'Get dental work done then plead poverty'

I cannot imagine any journalist would advocate theft as a means to get treatment. It appears that Kevin Milne has done just that. I wonder if Mr. Milne will give similar advise for legal representation if people follow his advise. At least the informal poll they are taking shows most people are honest. MJ

From the NZHEARLD.com
By Hayley Hannan
If you can't afford dental work, simply get the work done and force a "flexible" response from the dentist, suggests a consumer champion.
In the latest edition of Woman's Weekly, former Fair Go presenter Kevin Milne offers a few options in response to a query from a woman whose son needed $5000 of dental repairs, including root canal work.
The magazine's consumer columnist recommends approaching the dentist to organise a scheduled payment option. Another "controversial" option, he says, is to get the work done "before he tells the dentist he doesn't have the funds right now".
"That could force a flexible response from the dentist. They may assess your son's wealth, and decide it's better to get some payment than spend money on legal action," he wrote.
"I'm not recommending this option, as your son may end up in worse difficulties than poor teeth, including court action and possibly a bad credit rating.
"But I'm sure it's an option some would feel they had to take."
Milne declined to comment further yesterday.
David Crum, chief executive of the Dental Association, said he did not agree with a patient simply saying they couldn't afford to pay.
"Dentists are to discuss the fees prior to providing treatment. To suggest patients should have treatment and then not pay on the amount agreed, that is dishonest.
"To then not pay would be considered as theft ... it's like someone going to work at the beginning of the week and then the employer saying we are not going to pay you."
He said some clients had dental work done and then admitted they could not afford to pay for the service.
"My response to them is, 'Well, I can't say to my staff, I haven't been paid so I can't pay you this week'."
He said he had often seen clients set up week-by-week payments and in his practice about 10 per cent of people paid by instalment.
Dental hygiene has come under fire for being too expensive over the last 20 years, with MP Jim Anderton repeatedly pushing for free dental care.
The Progressive Party leader announced a policy of free dental health care for all last month, saying dental care prices were extortionate.
"About 44 per cent of New Zealanders don't get any dental treatment at all," he said. "At Middlemore Hospital any day, you'll find queues of people waiting for six hours to get their treatment because they can't afford to go to the dentist."
Mr Anderton proposes a free dental policy to start with vulnerable groups such as people over 65.
He said Britain, Germany, Scandinavia and France all had more affordable dental plans.


Teresa Duncan said…
I could not believe this when I read it - what irresponsible advice.

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