Western New York patients of the shuttered Allcare Dental & Denture will receive some assistance from the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine.
The dental school announced today it will work with the Eighth District Dental Society to help refer patients to a dental home. A call center has been set up (716-995-6300) to assist Western New York dental patients without dental care affected by the sudden shutdown of the company New Year's weekend.
The call center is also available for other individuals needing dental care. The center will be staffed by UB dental school clinicians, who will refer patients to local dental resources and, when appropriate, to dental care available at UB's dental clinic.
Allcare Dental has been posting updates on its website since the shutdown, but company officials refuse to speak with reporters. The company, owned by Dr. Robert Bates and David Pennington, opened in Erie, Pa., in 2001 and moved operations to Clarence in 2005. It expanded rapidly with offices around the country.
Media reports online indicate the company had as many as 60 offices and hundreds of employees serving thousands of patients nationwide. At the time of the closing, the number of offices was estimated at 35-40.
In its most recent web posting Jan. 10, the company said it is close to entering into agreements with dentists in numerous cities and states where Allcare has offices to help maintain continuity of care for patients. The company says its attorney is working out the final details of a uniform agreement that will protect all involved, while complying with applicable laws and rules. Agreements are in place for patients in Boardman, Ohio; Iowa; and Syracuse, N.Y. The company says it hopes to have a number of agreements signed today and tomorrow, with more by week's end.
The services from UB and the dental society are being provided independently. No agreement has been struck between the school and Allcare or any other agency or company, according to a UB news release.
The UB call center can be reached at 716-479-9740 from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. daily, while the dental society is available weekdays at 716-995-6300 from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Allcare Dental was among more than a dozen companies subpoenaed in August by former State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo as part of an ongoing industry-wide investigation into predatory health care lending. The investigation found that some health care providers pressure consumers into using health care credit cards like GE Money's CareCredit, which paid kickbacks in the form of rebates to providers based on how much business they charge consumers on CareCredit cards.