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Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

An Image Conscience NYU Dental School tries to Verneer its Cavities

Jack Kemp

The New York Post recently reported that:


Trying to get information on a credit card scam at NYU’s Dental School was like pulling teeth.

A marijuana bust led police to uncover a massive identity theft operation that officials at the prestigious university tried to hush up, law enforcement sources told The Post.Joel Scott and James Giscombe Jr., who work with patients treated at the school, were busted last summer for allegedly lifting credit card information from more than 350 victims using a mini card skimmer.

They allegedly opened credit card accounts with it and went on shopping sprees totaling about $100,000....They are also accused of selling some of the stolen information to other scammers across the country.

Despite receiving several complaints from victims, the school did not notify other patients to be on the alert until the NYPD made the arrests, the sources said...NYU officials claim they weren’t aware of the scam until police contacted them the day after Scott’s arrest.


There are some details missing here. As I live in New York and I've known both an NYU Dental School faculty member and a patient who went there, let me fill in the cavities in the story, as it were.

Often listed in guides to saving money, the NYU Dental School has a clinic of patients who pay either nothing or a nominal fee for expensive dental services. The catch is: these patients are actually being worked on by dental college students, presumably with licensed dentist faculty supervision. The person I knew years ago who was treated at NYU praised the dental work she had done.

So we have here a free service business, a major one, run something like a government socialist health care enterprise. The patients don't pay. The management doesn't have to worry about rent or materials or labor. And the management has been caught by private newspaper in covering up a scandal. The management are all academic types and it would be a fair assumption that a majority of these administrators are liberal in outlook and definitely in economic practice.

Yes, some people steal identies at private businesses but those places tend to send out a warning to their PAYING clients. Their management fear lawsuits - and are probably deeply concerned for general reasons in a number of cases (can't give you statistics on this, as a digital machine to measure morality and integrity has not yet been invented).  But a university is used to telling young minds whatever it wants and having them accept it. And there is the unspoken truths of "you  get what you pay for" and (to put it harshly) "you patients are a bunch of deadbeats" lurking in the back of everyone's minds. The non-listening to initial complaints may reflect an attitude on the part of the college that these patients are lesser people and are not to  be treated as equals but peons or people with small children's minds.

So what does all this say about health care systems where the patient doesn't pay anything and assumes a Leviathan government or quasi-government (one has to assume that NYU gets many federal government grants, as their students get many federal government loans)? It says that the more intermediaries one has between the health care service and the service provider, the more impersonal the situation becomes - and the more the patient is assumed to be a number or a dolt - the worse that health care service becomes in some aspect, even if the actual work on the patient's body is pretty good. And this becomes more likely as the institution and/or the community it serves increases in size. But I am definitely not saying this type of problem couldn't happen in a small town, just that it is harder to remain unchecked in a community where everyone knows one another.

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