What happened to Accure Dental & Dentures?
That’s what patients of the former Meridian dentist’s office and denture lab wanted to know when they called the Idaho Board of Dentistry.
The office and its owner, dentist Tera Greene, had gone quiet. Patients couldn’t get their records. Some of them had prepaid for dental work and wondered whether they’d ever get a refund.
It’s not the first time the dentist has been accused of leaving patients in a lurch. The Washington State Department of Health last year issued a statement of charges against Greene that includes patient abandonment.
“We started getting phone calls from patients [the week of March 12] that there were signs on the door and the doctor wasn’t there anymore,” Susan Miller, executive director of the Idaho Board of Dentistry, told the Statesman on Monday. “Apparently, there had been some kind of arrangement with another doctor to take patients, but we found the agreement was never fully executed, so patients were left up in the air.”
The board stepped in, seizing the patient records. That way, at least, patients could take their records to their new dentist.
The board has now talked with at least three dozen former patients who didn’t have a new dentist lined up.
“There were a few days when it was a bit like a call center,” Miller said.
Patients had complained over the years to the Idaho Attorney General’s Office. The office’s consumer protection division received 13 complaints about Greene between February 2012 and April 2017. Two of those complaints, from 2017, remain unresolved, according to Attorney General spokesman Scott Graf. The office heard from a few more people Tuesday, after the Statesman reported on the allegations against Greene, he said.
The phone number for Accure was still functioning as of Monday, but its voicemail box was full. The Statesman was unable to reach Greene by phone or social media as of Monday night.
It’s not the first time Greene has been accused of leaving patients without dental care.
The Washington health agency said in 2017 that Greene owned an Accure office in Lynnwood and employed a dentist there to provide services.
That dentist removed a patient’s teeth between October 2013 and February 2014. The patient was to return several months later, after healing from the surgery, to get permanent dentures. But Greene closed the office without notifying the patient in September 2014. The patient had paid more than $5,000 for the dentures, which were supposed to include free denture cleanings twice a year, oral exams once a year and a seven-year warranty.
Accure never provided the dentures or refunded the patient’s money, the state’s complaint said. The complaint charged Greene with unprofessional conduct and patient abandonment. Her license in Washington has expired.
Public records suggest the recent closure of her Meridian office resulted from financial troubles.
Accure Dental & Dentures filed for bankruptcy in June 2017. The business had about $55,751 in assets and owed about $762,970 to creditors at the time. Those debts included overdue rent, unpaid taxes, fees to local law firms, advertising bills and patient refunds. Many of the debts are marked as “disputed.”
The Idaho Board of Dentistry now has a pending administrative complaint against Greene for patient abandonment. The board sent it to Greene so she can answer the claims, Miller said. It’s the first case of patient abandonment the Idaho board has seen, as far as Miller knows.
The board also is working with the Idaho attorney general’s consumer protection division. Patients who have questions about their records or want copies of the records can contact the board at firstname.lastname@example.org or (208) 334-2369. Patients with consumer disputes — such as having paid Accure for services they never received — can contact the state’s consumer protection division at (208) 334-2424.