Posts Tagged ‘fee-for-service’

Who says doctors and dentists are venal? Not mine. Not Abdi Sameni.

June 15, 2010

They say that our fee-for-service system of medical and dental insurance is crushingly expensive because doctors and dentists are paid for the treatments they deliver. So they treat you in overly expensive ways, and earn more at your expense and your insurance company’s.

Not my experience. I just got back from a visit to my West Los Angeles dentist, Dr. Abdolreza “Abdi” Sameni. For several years he’s been warning me that a long-ago filled tooth would eventually need an expensive onlay, costing about $2000. “But no need to do it yet,” he had told me. “It could be years before you have to do it.”

A few weeks ago he told me it was time, and the time was today. I was in the chair, anaesthetized, and he was doing the final examination of the area to be repaired, when he said, “I think we can get by very well with just a filling.” Great news—it would save me $2000 and several more hours in the dental chair.

They say that ethics is how you behave when nobody is looking. Abdi, in addition to his skill and attention to his patients’ comfort, is certainly ethical. There’s no way I could have known anything was amiss had he just gone ahead with the onlay we had agreed on. But he knew it wasn’t needed, and he saved me $2000, right out of his pocket.

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