Monday, February 11, 2013

Kool Smiles under investigation?

February 11, 2013
I'm hearing rumblings of a Kool Smiles investigation going on by a federal agency but its not the one I have would expected; although I'm not surprised to hear is taking place.

There are literally thousands of complaints from parents and patients online about the Kool Smiles call center, for example:

404-781-0512 "Kool Smiles continues to call my cell phone and harass me almost daily...even after I've told them numerous times to stop..."

"They are so pressed to get your business that they disregard your privacy.."

"...I receive several phone calls a week from Kool Smiles to both my cell phone and my husband's..."

"These callers call me again and again..."

I'm told their automated system was a train wreck and Kool Smiles is fully aware of it.

Essentially set up as an appointment reminder it soon turned into high pressure sales calls to get parents to bring their child back for more torturous dental care. As long as the number was a "good" number Kool Smiles would continue the harassment. Same as they are with children's teeth, as long as there is prospective tooth to treat, it got treated, needed or not.

Apparently there has finally been enough complaints and the FCC is investigating. This is not confirmed by the FCC but my sources are solid.

In further Kool Smiles news:

I'm told Kool Smiles in Texas are being converted to their latest brain child - Resolution Dental. All expansion plans for new offices that were scheduled to open in 2013 have been cancelled.

Kool Smiles must have come to terms and accepted that the unlimited access to Texas Medicaid is no longer their cash cow.

Recent layoffs of 100 or more administrative personnel indicates FFL Partners-the private equity firm who actually owns NCDR, LLC and operates Kool Smiles clinics- are seeing their investment slip away.

Is this FFL Partners attempt to enter the private insurance and cash paying market -Resolution Dental- their "Hail Mary" pass? I believe so.

However with a few statistically places personnel within the walls private insurers this could work. For example, former Small Smiles Vice President of Government Relations, Todd Cruse, now holds the same position at DentaQuest - previously known as Doral Dental.

Current administrative employees at NCDR and Kool Smiles are seeing the writing on the wall and are in search of other employment. We need to be vigilant and on the lookout, as these well trained "artful dodgers" will be showing up at other companies in the near future; as in the example of Mr. Cruse at DentaQuest.

Will FFL Partners be able to attract enough patients with private insurance fast enough to save their sinking ship? It's doubtful. Kool Smiles dental center locations are not ideal for their new market.

FFL Partners has made more than one attempt to unload their string of Kool Smiles clinics more than once over the three years and have been unsuccessful each time.

Indicated by the layoffs of the higher paid employees, uptick in complaints of unnecessary and over-treatment, the pay hold of funds from Texas Medicaid is having a major blow to FFL Partners' Kool Smiles Dental center division.

It's demise can't come quick enough. I'll be watching.