Thursday, January 06, 2011

New Hampshire Forces Re-Opening of Allcare Dental Offices

The state of New Hampshire has come to the aid of dental patients who were left holding the bag when Allcare Dental and Dentures closed.
A national dental chain that unexpectedly shut down this week and left patients in the lurch in more than a dozen states reopened some New Hampshire offices temporarily Thursday under government pressure, while at least one care provider stepped in to fill a void in Ohio.

About two dozen people were crowded into a small waiting room at Allcare Dental and Dentures in Nashua 15 minutes after the office opened, and a steady stream of patients came and went throughout the morning. Most of their frustration was muted, though tempers occasionally flared.

"I'm not leaving here without my stuff. I went through hell with this company," said Korryn Cristini, who drove nearly two hours from Claremont to get her records and was disgusted to hear that X-rays were being sent to other dentists' offices to be copied and wouldn't be available until late afternoon.

Clarence, N.Y.-based Allcare unexpectedly closed offices in more than a dozen states this week. According to the Michigan attorney general's office, the affected states included Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wisconsin, but officials hadn't been able to confirm the list with Allcare.

After being contacted by the New Hampshire attorney general, the company opened its two locations there for one day Thursday so patients could retrieve records. Allcare executives have not returned repeated calls seeking comment.

Kathleen Goonan, who managed the Nashua dental office, sounded close to tears as she took a break from handling records requests.

"This has been miserable. These people put their faith in me," said Goonan, who got a call Dec. 31 saying the office was closing and she was being laid off.

"For it to close the way it did is heartbreaking," she said. "That's why I volunteered to come help."

Cindy Franks, 55, of Jaffrey, said she was grateful for the chance to get her records but said she couldn't afford to go someplace else.

"I'm on a fixed income, and I've been paying $68 a month for something I don't even have," she said.
Other states are considering actions as well.

I would recommend Allcare Dental patients seek out state Attorney General and/or state dental licensing board help in finding another dentist to take over their care, especially if they have an emergency condition.

Unfortunately, as far as reeimursements are concerned, those may be slow in coming and will probably be disbursed by a federal bankruptcy judge.

Stay tuned......