RSS

Category Archives: Licensed Professionals

Our Editor’s Response to the Newcomer-Facci Exposé

Update

A reliable source has reported that Mr Facci has allegedly been reprimanded by his Newcomer keepers for failure to comply with Newcomer policies. Surprised? He’s also been reported by his colleagues at Newcomer Funerals and Cremations for alleged noncompliance and misconduct. Could it be his mouth? His attitude? We also hear Facci’s taken down his Facebook page. Wonder Why? Facci’s really quite unhappy, we hear, and is considering relocating to Florida. We suggest Cuba. We wonder if he’s that immature to think his reputation won’t follow him? We can’t say that we didn’t expect these developments. Facci made his bed; now he has to sleep in it. Too bad he didn’t appreciate what he had from the start.


The Editor’s Response

We recently republished an article about a recently licensed funeral director, Mr Nicholas J. Facci, and his online activities, his relationships with former mentors and associates, and his recent hire by a local chain funeral services provider, Newcomer Funerals and Cremations (Albany and Latham), a member of the Newcomer Funeral Services Group, a Kansas based organization with funeral homes in some 10 states. We’d like to make our own statement on that article. We’d like to respond to some of the private comments we have received in response to the article, “Birds of a Feather? Lying down with dogs? The Politics of Funeral Corporations….”


Despite the appearances and although Nick Facci is plastered all over the Internet as being associated with Riverview Funeral Home and Simple Choices Cremations, he was fired from his employment with Riverview and Simple Choices; furthermore, Facci has published numerous times on his Facebook page that he is no longer associated with Riverview or Simple Choices. He has recently been hired by the Newcomer funeral home chain, a “Walmart-type” provider, and is now working in the Albany-Latham area.


We vetted the author and verified the sources of the article. The facts were true and the majority of them came either from public sources, the Troy Record newspaper, or from Mr Facci’s own Facebook page. The facts, opinions and conclusions stated by the author were credible and truthful, and based on research of information available to anyone who is interested.

Some readers — apparently those with short attention spans — have suggested that the article is a bit long-winded. Yes. The article is a bit longer than our typical article, and while it may be a bit hard on Mr Facci, we feel that given the circumstances and Mr Facci’s conduct as well as the environment in which Mr Facci is employed, the article is important and the facts and conclusions are of significant interest to the pubic. We had and continue to have  the opportunity and the control to edit material out of the article but we chose not to do so. We continue to stand by the author and the content of the article. As for being hard on Mr Facci, Whose fault is that? The facts are the facts.

That having been said, we’d like to make some editorial remarks about some of the feedback we’ve been receiving from readers, both in the funeral services business, consumers of those services, and persons who just found the article of interest. We would like to note that we have information that Facci, Newcomer and some of the funeral directors who know Facci have been very responsive but have kept their responses pretty much under wraps. That’s how the funeral profession is, we guess. Others with personal knowledge have come forward with their information. Nothing we have received so far indicates that the article is in any way misleading or untruthful. Far from it. Most of what we have received so far actually confirms the author’s facts.

Here, in a nutshell, are our responses to the article and to our readers’ responses:

The article has been vetted and found to be substantially true in its facts. As our regular readers and followers are aware, we are very diligent in assuring that what we publish on the Smalbany blog is factually true and credible. Our community of readers and followers also know that we don’t take sides, and our sole purpose is journalistic integrity and community service. Enough said.

The author of the article was vetted and found to be reliable. The author of the article has no personal, political or economic interest in publishing the facts of the article. The author of the article is a well-known figure who has a fine reputation, is known for his defense of truth and ethics, and has excellent professional qualifications. The author is credible and the facts truthful.

Mr Facci is responsible for his conduct and his statements. The article points out a disturbing trend in the funeral services industry, how funeral director candidates are educated, trained and licensed, the importance of ethics in the funeral services profession, and the fact that poor education and immaturity can result in serious detriment to the reputation of the funeral services profession and significant injury to the customers served by unscrupulous providers. While we feel our funeral directors and family funeral homes provide a necessary and very important service to those who have lost a loved one, we have our concerns about the direction the funeral services business has been taken by the corporations and funeral home chains. We also share the author’s concerns about the quality of the people working for these funeral home chains and their motivations, and their character. These are all reasonable concerns and are presented in the article.

The article may have scared the hell out of Facci and/or Newcomer and Facci was forced to remove his Facebook posts but removing them doesn’t undo the fact that they were posted, read, and noted. Just because he removed his posts doesn’t undo the fact that he posted them in the first place. Unfortunately for Mr Facci, he can’t undo the Troy Record article and the statements he made in that article. Too bad, Mr Facci!

Unlike Facci’s former employer, we do not underestimate Facci nor are we ready to present our back to him for target practice. We are monitoring these developments closely and have our ears to the ground, so to speak.

It is all about Mr Facci, not about the author. As stated above, the article points out Mr Facci’s character and professional flaws, using Mr Facci as a so-called stereotype of a trend in the industry. The article is about Mr Facci and how he got to where he is, wherever that may be. The article is about how one immature and flawed individual can manipulate situations for his own selfish benefit, and how even veteran professionals and a large funeral home chain can be taken in by such a person.

One commenter suggested that Newcomer has a “file” on the author. Our response was: “Big deal!” If Facci or Newcomer feel that they have something interesting about the author of the article, share it! If it’s good information, we’d love to know about it. But all things considered, we can’t imagine what they could have because we’ve already checked. The so-called “file” may be printouts from anonymous Internet sites, anonymous blurbs by critics who don’t have the guts to use their real names, or sociopaths who think they have an ax to grind. No doubt, if Mr Facci had anything to do with the assembly of any file it must involve some breach of confidentiality or other unethical practice. Sorry, gentlemen and ladies, that’s not the kind of information or the sources we tend to use on this blog. Hard facts and reliable sources are what you get here. Our suggestion: Go stuff your file!

For the sake of argument, even if the author has a skeleton or two in the closet, what difference would that make. None at all. If the facts are true as presented in the article, nothing in a so-called “file” about the author can change Mr Facci’s character or conduct, nor can it justify Newcomer Funeral Services Group (Kansas) or Newcomer Funerals and Cremations (Latham and Albany) in deciding to hire Facci without even checking with his former employer(s). And if Newcomer had checked with Facci’s former employer and hired him anyway, despite the facts disclosed and Facci’s unethical conduct, Shame on Newcomer! The article is about Facci and Newcomer, not about the author.

Silence is an admission of complicity. We provide ample opportunity for anyone with something to say to say it by leaving a comment. If no one comes forward with contrary facts we have to assume that they have no defense. Fair enough. After the appearance of the article, Mr Facci was very quick to clean up his Facebook posts and many of his scandalous posts disappeared (fortunately we had already collected some of them such as those exposed in the article). A number of persons who know Facci either personally or professionally have provided comments by email or by electronic message confirming the facts in the article. Other parties have contacted us with concerns that the article could be misinterpreted. Alternative interpretations are in the head of the reader, not in the text of the article.

We are grateful for the comments about the facts. Any time we receive confirmation of facts or clarification of the facts we are very grateful because we place great value on the quality of the information we provide. Regrettably, most commenters don’t have the ability to comment, and tend to rewrite. Those comments are worthless and they don’t get published.

As for the concern that the article could be misinterpreted. Misinterpreted? How? Does it make Facci’s former employer look bad? We think not. Facci’s former employer has an outstanding reputation; even Facci made that clear in the Troy Record article, even while Facci was badmouthing Newcomer! Facci’s former employer did everything possible to teach Facci the trade and to get him through the licensing process. Even so, Facci bit the hand that literally fed him. It’s ridiculous for anyone to suggest that Facci’s mentor should have been able to have second guessed Facci’s devious mind. We cannot take responsibility for the state of mind of some readers. The article is pretty clear. If some bleeding heart wants to make believe that Facci’s conduct is excusable, that’s their problem. If some hard-nose wants to lynch Facci or Newcomer, while we wouldn’t go that far, we can’t control such a reaction. The article says what it says, no more no less. Repeat: Alternative interpretations are in the head of the reader, not in the text of the article.

Again and again and again, we have stated in our articles that we don’t want to take control of minds, we only want to get them working, thinking, and learning about what’s going on in our communities. That’s all. Our readers are free to make any decision they feel is right; we just provide the facts.

Our personal take on the situation: If Mr Facci were an elected official or a municipal employee, or if Mr Facci were a doctor, a dentist, a car dealer, whatever, we’d have the same response to the conduct and character described in the article: He’s got problems. He needs to fix those problems. Anyone who knows about his problems and continues to do business with him or hires him assumes responsibility for those flaws and problems and the repercussions. The same applies to Facci. In fact, we hold Facci’s feet to the fire particularly because he is in the position he is in. Facci is responsible for what he did, said and posted. Facci was fired from his former position when his employer had had enough of Facci’s shenanigans. Facci had even prepared for that possibility and was already providing a way out for that eventuality. Newcomer chose to ignore these facts and hired Facci. Newcomer now has to deal with those facts having been made public. Either Newcomer is willing to carry Facci’s baggage for him or they can free themselves of him; it’s their choice, and Newcomer has to live with the consequences.

We have also been informed that one person who provided Facci with a letter of recommendation actually demanded that Newcomer Funeral Service Group disregard that recommendation. The person making the recommendation, upon learning of Facci’s conduct, decided to withdraw the recommendation for reasons of conscience.

Facci and Newcomer are the authors of their own crisis. To be honest while not violating a confidence, it must be said that when the article first appeared, Facci’s former employer wrote to us requesting that we remove the article. Here is a guy who has sustained considerable damage to his business done by Facci, and he’s asking that the exposé be removed. We politely declined to remove the article. But that’s how funeral directors are. They are so used to doing their jobs and remaining behind the scenes, not intruding that they tend for forgive and not to make waves. That’s why Facci is such an interesting subject because he doesn’t care as long as he comes out on top. He’s an individual that the article uses to draw attention to the way the funeral home chains and corporations are changing the politics of death and deathcare. It’s not pretty.

Facci and Newcomer are not the only players in this dirty game. Without offering any excuses for Facci’s conduct or Newcomer’s choice of employees, we cannot avoid pointing an accusing finger at the Hudson Valley Community College Mortuary Sciences Program and the New York State Bureau of Funeral Directing, and the New York State Department of Health, all of which have their fingers in the pie. As organizations involved thickly in the training and education, the oversight, and the licensing of funeral homes and funeral directors, those organizations should be put in the spotlight. While we are informed that the Hudson Valley Community College Mortuary Sciences Program curriculum was put on hold and substantially revamped last year, it remains to be seen whether that has any concrete effect on the quality of candidates it churns out. Is Facci a perp or a victim? Is Newcomer a perp or a victim? What is Warren “Ren” Newcomer,  and Arthur Fitch, manager of Newcomer Funerals and Cremations in Albany and Latham, doing to defuse the situation? Jury is still out on those questions.

Mr Facci and Newcomer Funerals and Cremations have another reason to be grateful. Mr Facci had to be reminded to be grateful to his former employer and mentor for the fine training and formation he received. We mentioned that  in our original article. Mr Facci’s former employer and mentor has again asked that we withdraw the article; he’d like to put the experience behind him. While we don’t agree to letting Facci or Newcomer off the hook that easily, we have considered the request, and on compassionate grounds, have complied with the request as of March 31. This is an unusual action taken only at the request of the victim of an offence, we do not routinely remove an article from public view, unless we are convinced that  the victim might benefit. While the article is no longer visible to the general public, it still exists and, if a reader makes a specific request to rcs.confidential@gmail.com for access to the article, we will provide a password for accessing the article; otherwise it will not be visible to the wider public. Mr Facci and Newcomer Funeral Services Group will continue to be monitored, if only to ensure that they do not engage in any further self-destructive behavior, however.

All that having been said, we can’t ignore such headlines as, “Funeral Chain Exploits Demise of Tradition,” which asks the question “Newcomer Family Mortuary ignored industry taboos by advertising discount funerals on television. Will competition usurp tradition in this high-growth industry?” That article was nothing less than current, relevant and prophetic article and appeared in the online magazine Inc. It’s an historic article but could have been published today.

As usual, if our readers have anything to add, comments to make, information to provide, we will be very grateful if you leave a public comment by using the comment feature on this page, or if you want to leave a more confidential message please use our email at rcs.confidential@gmail.com.

Reminder: Mr Facci’s former employer and mentor asked that the original article be withdrawn. We do not withdraw articles but in compromise and out of respect for Mr Facci’s former employer and mentor,  we have restricted access to the original article by requiring a password. Readers interested in accessing the original article may request a password by making a request to rcs.confidential@gmail.com.

Thank you all for your interest and loyalty. It’s now a time for healing.

The Editor

 

 

Local Dentists. Are you being abused, taken for a ride in the chair?

We all know about licensed professionals whether hairdressers, electricians, builders, funeral directors, doctors or dentists. Licensing means only that they have completed the required training as defined by the New York State Department of Education — and that they paid the state fee. Licensing does not qualify them as having the people skills necessary to do their job nor does it ensure that they have any ethics. The cardinal rule of ethics is this: “No one shall use another person as the means to an end.” Yet many of our licensed professionals do just that: They look at you as a cash cow and the means to their enrichment.

You just stand there like a dumb Moo, and let them milk you dry.

You just stand there like a dumb Moo, and let them milk you dry. Yes, you do look stupid.

In fact, when you sit down and think about it, dentists are the only practitioners who willfully mutilate the patient and then charge the patient to fix the mutilation — they’re a lot like Greene county contractors or the New Baltimore highways department or the Ravena public works department. WTF! Think about that for a minute…

Marvin Gerstenberg of New Baltimore Family Dentistry and Kurt Froehlich of Coxsackie Dental Arts: Two Peas

Marvin Gertzberg of New Baltimore Family Dentistry and Kurt Froehlich of Coxsackie Dental Arts: Two Peas

As soon as you complain, some dentists (like Kurt Froehlich of Coxsackie Dental Arts) will insist that you made a contract. Now, any contract is a meeting of the minds. But both parties have to agree on terms that are clear and unambiguous, and both parties have the right to ask for the terms to be put into writing just to be sure the terms are clear and unambiguous, and that the one party knows what is expected of him and the other party makes it clear what it expects. Once that is done we can assume that there is mutual informed consent by both parties to enter into a contract that is binding on each and enforceable by both parties. Note the key terms here: “meeting of the minds,” “clear and unambiguous,” “Informed consent.”

Note the key terms here: “meeting of the minds,” “clear and unambiguous,” “Informed consent.”

What this means is that once you have all the information you need and that information is clear and not double-talk, you have the option of entering into the contract or not. No “contract” can be forced upon you; if they do a procedure on you without your informed consent it can be criminal battery, maybe even assault! And incomplete information is worth as much as no information; you shouldn’t be left standing there to fill in the blanks.


Funeral directors are required by law to have a price list….Why shouldn’t dentists and physicians be held to the same or similar standard?

Editor’s Note: You need to be reminded that this is business, not a love fest. Your dentist is smiling at you because he’s making a lot of money but he’s smiling only as long as you play his game by his rules. Rock the boat and you’re in for a rude — and we do mean rude — awakening. That’s why we recommend you always insist on a treatment plan, in writing, plus an itemized estimate of the costs, and check with your insurance company to find out what they reimburse and whether you’re going to get stuck with having to pay a chunky balance. If your dentist tells you he wants payment up front and that you have to deal with the insurance company, RUN! If your dentist refuses to provide you with a written treatment plan or refuses to explain what his plan is or doesn’t come back to assure you understand what’s going to be done and that you understand everything, RUN! Always take notes or jot down notes about the experience as soon as possible after your visit. You may wish you had when the cat hits the fan. Where do you run, you ask? To your computer or to pen and paper and write a complaint giving the dentist’s name, his practice, dates and the facts of the incident. Send the complaint to us and we’ll forward it to the authorities. Or you can send us a copy and contact the Department of Health and the Department of Education, Licensing Division on your own. If you feel there’s a crime involved, like fraud, contact the office of the district attorney for the county you live in. Funeral directors are required by law to have a price list and to provide that price list to clients; in addition, some states even require funeral directors to provide side-by-side comparisons of burial vs. cremation costs! Why shouldn’t dentists and physicians be held to the same or similar standard?


As we mentioned, we’re going to diverge a little this time and give our crooked and incompetent public employees and local elected officials a breather — that’ll give them an opportunity to do something really stupid we can write about—, and look at some local delinquents who have somehow slipped under the radar: local dentists. Now, we’re not singling out dentists because all the other health-related providers are such angels; we’ll get to them in due course. It’s just that we have some information of significant interest on two local dental vampires that might be vital for residents in the Greene County communities of New Baltimore and Coxsackie to know, and in which the Greene County District Attorney might be interested.

Gertzberg & Froehlich beefed up their practices in a previously underserved community to cash in and take off!

The two dental practices we are focusing on are New Baltimore Family Dentistry (Marvin Gertzberg**) and Coxsackie Dental Arts (Kurt Froehlich), both run by two ready-for-retirement dentists who apparently beefed up their practices in a previously underserved community to cash in and take off. Gertzberg recently sold the New Baltimore Family Dentistry practice and is soon to retire; Froehlich is likely to do the same once he bleeds his patients and the community dry. Read on…

So what they’re doing in the good ole US of A, is what they do so well: misinform and practice deception.

Dentists like to be called “Dr” but in reality, they are not real doctors because their degree, although it reads “doctor of dental medicine” or “doctor of dental science”, isn’t really an academic doctorate. Same applies to most medical “doctors” in the United States. An academic degree, especially a “doctorate”, is awarded after the candidate earns a master’s degree, applies to and is admitted to a doctoral program, does appropriate original research, under the supervision of an adviser writes a dissertation and defends that research and the dissertation; and then is awarded an academic doctorate, usually a PhD. Medical doctors and dentists in the USA finish a 4-year undergrad degree that does not necessarily have to be science related (some are in music or English or some subject unrelated to medicine) but they do have to do pre-med or pre-dental courses. After being admitted to an accredited medical or dental program, they then do 2 years of basic science coursework (anatomy, pharmacology, pathology, biochemistry, microbiology, etc.) and if they do well, they then do 2 years of electives and clinical work. They have to pass a series of board examinations. Having done that, they graduate and go on to spend time on-the-job as interns, residents, and fellows, etc. During all of that, like any professional, they are expected to take continuing education courses, keep up-to-date in their specialties, and develop their skills just as any hairdresser, embalmer, or electrician would be expected to do. So what the for-profit corporate education system is doing in the good ole US of A, is what they do so well: misinform and practice deception.

[Editor’s note: In most developed countries, what the doctors and dentists we call “doctor” are not called doctor at all but Mr and referred to as physicians or dentists but unless they have completed the academic research and dissertation requirements leading to the award of a “real” academic doctoral degree, they are not called “doctor.”]

Let’s face it, most people who go to the doctor or to the dentist hardly open their mouths to describe what’s ailing them,and even fewer ask the right questions, and even fewer question the doctor or dentist. Most people go in and the doctor or dentist does most of the talking and less of the listening and the patient sits patiently waiting to be told what’s wrong and what’s going to be done. Did the doctor or dentist even listen to what’s wrong or discuss what’s going to be done. Hardly. In fact, all the while you are trying to inform the provider, they’re already deciding what they’re going to do. We’ve written a piece on “listening” that will be published on another blog. We’ll post the link once it’s up; you may want to read it.

** It appears that New Baltimore Family Dentistry has changed hands and M. Gertzberg doesn’t even appear in the staff directory. But that’s not our problem. Gertzberg may have left the practice but the organizational culture he created and left behind is still is alive and well — until proved otherwise.

Dentists must commit time to listen without interruption

Because we’re focusing on two local dental practices, let’s have a quick look at what Dr Stanley Weiss DDS, a dentist and psychotherapist has to say about dentists’ listening skills in Dental Economics, a professional journal for the dental profession (online at: Dental Economics):

“As a dentist and psycho-therapist, I’ve found listening is overlooked in dentistry…Dentists must commit time to listen without interruption to what patients and staff members communicate. In addition, you must devote energy to concentrate on blocking everything else to absorb what patients convey…To know patients, we must listen to them. With new patients, rely on experience to elicit dental and medical information, show how well you listen, and project personality and attributes such as your caring, humanity, and sense of humor…An inability to listen will be judged harshly. Your patients might interpret it as your not caring, disinterest, lack of empathy, or even incompetence.…Many dentists think the way to impress patients is to talk, talk, talk about their thoughts, feelings, and opinions. This may work infrequently. Instead, listen, ask questions based upon what the patient has said, and be attentive to the patient and what he or she says…What you invest in listening will be returned to you economically in patient retention and referrals. To most of your patients, your listening is more important than your mechanical skill.

Dentist: “… putting metal into your mouth, pulls coins out of your pocket.”

listen to new dental patients

Listen to new dental patients

That’s coming from a dentist! Here’s something else published by a dentist who had to publish it under a fake name because he was talking about his colleagues in the dental business. In his book, “Dentistry and Its Victims: The Self-Defense Handbook You Need to Protect Your Teeth and Your Pocketbook“, dentist Dr Paul Revere (not his real name): This little gem of a book exposes the dental profession and makes clear recommendations to patients. The title page of this includes a quote from Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary: “Dentist, n., A prestidigitator who, putting metal into your mouth, pulls coins out of your pocket.” It is written by a pseudonymous dentist who knows the “inside” story and who is warns the laity about poor dentistry. He does more: he provides the reader with some sensible information about self-help and good routine care. I include this book on this list because of the criticism of dentistry and because the author explains some of the risks to the dentist of providing good dental care. There is a paradox here: the dentist who does the best possible job may, in fact, alienate his patients. The good dentist may, for example, save a tooth – at great personal cost to the patient – when the patient really just wants the thing out. The author also suggests this important point: “…organized dentistry will not publish, and actually suppresses, all studies on the quality of dentistry as it is practiced.” (p. 11) This is, of course, in order to maintain the position that dentistry already has. The author similarly makes the point that dentists’ ethics — What ethics? you might very well ask — prohibit, or at least restrain, one dentist from criticizing another. The same sort of code of silence exists for dentists as exists for physicians and scientists.(Ask your community librarian to get the book for you. Here are the details for requesting it: Publisher: St. Martin’s Press; Revised edition (1980), ISBN-10: 0312193912, ISBN-13: 978-0312193911).

Back to our focus: New Baltimore Family Dentistry and Coxsackie Dental Arts (CDA). These two dental practices might easily have been the reason for both Dr Weiss’ and for Dr Revere’s scathing assessments of the shortcomings and worse that we have to deal with in the dental office. What’s even worse is the highway robbery and deception that is going on literally right under our noses.

 Dentists are the only practitioners who willfully mutilate the patient and then charge the patient to fix the mutilation

The pitiful part of all of this is how much people will accept for the sake of convenience and because they don’t have the guts to open their mouths. Rather than be confrontational those without dental insurance would rather not go to the dentist; after all this is a toothless society we live in, isn’t it. Or did I mean “ball-less.” And those with dental insurance don’t give a damn because, What the hell! they’re not paying the bill. But now local dentists have a new scam that they call their new “business model.” That model is this: You pay their price up front for what they do and they’ll submit the paperwork to your insurance company, who will then reimburse you for the amount they would reimburse the dentist. Well, that might sound real nice until you see the light: This new “business model” is win-win for the dentist and bullshit for you. Here’s why: The reason the dentist is doing it this way is because he doesn’t feel the insurance company is paying enough. So he milks you for his inflated price for the service and you get what the insurance company would normally pay him. Nice scam, right. But here’s what else they try to get away with: The dental office doesn’t even want to submit the paperwork to the insurance company, instead, the dental office wants to hand you the paperwork and have you do their work. This is the “business model” Coxsackie Dental Arts and dentist Kurt Froehlich is using to milk some, if not all of his patients. Example, Coxsackie Dental Arts (Kurt Froehlich) charges $1200 for a single-tooth permanent tooth replacement (on the existing tooth base). You pay Froehlich $1200 and the insurance company will pay you about $375 – 400.00 or what the insurance industry has determined to be fair and reasonable for that service. So if $375 or $400 is considered fair and reasonable and would be what any dentist would accept if he isn’t using Froehlich’s so-called business model, then the $375 or $400 would be adequate to cover the dentist’s expenses and still leave room for making some bucks. Why is Froehlich so unique and special that he needs to charge three-times what is fair and reasonable?!? Maybe Coxsackie Dental Arts or Mr Froehlich can explain why his practice is three times better than a fair and reasonable practice.

But we don’t think he can because we have information that shows what a scam he’s running at Coxsackie Dental Arts (CDA). A local resident went to CDA to get an infection seen to and to have two temporaries repaired. He first tried to get an appointment with CDA using their website “Request and Appointment” form. In about a week’s time and 4 attempts later, he still had no response from CDA, and called to make an appointment. (The resident says he tried two other practices: Michael Conte in Glenmont and even New Baltimore Family Dentistry using their online forms and got responses within a couple of hours). The resident explained to the CDA receptionist what he needed and that it needed to be done a.s.a.p. because he would be out of town the next week and didn’t want to mess with the infection and the broken temps. He got an appointment two days later but was told he had to pay $55 for a consultation. Why $55 for a new patient. We don’t get it. You should be happy to get a new patient and you don’t need to charge for a consultation when you’re discussing what the patient needs. But CDA and Kurt Froehlich do!

So, the patient is in the chair, the tech takes x-rays specifically of the infected area and of the temps needing repair. The patient attempts to explain to Froehlich what happened and Froehlich tells him he doesn’t need details. The patient offers to show Froehlich his previous x-rays only a year old. Froehlich says they’re too old, he needs to take his own. The patient tells Froehlich his former dentist has the permanent bridge for the teeth. Froehlich says he uses his own work and doesn’t know what the other dentist’s work is like. But … Froehlich doesn’t need details and doesn’t even say, “Well, let’s get the perms and have a look. Maybe we can use them.” Now Why? would he do that when he thinks he can charge 3 times more? That’s a slick trick!

Froehlich tells the patient that the root of the infected tooth is being absorbed by the body and has to come out. That would mean that the bridge (two teeth) would have to be replaced. (Had Froehlich done what any decent dentist would have done and looked at the previous x-rays, he would have had a basis for comparison, but he wasn’t interested in “details.”). When someone tells you he “Doesn’t need details,” he’s not listening and he’s not interested in you or what you have to say.

What Kurt Froehlich sees when he sees you in the chair!

What Kurt Froehlich sees when he sees you in the chair!

Froehlich then preps the teeth with the broken temps and his tech makes a temporary set. Froehlich says that to finish the work he would need $1200 downpayment, that a post-dated check would do, because it was a Thursday afternoon, and CDA is closed on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and the patient was to be out of town all the following week. The patient doesn’t like the idea of doing post-dated checks and so pays Froehlich with a credit card. Froehlich then disappears (the patient, still in the chair, sees him leaving and sees him driving away). Froehlich leaves and the tech finishes up. Froehlich never reappears to check the work or to ensure that the patient had a clear idea of the treatment plan, which the patient repeatedly told Froehlich he wanted. We find that Froehlich was way out of line leaving the premises while a patient was still in the chair, not checking the work done by his tech, and not ensuring after all was done that the patient understood what the plan was. This was a new, first-time patient and that’s the treatment he got at Coxsackie Dental Arts. Nice impression, Froehlich! Froehlich was really froehlich (German for happy) once he got his money.

In the meantime, we have received documents that show that Coxsackie Dental Arts, Kurt Froehlich, submitted a claim to the patient’s insurance company for $2455.00 on the day of the patients initial visit! Froehlich is billing at least 3 weeks before the anticipated work was to be done (the patient was scheduled to return on August 3, 2015)!!! Now if the same rule applies to Coxsackie Dental Arts and to Kurt Froehlich that applied to New Baltimore Family Dentistry and to Marvin Gertzberg, that is, that a claim can’t be filed or paid until the work is completed, then Coxsackie Dental Arts is demanding payment for work not done, and is fraudulently claiming payment in the amount of $2422.00 ($2400 for the two crowns not even made on July 16, much less installed + $22.00 overpayment for the double-billing of the consultation)!!! Coxsackie Dental Arts and Kurt Froehlich have been found out; they’re robbing their patients blind with inflated prices for dental services, double-billing, and fraudulently claiming payment for work not done!

All of this raises the question of whether this is as widespread as it seems, and why no one has picked up on it until now. Where have you all been while Gertzberg and Froehlich are skipping happily to the bank? Here we have two dental practices in a backwater area who are cashing in like bandits and nobody seems to notice. Patients don’t, insurance company doesn’t, district attorneys don’t seem to care, but we do! Game’s over, dudes. We’re calling for in-depth audits of your practices and investigations by the insurance companies and district attorneys! We’re calling on your patients to demand transparency and accountability. New Baltimore Family Dentistry and Coxsackie Dental Arts have no right to steal form us directly, indirectly, or otherwise!

On the way to Boston, on the following Sunday evening, the temporary bridge falls out and the patient is left with two exposed stumps and a temporary in his hand! Exactly what he expressly intended to avoid when he went to Froehlich’s practice. He tries the next day to reach Froehlich’s office but gets a voice recording, leaves a message, and later in the day, while in meetings, gets a callback and a voicemail message telling him to get some FixaDent and put the temporary teeth back in.

The patient is suspicious by this time that he doesn’t know what exactly Froehlich is planning but that impressions were made on that Thursday but for what? There was not treatment plan and the patient didn’t know what Froehlich’s plan was; Froehlich didn’t hang around long enough to tell the patient.

That same day, the patient sends Froehlich an e-mail telling him to stop all work, to issue a refund of the $1200, to tell the patient what the treatment plan was, and why Froehlich took the impressions. The patient made it a point to assure Froehlich that he would pay for any work done to that point that was in accord with his, the patient’s, explicit requests: to check the infection and to repair the temporaries.

Froehlich wrote back refusing to honor the patient’s requests. The issues are now in dispute and the patient has contacted his insurance company to find out whether Froehlich put in any paperwork. The insurance company informed the patient that
Froehlich’s claim was processed on July 31, 2015, and the two unit bridge was denied because it was within the 5-year limit for replacement; Froehlich, although he charged the patient $55 for a consultation and was paid in cash, Froehlich still filed a claim with the insurer for the consultation and was paid for it. In other words, Froehlich double billed for the consultation, apparently wanting to get paid twice! It seems Froehlich, according to the insurance company, double-dipped and now owes the patient $22.00, since the insurance company paid $22 of the $55 Froehlich billed them for, even though the patient paid cash for the consultation.

But what’s ironic in this entire story is the fact that the dentist that made the claim to the patient’s insurance company for the two-tooth bridge in January 2014, was none other than Marvin Gertzberg of New Baltimore Family Dentistry, and it seems that there’s remarkable similarity between the two practices.

The patient made an appointment with Gertzberg at New Baltimore Family Dentistry for the same appearance of an infection in the same tooth that sent the patient to CDA. Gertzberg showed little interest in the infection and was looking for bigger fish to fry, it seems. Although the patient did not have a problem with a bridge, Gertzberg reported the bridge to be “loose”, he up-sold the patient into having the bridge replaced. Once the patient agreed to have the bridge replaced, Gertzberg found that one of the anchor teeth was “decayed” and he felt he could not assure results if he built the “decayed” tooth up, and persuaded the patient to allow him to extract it. Once the anchor tooth was extracted, it meant that in order to restore the bridge, an implant had to be installed. But the implant would cost an additional $2500. Wouldn’t it have been more sensible not to have extracted, to have done the best possible restoration and proceeded from there? Not according to dentistry in New Baltimore! Not when you can charge for a bridge, an extraction and an implant. That’s big money. But it all started when Gertzberg was asked to take care of an infection on the other side of the mouth! How did it come to his finding a “loose bridge”, a bridge the patient had no problem with? We have to look deeper for the answers.

You see, at the time, Gertzberg was planning to sell his interest in the New Baltimore Family Dentistry practice, so he had to glamorize his financials and his practice; he had to make the numbers look real good and attractive to a potential buyer. He did eventually sell the practice about a year ago but it was all Hush! Hush! Don’t you think that New Baltimore Family Dentistry patients had a right to know that the practice was being sold. We do! We asked New Baltimore Family Dentistry directly, twice about the sale and they refused to answer the question. Why would it be such a secret? And now we’re informed that Marvin Gertzberg plans to retire shortly. Apparently he’s used us to his satisfaction.

Well, an inquiry with the patient’s insurer told us something more about New Baltimore Family Dentistry and Marvin Gertzberg: The patient was very dissatisfied with the sales pitches and the shoddy way Gertzberg prepped the area where he expected to restore the bridge. The patient, having extensive knowledge in the field of dentistry, periodontics, and medical science, after having examined the tooth once extracted, found the tooth to be healthy. Moreover, it appeared that the “decay” was nothing less than the degradation of the cement holding the bridge in place. Another problem with Gertzberg’s poorly crafted treatment plan: Gertzberg removed a bridge that was not causing a problem. Gertzberg removed a bridge that was spanning the space of four teeth. Gertzberg extracted a visibly healthy tooth saying it was beyond restoration. Gertzberg intended to sell an implant, and Gertzberg only provided for a bridge to cover 2 teeth. What was the plan for the rest of the gap. Patient was never told. Only Gertzberg knows. But it gets better.

A bit of fraud going on here at New Baltimore Family Dentistry

fraudWhen investigating Kurt Froehlich’s shennanigans at Coxsackie Dental Arts, the inquiry with the insurer informed the investigator that Froehlich’s claim to the insurance company for $2400 for 2 crowns was denied because a claim for the same two crowns was made in January 2014, within the limit period of 5 years. That claim was submitted by Guess who? Marvin Gerstenberg of New Baltimore Family Dentistry. According to the insurer, Gertzberg submitted a claim for dental work. for two crowns, and was paid $775 by the insurer. Gerstenberg was paid an additional $165 for the extraction. That’s a total of $840.00 (compare this to Kurt Froehlich’s $2400 for the same thing—except for the extraction—, literally!). But according to the insurance company, Gertzberg could submit the claim only if the work had been completed. It was not. When the insurance company was told that the patient left the practice because of dissatisfaction and that the bridge was never put in his mouth, the insurer stated that Gertzberg could be paid only if the work was completed, that is, that Gertzberg installed the permanent bridge in the patient’s mouth, completing the work. Even if Gertzberg had the permanent bridge made up, he could not be paid until the patient had the work completed and the bridge in his mouth. Seems that there’s a bit of fraud going on here at New Baltimore Family Dentistry; wouldn’t you think Gertzberg would know he can’t submit for reimbursement until there’s something to be reimbursed, like completed work. The insurance company is now investigating and intends to get the money back. We say Gertzberg should be disciplined.

There is still the question of why Gertzberg would remove a bridge over four (4) teeth and proceed to replace a bridge for only two? That simply doesn’t make sense. What you take out, Marve, you put back! Apparently, Gertzberg didn’t inform the patient of this craziness and the patient found out only when he contacted the insurance company!

Now think for a moment: What right does Kurt Froehlich and Coxsackie Family Dentistry have to do what he’s doing in this community and still profit by his unethical practices, and his scam of a “business model.” Can this community afford his ego? How many local residents have fallen victim to his over-inflated, ego-driven prices and walked away abused by this prestidigitator, in Bierce’s own diabolical words, “who, putting metal into your mouth, pulls coins out of your pocket.”

And how many times in the past has Marvin Gertzberg and New Baltimore Family Dentistry pulled this sort of trick and gotten away with it? Gertzberg puts a new slant on Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary: Gertzberg’s dentistry “puts nothing in your mouth while pulling coins out of your pocket.” As a matter of fact, Gertzberg takes more out of your mouth than he plans to put in! Bizarre way to do dentistry, isn’t it?

There’s more to these two stories and probably much more in addition to these two stories. All we can do is inform the public and let the public see that justice is done. The pitiful part of all of this is that Gertzberg and Froehlich are old and at the brink of retirement and cashing in on their practices, as unethical and crooked as they may have been; they should still be held accountable, however, and an investigation should be launched to audit both their practices not only by insurers but also by the Greene County District Attorney and the Department of Health, among others.

A dissatisfied customer tells about 28 people.

There is still some hope that public opinion will take its toll on practices like New Baltimore Family Dentistry and Coxsackie Dental Arts. In the September 2015 issue of Consumer Reports, page 7, there’s a statistic called “Viral Vitriol” that reads: “A customer who’s eventually satisfied tells 10 to 16 people, on average, about the experience, according to Arizona State’s 2013 “customer rage” study. A dissatisfied customer tells about 28 people.” This blog is doing far better than that. Now Mr Gertzberg, Mr Froehlich was it all worth it?

Well, everything will come out in the dirty laundry if this goes to court. The patient will subpoena everything to show what a slick money-grabber these guys are. Coxsackie Dental Arts and Mr Froehlich have a real uphill battle on a very slippery slope if you ask us. Froehlich is going to have one hell of a time explaining to patients and to a judge how he justifies his sleezy practices.

 Use the comment feature to tell us about your healthcare experiences in Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk and New Baltimore-Coxsackie.

You Vill Tell Us! Ze Editor

You Vill Tell Us!
Ze Editor

(Do your part in informing the community and the world: Cut and paste the link to this blog article into an e-mail and send it to your contacts! Here’s the link: http://wp.me/p2jPFe-2sG)

“Qui tacet consentire videtur ubi loqui debuit ac potuit.”
“Silence is admission when when the accused ought to have spoken and was able to.”

Special Notice: We make every effort to be truthful, complete, fair, and balanced on this blog; therefore, if you see anything that you know to be false or incorrect, or if you have additional information to clarify any issue, please let us know by e-mailing your information or by leaving a comment. It’s very important to us that we don’t fall into the same category as those whom this blog is intended to expose. Thank you very much in advance for your coöperation and assistance.

Graphics and Images Disclosure: Unless otherwise noted and credited, all graphics used in this article are the result of a Google image search, and at the time the images were collected and used in this article, no conspicuous or visible copyright notice or other proprietary mark was shown. Please communicate any claim or corrections to rcs.confidential@gmail.com All images are used in good faith for non-profit, public information and public service purposes.

Special Notice & Legal Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Persons accessing this site are encouraged to seek independent counsel for advice regarding their individual legal issues. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.