Sunday, July 21, 2024

Many Types of Elder Abuse Exist

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Prevention and identification of Elder Abuse is an ongoing topic of concern in our society.

One particular potent TV ad shows a younger male, possibly her son, accosting an older woman on the street and taking money out of her purse. Showing financial abuse and total lack of respect by her offspring.

There are many kinds of Elder Abuse identified in the media and government publications.

I would like to add one more, which I have experienced personally: Financial Elder Abuse by some self-regulated medical professions.

My experience was with the DENTURIST profession.

Denturists are licensed by the College of Denturists of Ontario. This college certifies the denturist’s professional competence, but does not in any way address the fees for their service.

Denturists have a self-regulating professional association that set certain standards for the Denturist profession.

The Denturists Association of Ontario (DAO), a voluntary association with the majority of Ontario denturists as their members, does have a Code of Ethics and a suggested, non-binding set of fees for their code numbered procedures. The problem is that the Code and Fees are known ONLY to the DAO members.

They are not to be seen by the public, or worse, not to be provided to the clients of DAO Denturists.

My experience is as follows:

Twelve year old dentures getting loose. Old codger assumes upper and lowers require a re-line. He attends a denture clinic and asks about price. Is given a lengthy lecture on available permanent procedures. Cannot afford them. Asks about lowest (cheapest) cost of re-line. Is given a price of $550. Reluctantly agrees to this price, assuming it is for relining BOTH uppers and lowers. Day of appointment, Denturist, BEFORE looking at my dentures gives the same lecture on permanent implants, but is advised by me that it is not financially possible because my company pension has not had a Cost of Living (COLA) increase since 2002. Denturist again gives his fee for a re-line as $550. AGAIN, I assume the fee is for BOTH upper and lower relines.

Denturist checks dentures and determines only the lower denture requires a re-line. Impressions of my mouth are taken, and re-lined lower dentures re-fitted at the end of the same day.

At check out I am billed $550. I am taken aback, but pay, because waiting room has clients waiting, and I do not feel like making a scene.

Several days later, I return to the clinic and ask if there was a mistake in my billing. Receptionist assures me, that $550 charge for the re-line of my lower denture was the correct price.

I request a meeting with the Denturist to discuss the $550 fee, because confidential information obtained by myself indicates that the DAO suggested fee for this procedure, code 42126, is $260. Denturist does not comment, just insists he has the right to charge the $550 fee for this service.

Ontario Works (people on social assistance) pays the fee of $128 for the same procedure, which I understand is a fee negotiated between the Denturist Association of Canada and the Federal Ministry of Health in 2011.

I do NOT expect the denturist to provide my denture re-line for this fee.

I would be quite prepared to pay the DAO suggested fee of $260, plus COLA.

The fee of $550 charged me, in my opinion, is so excessive, to be obscene.

In the interest of fairness, in providing a NECESSARY service to a predominantly senior clientele, I have requested support form my MPP (Conservative) and the NDP Ontario Health Critic to initiate the following:

That the DAO code of Ethics and The DAO suggested, non-binding, List of Fees, for coded procedures be posted prominently in EVERY denture clinic, AND if the denturist is going to charge above the suggested fee, which is his RIGHT, this fee be discussed with the client BEFORE any billable procedures are undertaken.

Karl Braeker, Meaford

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