Allcare Dental Chain Closes Unexpectedly

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

A New York-based dental chain unexpectedly shut down operations nationwide because of cash-flow problems, leaving patients without access to their records and offices unreachable by phone or computer.
Patients in states including New York, Michigan, Wisconsin and New Hampshire reported going to Allcare Dental & Dentures offices for scheduled appointments beginning Monday only to find the doors closed. Closings were also reported in Ohio and Pennsylvania. The company had an estimated 38 locations.
Hundreds of employees, meanwhile, wondered whether they would get paid for hours already worked and whether bonuses promised before Christmas would ever arrive.
"Nobody has any answers to anything. Everybody's lost their job so nobody can help you with anything," said Tara Mongold, who worked at the company's call center in the Buffalo suburb of Clarence for more than three years. About 110 people were employed there, she said Tuesday.
Company executives did not respond to phone messages, and the company's primary website was down.
Notices posted on office doors referred patients to an alternate website, which explained that Allcare could not notify patients of the closing in advance because its phone system and computer network had been abruptly shut down by its network provider.
Patients with dental emergencies were advised to call 911. Patient records and unfinished dental work were being transferred to other dentists, the website said.
A notice from Allcare to the New Hampshire Board of Dental Examiners dated Sunday said "the entire company has run out of money, thus rendering it unable to open for business as usual effective Monday."
On the web posting for consumers, the company said its plans to address financial problems by closing underperforming offices while raising capital from an equity group had fallen through, and that attempts to obtain bridge financing also had failed.
"There are no plans at this time to reopen the offices," the posting said. "We want to assure you that this sudden closing situation was not our intent; it was due to circumstances beyond our control that arose very quickly."
Allcare employees said they'd been put on two-week furloughs to save money in mid-December. Mongold said workers returned to the home office Dec. 27 and worked a full day but were sent home the following morning because the power was out.
"We knew something was going on," Mongold said. "Then on New Year's Eve they gave us a call and said the office was closing."
She expressed little hope of collecting a $400 bonus she said was owed to her.
Incorporated in 2001, Allcare, at one time, had 58 locations but had reduced the number through consolidations and closings to improve efficiency, Mongold said.
The New York State Education Department, the dental licensing agency, lists no disciplinary action against Allcare or its principal, Robert Bates of Clarence, a department spokesman said.
Neither Bates nor Chief Executive Officer David Pennington returned calls Tuesday.
In an April 2009 agreement with Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett, Allcare agreed to pay $135,000 to settle consumer complaints about deceptive advertising and financing information. Allcare said it disagreed with the claims but settled in the interest of patient satisfaction.
In August, the company was among several health care providers that received subpoenas from then-New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo as part of an investigation into high-interest credit cards offered by providers to finance procedures not covered by insurance. It was unknown Tuesday what, if any, effect, the ongoing probe had on Allcare's business. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office said it was aware of the shutdown and was looking into it.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Bryony Location: Holt, MI on Jan 6, 2011 at 06:22 AM
    I still have $2500 worth of unfinished work there including a partial on the bottom. And with the state they have left my mouth, I struggle to eat everyday. What am I supposed to do now?
  • by Sharon Location: Stockbridge on Jan 6, 2011 at 06:11 AM
    I want the the dental work I have paid for completed or I want my money back.It has taken years for me to decide to get this work done because of the cost. There was always something else more important (kids,shelter,heat, food, just life).32 years of adult life waiting to smile without embarrasement. Now that Allcare has nearly $8,000.00 of my money, which I will never be able to pay again,I won"t be smiling again. To the Allcare of Lansing manager I trusted you. My mistake.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 5, 2011 at 11:23 AM
    Where is a good class action attorney when you need one. Seems to me that either the state or BBB or someone should be able to go after the owners of the company and either get the people what they paid for or get them their money back. This is not just sad it criminal and as I see it fraud.
  • by betty j spurbeck Location: eaton rapids on Jan 5, 2011 at 07:55 AM
    I am out $3000.00 dollars and my 2 partials what do I DO NOW i will be paying for at less two years on this bill with nothing to show for it
  • by Dawn Location: Stockbridge, Michigan on Jan 5, 2011 at 04:30 AM
    I am one of the patients, and I had an appt. this morning to pick up 2 partial plates. I paid in advance for them and other dental work that has not been finished. All I want at this time are my partials. Need to know where to call to find where they are. Someone has to know..
  • by Jen Location: Williamston on Jan 5, 2011 at 04:29 AM
    "Patients with dental emergencies were advised to call 911." WHAT?!?!? I don't think so. I am terribly sorry for all the people who've lost their jobs with so many unknowns regarding compensation and such. It's so sad that, most likely, anyone who prepaid for anything will never see their money again. I'm so glad we gave the "Big Boys" their bailouts. Aren't you?
  • by Brian Location: Charlotte on Jan 4, 2011 at 04:07 PM
    yes but what about those who have paid for services that have not been rendered. Is the state of michigan going to help us out or are whe left out in the cold and out of our money.
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