Last month, I had a unique experience with a patient in an office in which I consult. Unique experiences are actually quite rare after 33 years in the profession, so I thought I should mention this situation as it provides a great example of the power of consulting.
After an initial new patient visit including radiographs, intraoral photos, comprehensive periodontal evaluation and Dr diagnosis, this patient was found to have gingivitis. His therapy was a series of appointments to educate him on the initial stages of periodontal disease, remove the calcified deposits and plaque from his teeth and more importantly, show him how to take care of his gums at home. The patient agreed to the therapy and signed the financial agreement at his initial visit.
At the time of the second appointment, the patient came on time, sat down with his hygienist in her treatment area and said, “Just so you know, I will not be paying for this appointment today”. He asserted that he receive the treatment for free or not at all. In the end, this patient was rescheduled per their request for a 6 month recare visit. Gingivitis, who cares? Never in 33 years have I heard of a patient bothering to come to an appointment to dictate what would happen. I would expect a patient to no-show, cancel the appointment or give the business office a hard time about their bill.
In any case, these are situations that we can handle together. Consensus from the entire team on how to deal with situations like these and a plan to turn patients toward better health is what’s needed. The power of consultation is the power of support.