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I spoke to the office manager and got no where. I asked to speak to the doctor but she would not come out of the back, eventhough there were no other clients there but me.
I have just finished submitting a complaint to the NY State Board for Veterinary Medicine. So here is the whole story: Sorry it is very lengthy.
Complaint against XXXXX XXXXXstein, DVM - Henrietta Animal Hospital
XXX-XXX-XXXXFAX [email protected]
Submitted to: New York State Board for Veterinary MedicineVeterinary Medicine, Unit 1Albany, NYNNN-NN-NNNNbr />XXX-XXX-XXXX518/486-4846E-mail: [email protected]
August 1, 2009
Attention: Disciplinary Information Contact: Connie Mitchell
I wish to file a complaint against XXXXX XXXXXstein, DVM - Henrietta Animal Hospital, 3150 East Henrietta Road, Henrietta, NYNNN-NN-NNNNphone: XXX-XXX-XXXX for the following reasons.
Explanation of above complaints:
On July, 17, 2009 I brought in my 5 dogs to Dr. Brownstein for annual exams and necessary vaccinations. They stated that 4 of my dogs needed teeth cleaning. I asked what the price would be for the total procedure and was told by the receptionist/office manager, Jackie, that it would be approximately $250 per dog. This verbal quote was also witness by their new receptionist in training. I agreed to the quoted amount and made appointments for the 4 dogs. I considered this to be a verbal contract. When I received the bill for the dental procedure the charges were $411.05 for Bob, $443.36 for Buddy Ray, $502.07 for Dixie, and $569.36 for Marge. This is a total of $1935.84 and I was quoted $1000. (Note: Marge's total did include 5 extracted teeth for the additional charge of $54.50 and I am fine with that. )
Also, during that same visit I was told that Ernie was due for a Lyme disease booster, but they said they could not administer it that day because he had too many other vaccinations. I was told to bring him back when I brought the other dogs. I said I would do this as long as I would not be charged and additional office visit. The receptionist/office manager, Jackie, assured me that I would only be charged $42.20 for the booster. I made her repeat this to be absolutely certain. This verbal quote was also witnessed by their new receptionist in training. When I received the invoice for Ernie there was a "Treatment and progress exam" charge for $38.93. When I told Jackie that her she herself had told me there would be no office charge she just shrugged her shoulders. So, my charge for Ernie's Lyme booster totaled $76,73 instead of $42.20. This after I had paid $49.00 on 7/17 (a week prior) for a Wellness Exam for Ernie.
After I got home from the July, 17, 2009 visit and went over the Invoice I saw that I was charged as follows for heartworm medication.
$19.05 for 1 pill for Bob (26-50 lbs)
$20.67 for 1 pill for Buddy Ray (51-100lbs)
$17.20 for 1 pill for Ernie (0-25 lbs)
$17.20 for 1 pill for Marge (0-25 lbs)
After buying Heartworm pills for many years I knew that these prices were outrageous. I believed that Jackie had made a mistake. I went to their website to check prices and found the following posted on their site.
Tri-Heart Plus (Pack 6-ct - Strength/Size Up to 25 lbs (Blue)) $18.99
NOTE: A 6 month supply on the Henrietta Animal Hospital site is $18.99 ($3.61 per pill) and I was charge $17.20 in their office for a 1 pill for both Ernie and Marge. This is $15.38 MORE per pill than I would have paid if I bought them on the website. $15.38 x 2 dogs = $30.76 overcharge.
Tri-Heart Plus (Pack 6-ct - Strength/Size 26-50 lbs (Green)) $24.99
NOTE: A 6 month supply on the Henrietta Animal Hospital site is $24.99 ($4.165 per pill) and I was charge $19.05 in their office for a 1 pill for Bob. This is an overcharge of $15.335.
Tri-Heart Plus (Pack 6-ct - Strength/Size 51-100 lbs (Brown)) $30.99
NOTE: A 6 month supply on the Henrietta Animal Hospital site is $30.99 ($5.165 per pill) and I was charge $20.67 in their office for a 1 pill for Buddy Ray and Dixie. This is $15.805 MORE per pill than I would have paid if I bought them on the website. $15.805 x 2 dogs = $31.61 overcharge.
I was also charge $97.20 for 6 K-9Advantix pills that are listed as $64.99 on their website. Another overcharge of $32.21.
In Summary: The total of Tri-Heart Plus and Advantix overcharges total $109.92Charges for dental cleaning exceeded the verbal quote by $881.34The charge for Ernie's Booster office visit was $38.93The grand total of all over charges = $1030.19After Dr. Brownstein refused to honor our verbal contact and give me any sort of credit for the above I did some research.
Here is how their charges compare to the Animal Hospital of Pittsford, another local, well-respect animal hospital located in the wealthiest suburb of Rochester.
Henrietta Animal Hospital Fee
Animal Hospital of Pittsford Fee
Office charge to give a booster
0- no charge
Dental Cleaning & Oral Exam
$411.05 - $502.07
$274.65 for 60 lb Labrador
I can supply copies of Invoices from Animal Hospital of Pittsford to support the above.
I also went on the Internet and found the following related to average teeth cleaning charges
2. Refusal to give Heartworm prescriptions to Petmeds.com
I placed an order with Petmeds.com (because their prices were better) for Interceptor Heartworm treatment as follows:
Top of Form
Interceptor 12pk Green Dog 11-25lb Or Cat 1.5-6lb
Bottom of Form
Interceptor 6pk Yellow Dog 26-50lb Or Cat 6-12lb
Interceptor 12pk White Dog 51-100lb Or Cat 12-25lb
The total price of $111.97 includes free shipping.
Petmeds.com contacted Dr. Brownstein's clinic for a prescription and they refused to give it. I called the office to ask why and was told that they consider Petmeds.com to be disreputable and said that they were involved in some sort of lawsuit. I was told that I needed to buy the Heartworm from their website if I wanted a prescription. It is my understanding that the AVMA principles of ethics say that a veterinarian should, at a client's request, authorize prescriptions instead of only selling the medication themselves Does the law not require veterinarians to give their clients prescriptions when requested rather than sell the medication themselves? Petmeds.com has still not received the requested prescription and I want to buy this medication from them and not from Henrietta Animal Hospital.
3. Mistaken dosage of Metronidazole(flagyil) issued
On 7/17/09 I was given a prescription for 12 Metronidazole(flagyil) tablets 250Mg #514 for Marge. Later that day I received a message on my phone stating that they had issued me the wrong strength of Metronidazole(flagyil) and that I should cut the pills in half. This did not inspire confidence.
4. Unprofessional and rude treatment
I had an appointment on 7/30 at 3:50pm to pick up Bob and Buddy Ray after their teeth cleaning. I arrived early so that I could go over the 7/17 Invoice with Jackie and have the charges for the Tri-Heart adjusted. . I asked her to explain to me how she arrived at the charges for the TriHeart pills and she just got flustered and had no explanation. I told her that I expected them to match the prices they post on their website. Jackie went on the website to look at the medication pages and told me she had never looked at them before! Unbelievable as she appears to be the manager and she was training someone else the other day!!!!! Then she told me that the Tri-Heart Plus that I bought in the office was not sold on the site so there was no way to check the price. I told her that indeed it was and to scroll down but she could not find it. So here is the link to the site where the Tri Heart Plus is located.
http://henriettaanimalhospital.vetsourceweb.com/category,42143/productBrowseView/view/54000_HomeDelivery.pml And like I told Jackie, the Tri-Heart is at the bottom of the page.
I gave Jackie my credit card to get a credit for the Heartworm but refused to give me a credit or do anything to make this right. I was told that since I already gave the dogs the pills I was "out of luck" since I could not return them.
At that point I was very frustrated and angry but remained calm. Then I asked to see the bill for the dental work on Bob and Buddy Ray and the Lyme booster for Ernie. I was shocked when I saw the bill, especially when I saw the office charge for Ernie's booster. When I told that her she herself had told me there would be no office charge she just shrugged her shoulders implying "tough luck."
At that point I told Jackie that I wanted to speak to Dr. Bronstein. She disappeared in the back for quite some time. When she came back out she was alone. I asked where the Doctor was and she said "busy". Then she handed me a credit card slip to sign for the medications totally $163.93. Told her that I refused to sign and said I would dispute the charge.
During the time I was trying to deal with all this with Jackie, she and a young male helper were whispering and giggling right in front of me. I assumed it was about me, but regardless, incredibly rude and unprofessional.
Dr. Brownstein never came out of the back room to speak with me. She arrived at the office shortly after I did and there were no other clients present. She was in the back room the whole time I was dealing with Jackie and never bothered to come out. My appointment was for 3:50 and when she did not appear by 4:10 I left. Also, another client had arrived and I was reluctant to have this discussion in front of him. I told Jackie that I was leaving would dispute charge and never return.
I also consider it unethical for Dr. Brownstein to have her assistant tell me that Petmed.com is disreputable and in some sort of lawsuit. I would think she is opening herself up to legal action for damage to their reputation.
5. Lack of reports and consultation for services rendered
I did not receive any consultation during my 7/30 appointment regarding the results of the dental work on Bob or Buddy Ray. I also did not receive any report showing what was done. My sister, who recently had teeth cleaning done on her Labrador Retriever at the Animal Hospital of Pittsford, received a wonderful report of the dogs mouth and written explanation of all that was done. She is the one who supplied me the attached invoice for teeth cleaning from the Animal Hospital of Pittsford with charges of only $274.65 for a ten year old, 60 lb Labrador Retriever. The Animal Hospital of Pittsford charge includes a fluoride treatment we did not receive and were told would be an extra $75.
In SummaryI emailed Dr. Brownstein a letter prior to submitting this complaint and gave her the opportunity to arrive at a mutually acceptable agreement. I called the office to tell them that I had sent the email to be sure they knew to look for it. Later that day I received a phone message stating that Dr. Brownstein's computer was not working and that she did not read my email. I was also told that they expected payment in full for services and medication rendered. This without Dr. Brownstein even having full knowledge of all that transpired with Jackie. I was also told that I was put on the "inactive" client list and that if I wish to discuss anything with Dr. Brownstein I could come out there and do it in person. I have no intention of driving all the way back out to their clinic to be kept waiting again and have Dr. Brownstein not appear.
I have total respect for Dr. Brownstein's knowledge and skill as a veterinarian. I like the fact that she has a single doctor practice and this is the type of business I would have liked to support. But, I have no respect for her business practices or ethics. I do not wish to harm her business or reputation but I do expect reimbursement for excessive charges and an apology would be appreciated.
I am eager to receive a response from the New York State Board for Veterinary Medicine. Any advice you can give on how to resolve this dispute will be greatly appreciated. I would also like an opinion on whether I am justified in my complaint and if my views of the situation are valid.
I guess I am not sure. It seems like pretty small potatoes legally, since the total I am seeking as a refund is only in the $1000 range. I would really like to get this money back, but my #1 concern is for this Vet to not get away with this. I was asking a vet primarily to see if my complaints were legitimate and if there was a veterinary agency that I could report her to that would "slap her hand."
After speaking to others I have learned that she has a very negative reputation in regard to overcharging.
So, do I have any legal options? Does the fact that she charged double what was quoted leave me with any legal options? Did we have a verbal contract? If I were able to get a refund I would certainly be willing to pay a portion of that to JustASk.
By the way, I have owned my own business since the mid 70's and we have a great reputation. As a business owner I am appauled by her business practices.
This is the first time I have used "Just Ask" and I think it is great.
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