in no way beneficial to the patient because troubling oral issues, such as periodontal or gum disease, are potentially overlooked or go undiagnosed. Or, on the flip side, dentists are being urged to provide unnecessary “drill and fill” services so as to get the ‘gap’ payment from the health insurer but which, of course, costs the patient more.
A Senate inquiry has been launched into these unsavoury practices. The strongarming health insurers and guilty dentists will eventually be named and shamed and hopefully, the practice will stop. But in the meantime, there are a few ways in which you can protect yourself from unnecessary expenses and ensure you receive the quality dental care you deserve:
- Ask for recommendations rather than going straight to your health insurer’s preferred provider. Social media services like Facebook are excellent places to find referrals or reviews on all sorts of businesses. There are also various web forums which provide reviews and brutally honest opinions on service providers.
- Avoid practices which advertise their ‘preferred provider’ status. This does not mean that you won’t receive quality dental care at these practices. It just means that they MAY be conducting business based on the amount of their commission rather than in the best interest of the patient.
- Be wary of practices which offer ‘deep discounts or come-ons’. Dr Mark Burhenne explains that these types of practices will offer discounted services to get patients through the door and will then pressure you to accept expensive treatments.
- Be wary of corporate-owned dentists. Oftentimes these are the ones which run like factories or mills. That is, they are the surgeries which will push through patients in less than 15 minutes per consultation due to quota.
- Be sceptical and do your homework. If you were quoted a fee that is noticeably less than other competitors, there is a good chance that the provider may be cutting corners.
- Trust your gut. If you have a bad feeling, walk away and/or get a second opinion.
Just so you are aware, we at DentalCareXtra and KIDS Mackay are not affiliated with any healthcare provider. Thus, we are not susceptible to corporate coercion. But you can still claim your health insurance discount via HICAPS to minimise your gap. We are also not corporately owned. Rather, we are owned and operated by a small team who is committed to providing honest, quality dental services and we pride ourselves on going the extra mile for our patients.
Why not come in and see for yourself by booking online?
Manning, P. (2017). Dentists say targets and bonuses leading to unnecessary procedures on patients.
Retrieved from: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-30/dentists-say-targets-bonuses-leading-to-unnecessary-procedures/8665038
Burhenne, M. (2015). Little known ways to make sure you never get ripped off at the dentist.
Retrieved from: https://askthedentist.com/how-to-not-get-ripped-off-at-the-dentist/