Letters to the Editor

Posted: Friday, December 20, 2002

Difference between rich and poor illustrated in dental care debate

I do not understand how a dental clinic will affect the coffers of our warm and caring (and particular) dental practitioners. The only persons who will be eligible for services will be those who are denied by and suffer because of dentists who do not accept Medicaid or who are not even willing to work out a payment plan.

These people cannot affect the economics of our upstanding dental crusaders at any point across the space-time continuum, because they will never have been able to afford the posh services anyway, therefore making them a moot point in the issue of competition.

More and more, access to dental care has become a symbol of socio-economic stratification. These days, more often than not, you can

sort the middle and upper classes from the working poor by their perfectly straight and pearly white teeth.

Brett A. Encelewski , Kenai

Patients without insurance can't even work out dental payment plans

I beg to differ with Dr. Pitts on their treating patients in need. My daughter attempted to be treated by his partner, Dr. Martinelli. She was living on her own. She did not have Medicaid but was willing to make payments. She had been a patient there as a child under my insurance.

She was turned away by their office because she wasn't insured. She and her family go to another dentist. Since that time, I have also chosen not to go to their office for my dental care.

I will not say that their care was lacking, we had always received good dental care, but when she was turned away, because she wasn't insured, yet was willing to make payments, it made me rethink the character and integrity of the office. Perhaps they have changed their policies but approximately five years ago, they were singing a different tune.

Debbie Breitenfeld, Soldotna

Dentists care more about money than helping those in distress

I have to respond at the audacity of one statement made by Dr. Dan Pitts:

"I don't know anybody that turns anybody away that comes into their office in pain," Pitts said. "If someone is in pain or in need, nobody gets turned away. We do the work for free."

This is a sheer and outright lie. It makes me livid that this man can and does turn away folks in pain. I am living proof, but that pain almost made me dead proof. I was in the greatest pain no human should ever have to endure. I looked sideways at a shotgun once. I went to the emergency room with my pain four times and was only given overnight relief "until I could see a dentist." My husband bought me street drugs to ease my suffering.

Why? Because not one single dentist on the Kenai Peninsula would take me, including Dr. Pitts. I was weeping with pain, and they would not take me. The standard answers were: "Go to Anchorage!" "We are not taking any new patients at this time!" "We do not take payments."

I was not eligible for Medicaid. Why?

I have Blue Cross. We did take it to Anchorage -- with $5,000 in a paper lunch sack, borrowed from my husband's boss. That cash my husband begged for was the only way I could get dental help in this entire state.

Yup, there is a problem with dentists here. Greed.

Andi Flanagan, Moose Pass

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