Telephone, as in the game, only less fun


rotary phone with border

After 34+ phone calls to all the Oral Surgeons George’s insurance’s website says they cover, plus some names I got from various other offices I called, I was finally able to actually find offices who: 1. had practioners who were not retired or had left to open their own practices, 2. took George’s insurance, and 3. would accept a child under 12.

Yesterday I found an office that was scheduling out till February.  I wanted something sooner.

The office I thought would turn out a great option called me back this morning to tell me their practitioner had left to open a private practice.  “Have you tried our office in (town several hours the other way from us)?”  Well, it was close to my parents and would have made a great quick visit.  I called them.

“Sorry, none of our staff can do that.”  Back to the call list.

Phone call #23 resulted in an appointment for tomorrow morning, but it is 3 hours away. The drive is not bad, but I just was not feeling great about this appointment.  There was such a lack of information and helpfulness.  I was not sure if it was nerves or excitement or my radar going off.  I almost stopped there, but figured calling more places wouldn’t hurt.  (And I checked them out more when I got home to the computer.)

Two calls later found me talking to someone who actually sounded friendly and like they wanted to help, and not just add a name to the calendar.  Turns out they were in the billing office, but gave me the information to actually get stuff done instead of being directed to a voice mail.  🙂  I was given a fax number and told to send the information in for them to review.  They were scheduling out till January but would try to get me in sooner.

I almost stopped there, but figured I would try the rest of the counties in my state (this is how the website was organized).

Many letters in the alphabet later, with only 3 counties left to go, I came across the gem I was looking for – an office that took our insurance but did not have the people in office to do the job.  What they did have were two other locations that did have someone who could do the work.  The first number resulted in another, “I am not sure, but why don’t you try here.  We are not open today but the dentist works at this office also.”  I could not get through.

I was down to the very last number I could get to.  Yes, there were options to chose from, but none really felt great.  I prayed and made the call.

“Yes, we take the insurance, work on kids that young, and … how does October 29th sound?  Can you do 9:30?”  I was so astonished I did not know what to say.  It was close, but did not feel rushed; the person answered my questions and sounded intelligent, and the timing was perfect as it is a few weeks before George’s orthodontist appointment.  I scheduled it, cancelled the one for tomorrow morning and feel at peace.  Here is to hoping this works out.  If not, I have two others I now know to call.

Update: my husband came home and reminded me an Oral Surgeon was needed, not just a pediatric dentist.  I double checked and saw that even though I said as much in the phone call, the final office does in fact NOT have an Oral Surgeon on staff.  So much for the State’s online database being accurate.

Okay, let’s try another route ….

dental xrayA few phone calls later, mostly “Try here”, “We often refer patients to this office.”, “We can not help you, but try this number.” and so on, found me talking to the School of Dentistry in the neighboring state. I could not believe they took our state’s insurance, but I was not going to question it. 3 hours away but, hey, it is an easy drive and I have friends there, too.  Seems like all the places that were possibilities are 3 hours away and in different directions.  Again, we live in Small Town that is in the middle of nowhere but in the middle of everything.

Here are a few thoughts after the fact:

  • This whole process would have been a lot harder if I did not have an internet connection at home, as well as a phone to use that could make long distance calls.
  • This would all have been near impossible if I did not have a car and very impossible if I would not be able to afford to travel out of the area.
  • We could have looked around here for someone to do the extractions but it would have cost a lot more money.  If someone does not have a car and can not afford to travel out of the area by train or bus, once you could actually get to an area where those left from, what would make others things you could afford to skip using your insurance and pay for this out of pocket?
  • Some might view this as an elective dental procedure … if you could only see the x-rays would would see how this issue would end up affecting George his entire life.  It would be difficult to eat, there would be almost constant tooth pain, his gums would be sore from food hitting between his teeth … not exactly something I consider elective.
  • If I was working a typical job, I would not have been able to take the few hours to call all of the offices.  Or else it would have taken me a lot of lunch hours to do so.  Again, not really an easy thing for those who need to be working outside the home to help bring in an income.
  • Why in the world ?!?!? is the state’s list of insurance providers so outdated?  It really makes me wonder about others who may take this insurance but who are not listed.  25 out of all the office I called either did not have the person listed or take the insurance they were listed as taking.  There were only 2 or 3 of those that did not do work on kids under 12.  Missing 25 out of 34 is not exactly a passing grade.  Okay, to be fair, 4 of those offices were ones I found in our neighboring state and were not listed on the web site.  So I guess it is more like missing 21 out of 30.  Still not a passing grade.  🙁
  • Paying for this work out of pocket would still be cheaper than having added George onto our dental plan, if we had known during open enrollment that he would be getting this work done this year.  We are lucky in that we have the means to be able to pay out of pocket if needed, but it should not be needed.  He has insurance, he has insurance that will cover this work, he has insurance that is accepted by offices around the state.  It just happens that they are not near us and there are so few they are booked up.
  • The insurance George has is the same one he had when he was still in Foster Care.  Of all the annoyances with this whole process, I am just very glad I do not have to add Foster Care paperwork and approval on top of all of this.  Though, if that were the case, I think we could have gotten him into the surgeon in the county next to us and been done with it all fairly quick.

Above, when I said, “If not, I have two others I now know to call”, I did not think I would have to follow through with that statement in less than 30 minutes.  But it is true.  Not all of the hours today have been wasted.

These are the times when being an adult is no so much fun.

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