Is this discrimination? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 02-24-2013, 04:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have been taking my 12.5 year old son to the same dental practice since he was one year old. Recently they were bought out by a larger group. The dental hygienists and some of the dentists are still there. About a month ago I called and scheduled my DS an appointment. The appointment is tomorrow, Monday. On Friday I received two frantic phone messages from the dental office stating that they were cancelling DS's appointment and I would need to reschedule because they ONLY see special patients on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:30am, 8:30am and 9:30am. There was a huge emphasis on them only seeing special patients on specific days and times. I have never had this happen in the past. Usually I just schedule his appointment right along with my other four kids but his schedule made me need to get him in at a different time from them for this appointment. He is fully mobile and has always been cooperative with the staff in the past so no accommodations have ever been needed. I feel offended that they cancelled his appointment. It feels like discrimination. What do you think?


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#2 of 7 Old 02-24-2013, 05:48 PM
 
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I think it's more likely that they're trying to reconfigure their practice to better accommodate special needs patients and have applied the policy with a broad brushstroke rather than considering the individual patients that they have a longstanding history with.

 

I would call them back (if there's time before the appointment) and talk to the office manager.  Tell them that while you appreciate that they are likely trying to make changes that better accommodate special needs patients, your ds has been both cooperative and not anxious with the way things have been in their practice "as is"/without those kinds of special accommodations... and since it would be a huge inconvenience to have his appointments done on a different day from the rest of your family, you're not understanding the need to reschedule him.

 

Even if you have this conversation when you are there (if the kids allow) or afterward, I think their response to that conversation would be more telling about whether there's any real discrimination going on.  But I wouldn't right off the bat suspect it.


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#3 of 7 Old 02-25-2013, 09:11 PM
 
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I think it is horrid that they canceled your appointment at the last minute. Did you speak to them today?

 

I find the limited hours very odd. When you talked to them about rescheduling, were you able to get an appointment in a timely fashion, or did you have to book way out? Does it seem to be a move to limit the total number of special needs patients they see?
 

How are they defining "special needs"? If they count every kid with a dx of ADD or an LD, that's a crazy percentage of school children. And if not, exactly where are they drawing that line?


Have you checked to see if your state has a state board you can complain to if you decide to want to go that route?


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#4 of 7 Old 02-26-2013, 06:05 AM
 
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As other stated, I would gather more information.

 

I like to think that they are maybe modifying their practices for patients that need it at specific times. Maybe dimming the lights, lowering music, making sure it is not crowded, move some of the movable furniture/chairs to allow for parents and mobility devices more easily (they are accessible on every day! but just open it up more than required), schedule specific staff members, having an OT, ASL interpreter, or other support staff there, allowing for more time if needed, etc. 

 

I know our pediatric dentist does this ( softer music , dim lights, no large crowds, low/no wait times and first appointments of the day, allowance of weighted blankets/sensory toys, noise canceling headphones, etc) at specific times to offer patients that benefit and request such things. But it is NOT required simply offered.

 

That said-- if your DS does not need any accommodations, I would call back and request a routine appointment.

 

My DD has some sensory concerns and we have done well with standard appointments so far , but it is nice to know if we thought she would benefit from a different environment that they could try to provide it.

 

If they refuse the standard appointment, I would be concerned and then search out other avenues  or recourse.

 

They may just be having some growing pains and trying to mesh office protocols. I hope it gets smoothed out for you and your family and this practice gets it worked out for the best for ALL their patients!

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#5 of 7 Old 02-26-2013, 10:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I called the office and the girl who answered the phone was very understanding about why I was upset. She confirmed that it has nothing to do with trying to make the office more accommodating for these patients and it was all about when the dentists were willing to 'deal with them' (them as in special needs kids). She seemed as upset as I was and told me that the decision had just come down the pipeline last week (I am suspecting that this has something to do with the new owner of the practice). She also said that it was totally unacceptable to cancel my appointment with practically no notice. When she tried to reschedule my DS, they were booked until mid April. She asked me to hold while she spoke to the office manager. When she came back on the line she had a March 5th appointment at 10:30 for him. She told me to speak with the office manager in person when I come in to reiterate my valid concerns. I will take my son to the appointment because he needs it but I am looking for a new dentist, for all my kids as a result of this. I did not ask as to how they define special needs.
 


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#6 of 7 Old 02-26-2013, 11:04 AM
 
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I can tell you things may not get better for you- a friend of mine just had her autistic DD turn 18 and overnight things changed for her regarding Drs. and who would and would no longer see her DD-including her pediatric dentist- the magic number made her no longer welcome most places (and she looks 12- if that, and is 90 lbs! with no "special needs" issues to deal with regarding 99% of things) yet she had to redue most Drs and Medicaid kicked in, and they had a whole new set of regulations and new Drs too!------good luck with what you are dealing with


 

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#7 of 7 Old 02-26-2013, 02:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pattimomma View Post

I called the office and the girl who answered the phone was very understanding about why I was upset. She confirmed that it has nothing to do with trying to make the office more accommodating for these patients and it was all about when the dentists were willing to 'deal with them' (them as in special needs kids). She seemed as upset as I was and told me that the decision had just come down the pipeline last week (I am suspecting that this has something to do with the new owner of the practice). She also said that it was totally unacceptable to cancel my appointment with practically no notice. When she tried to reschedule my DS, they were booked until mid April. She asked me to hold while she spoke to the office manager. When she came back on the line she had a March 5th appointment at 10:30 for him. She told me to speak with the office manager in person when I come in to reiterate my valid concerns. I will take my son to the appointment because he needs it but I am looking for a new dentist, for all my kids as a result of this. I did not ask as to how they define special needs.
 

 

 

jaw.gif   But on the flip side, at least now you KNOW their motivations!  Here's what I don't get: the actual DOCTORS haven't changed, right?  Didn't those doctors have the ability to do this before the change in ownership??  I'm wondering if the actual doctors that have been handling your son care when he comes in.

 

And yeah, how ARE they defining "special needs"???

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

I can tell you things may not get better for you- a friend of mine just had her autistic DD turn 18 and overnight things changed for her regarding Drs. and who would and would no longer see her DD-including her pediatric dentist- the magic number made her no longer welcome most places (and she looks 12- if that, and is 90 lbs! with no "special needs" issues to deal with regarding 99% of things) yet she had to redue most Drs and Medicaid kicked in, and they had a whole new set of regulations and new Drs too!------good luck with what you are dealing with

 

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