The Alberta Dental Association and College (ADA&C) says it’s “aware of a disruption” at a Calgary orthodontist’s office that has drawn outcries online over services that were allegedly paid for but not completed.
In an email confirmed to Global News from late January, Dr. Richard Halpern writes to his patients that “for several personal reasons I am no longer able to provide you with orthodontic care.”
On a number of online review sites, commenters who claim they were patients say they paid for services that were not finished by the time of that email and beyond.
“We understand patients have been given contradictory information and are understandably confused and frustrated,” read a statement from ADA&C CEO Dr. Randall Croutze.
“The ADA&C, along with the Alberta Society of Orthodontists (ASO), have reached out to the larger orthodontic community in Calgary and area to help provide resources for these patients, including being as accommodating as possible regarding treatment fees.”
When asked to provide his side of the situation, Dr. Halpern said he “cannot provide any comment.”
In an email, ASO President Greg Barnett said: “the most heartbreaking cases are the ones who have paid up front, or at least are done paying their contract, but still have braces on and require months of further treatment, retainers, etc.”
“Orthodontists are aware of this terrible situation and are jumping in to help,” Barnett’s email read.
“We understand the frustration and sense of panic patients are having and want to reassure them that the rest of the profession in Calgary and beyond is stepping up to help.”
The ADA&C is advising any impacted patients to not postpone any treatment they need because of this incident. Halpern’s office will open again next Tuesday after the long weekend for patients to access their records.
Halpern’s late January email also states that patients would be left in the care of two other orthodontists, who told Global news in a statement that their “concern for the patients that would be left stranded required us to step in an interim basis to assess the unfortunate decision.”
The ADA&C is now working with “the orthodontists involved to ensure continuity of care for these patients, and that the integrity of patients’ records are upheld,” according to Croutze’s statement.