From a dentists’ office in Pennsylvania:
At Smiles 4 Keeps, our goal is to keep children as healthy as possible through education, regular dental checkups, and timely treatment as needed. In order for us to do that, you must bring your child to one of our Smile Centers for regular professional cleanings and treatment.
Understandable so far. Dentists are indeed in favor of dentistry. Go on…
According to law, failure to bring your child for dental care is considered neglect. Pennsylvania Act 31 (Child Abuse Reporting and Recognition Requirements) states that health care providers must report your failure to bring your child to the dentist for evaluation and care. A copy of Act 31 is included for your reference.
Did they just threaten to have the state take someone’s child away unless they paid money?
Smiles 4 Keeps has not reported your child’s outstanding dental treatment, as of yet. Since this law is in effect, we hope this letter encourages you to schedule an appointment to follow through with needed dental treatment for your child.
Yes. They did.
An extremely generous reader could give these dentists the benefit of the doubt:
If you sought a second opinion, please also contact us with the name of your new provider. We would be happy to forward your child’s records upon signing a release form.
I am not an extremely generous reader, and threats to sic Child Protective Services on someone because they took their business to a competitor aren’t OK, either.
Oh, and the parent says she did inform the dentists that she’d be seeking dental care elsewhere. She says she informed them in person, in their offices, at some volume.
The dentists’ office replied to the first wave of social media outrage on their Facebook page. I’d characterize their reply as doubling down on the “duty to report neglect” legalism with some digressions about the importance of dentistry (“Tooth decay involves bacteria…”) and zero explanation of how a parent taking her family’s business elsewhere constitutes child neglect.
But if they send out enough of these letters, they’ll scare some parents into giving them repeat business. And that’s what matters, right?
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