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At Least They’ll Probably Wear Their Mask

, , , , , | Healthy | January 5, 2022

It’s the middle of the health crisis, and everyone is still on edge about infection control protocols. We assure everyone that we have hospital-level infection control and take it very seriously. I’m the owner dentist, and occasionally, I listen in on calls to ensure patients are being helped. This is a call I listened to.

Office Manager: “Thank you for calling [Dental Office]. How can we help you?”

Patient: “This is [Patient]. I want to know what you guys are doing for infection control. I don’t want to get the [disease].”

Office Manager: “We have eliminated our waiting room, and you wait in your car until your appointment. We also have a strict mask policy until in the dental, as well as a hydrogen peroxide rinse before we work on you.”

Patient: “What about barriers?”

Office Manager: “I’m sorry?”

Patient: “Do you have those plastic plexiglass barriers set up in between the patients?”

Office Manager: “Between each patient chair? No, we don’t—”

Patient:What is wrong with you?! Haven’t you seen how even the grocery stores have those barriers to protect the customers? If I am getting my teeth cleaned, my mouth is completely open! You need to install plastic barriers between the chairs! What if another patient is next to me and has the [disease]? You need to have us separated!”

Office Manager: “[Patient], we have walls. Actual, real walls. All of the chairs are in separate rooms. With walls. And doors. Doors that close.”

Patient: “…”

Office Manager: “[Patient], you have been coming to us for ten years. The layout has never changed…”

Patient: “I still think you should put up the plastic barriers!” *Click*

I have no idea if the patient was just hotly embarrassed or genuinely thought we should replace our solid walls — and enclosed rooms — with plexiglass ones that are open on the tops and sides.

About To Be Dis-Appointed, Part 7

, , , , | Right | November 18, 2021

I’m sitting in the waiting room at my dentist’s office. I’m the only one there, so it’s quiet, and the receptionist is just a few meters away, so I can hear her clearly. I also can’t really tune out other people’s conversations, so when she picks up the phone, I can’t help but overhear the following conversation, or at least her part of it.

It appears the caller wants to cancel his appointment, which is in about three hours, but he’s not really happy with the office policies.

Receptionist: “[Dentist Office], how may I help you?”

Pause.

Receptionist: “All right, sir, but because you are cancelling your appointment less than twenty-four hours in advance, we will have to bill you for the time.”

She’s not talking about applying a cancellation fee, which I’ve never heard a Dutch dentist apply, but apparently, this is a thing in some other countries; she just means the standard consultation fee which he would’ve been billed for anyway, and which his insurance will most likely cover.

Having health insurance is mandatory in the Netherlands, and people get an allowance from the government to help pay for it, so it’s not like she’s saying he’s going to lose more money than he would’ve otherwise.

There is a pause but with some irate muttering becoming audible even to me.

Receptionist: “Because we’ve scheduled an amount of time for you so the dentist can see you, and we can’t reschedule this on such short notice, so during what would be your appointment, the dentist can’t see other patients, meaning you still take up his time. That’s why we’ll still have to bill you for it. That’s just standard policy, sir.”

It sounds reasonable to me, but apparently not to the caller.

Receptionist: *More firmly now* “Yes, sir, we will bill you for it.”

Pause.

Receptionist: *Starting to sound a little exasperated* “Because ‘I don’t feel like it’ is not a good enough excuse, sir.”

Longer pause.

Receptionist: “Yes, we will bill you for it.” *Short pause, like she’s cutting him off* “Yes, we will.”

Pause.

Receptionist: *Suddenly a lot more cheerful* “All right, then, sir, so we will see you at three o’clock this afternoon? Okay, good, see you then. Have a nice day!”

She hangs up, bursts out laughing, and walks over to the open door nearby.

Receptionist: “Did you get that?”

Person In Other Room: *Also laughing* “Yes! Did he really want to cancel because he wasn’t in the mood?”

At that point, I was called up for my own appointment, so I left the receptionist laughing with her colleague. I was chuckling all afternoon, but I was also impressed with how deftly she handled that.

Related:
About To Be Dis-Appointed, Part 6
About To Be Dis-Appointed, Part 5
About To Be Dis-Appointed, Part 4
About To Be Dis-Appointed, Part 3
About To Be Dis-Appointed, Part 2

Has Your Brain Been Deprived Of Oxygen?

, , , , , | Healthy | October 30, 2021

Receptionist: “Thank you for calling Dr. [My Name]’s office. How can I help you?”

Patient: “Hi. I really need Dr. [My Name] to write a medical exemption for my children.”

Receptionist: “I’m not sure if we can do that for you.”

Patient:This is ridiculous! I demand to speak to Dr. [My Name] right now!

The receptionist pages me and I take the call.

Me: “This is Dr. [My Name]. How can I help you?”

Patient: “They are requiring masks in public schools for my children, and it’s affecting them horribly. This is a vital time for their development! They need oxygen and they are being deprived!”

Me: “I’m sorry, Ms. [Patient]. I am not capable of writing either of your children a medical exemption for masks.”

Patient: Why not?!

Me: “Because I’m a dentist. There are no dental reasons why you can’t wear a mask. Perhaps this is a conversation for your pediatrician?”

Patient: *Screaming* “I tried that! They told me my children didn’t have any medical problems!” *Click*

The patient called back a week later to schedule appointments for cleanings. Both children showed up… in masks.

No Pain, No Gain

, , , | Healthy | October 1, 2021

I’m a dentist. Sometimes we can’t fix teeth without extractions. When that happens and there’s no other viable option, we make prosthetics for the patients — basically dentures. It’s never a perfect option, but in the vast majority of cases, the patients are happy with them after a necessary touch-up and around two weeks of wear to get accustomed to their new prosthetics. You absolutely NEED to bear the discomfort for those two weeks if you ever want to get used to them.

I have this conversation on a weekly basis.

A patient calls in two weeks after being given the dentures.

Patient: “Those dentures don’t fit me. I can’t eat/talk/do backflips with them, and they hurt.”

Me: “Pain is normal during the first few weeks; I’ll fix that for you. How long did you wear them for?”

Patient: “I could only handle three hours!”

Me: “Yeah, I might see why they don’t seem to work…”

A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 13

, , , , , , | Working | August 27, 2021

I get a voicemail from my dentist’s office saying that I have an outstanding bill and to call them right away. This is odd because the last time I saw them, all that was done was a routine cleaning and I paid a copay at the visit. I’m not looking forward to the call since the receptionist is frequently rude.

Receptionist: “[Dentist]’s office, this is [Receptionist].”

Me: “Hi, [Receptionist], this is [My Name]. I’m returning the call I received from you about a bill.”

Receptionist: “It’s about time you called! Do you know how much you owe?!”

Me: “No, I never received a bill in the mail.”

Receptionist: “It’s $700. Get your credit card so we can take care of this.”

Me: “Wait, what?! $700 for a cleaning? Is that with insurance?”

Receptionist: *Smugly* “You didn’t have insurance. So, how are you planning on making the payment? I can take a credit card number right now.”

Me: “Yes, I do have insurance. It needs to be run again.”

Receptionist: “The insurance I have on file didn’t go through. You owe us $700.”

Me: “Is that with the old insurance or the new one I provided you with when I came in?”

Receptionist: “Uh, what?”

Me: “Was it [Old Insurance] or [New Insurance]?”

Receptionist: “It was [Old Insurance].”

Me: “That one isn’t current anymore.”

Receptionist: “Well, you didn’t give a new insurance when you were here, so now you owe us $700.”

Me: “No. I have insurance and I did give you the new insurance. I’d be more than happy to provide you the insurance information and have you run that again before making any payments.”

Receptionist: “I guess that’s the only option you’re giving me?”

Me: “Yes.”

She begrudgingly takes the information, asking for it in a very nasty tone.

Receptionist: “Fine, I did what you want. Is there anything else I can do for you?”

Me: “Yes, actually. Cancel my next appointment.”

Her attitude suddenly changes.

Receptionist: “Oh, uh, can I ask why?”

Me: “Because I never want to deal with you again.”

Sure enough, the $700 bill disappeared once sent through the correct insurance company.

Related:
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 12
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 11
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 10
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 9
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 8