Much of the following comes from a Yelp posting of mine initially submitted February 5, 2012. It’s still there, but hard to find under “Filtered Reviews”.
Here are some facts regarding our two daughters treatment at Newhart Orthodontics by Damian Newhart. He requested and obtained payment in full for orthodontic treatment of both girls, amounting to over $6,500. Less than a year later, he suddenly closed his practice and became unavailable by telephone or email. We have been unable to obtain the girls’ medical records to take to another practitioner. We have been unable to find out what happened to the fees we paid up front.
We had a terrible experience. Our youngest had an appliance known as a hyrax palatal expander that fell off no fewer than 4 times – 3 of those in the course of as many months. She also had brackets fall off at least 4 times, too. When we saw a reputable orthodontist to continue the treatment that Dr. Newhart abandoned for our oldest daughter, after taking x-rays he told us that he’d rather take all the brackets off and start over, the work was so badly done.
In a letter sent by email on January 22, Dr. Newhart indicated that he’d referred his patients to another orthodontist. When we contacted that unfortunate practice, it had been overwhelmed with calls from Dr. Newhart’s former patients. They said they knew nothing of it and didn’t have access to patient records – much less the fees for services that were never rendered by Dr. Newhart.
There is a considerable amount of confusion because Dr. Newhart did business as Newhart Orthodontics. In fact, he has a Fictitious Business Permit with the Dental Board of California under that name. There’s another business in LA by the same name that claims to have no affiliation with Dr. Newhart, even though the LA business is owned by Dr. Newhart’s step dad. I wonder, though, why they wouldn’t have forced the Laguna Niguel Newhart Orthodontics to cease and desist using their name all this time.
Lesson learned. Make sure your provider has completed an accredited program in Orthodontia. Don’t pay them the entire fee in advance. Check them out thoroughly. Look at the Orange County Court web site. For example, just by looking at the public record we could have found out about the 9 civil cases and the conviction for Grand Theft by looking at the Court web site under his name. Had we done our research, we might have avoided all this.
We are filing a complaint with the Dental Board of California and are looking into other judicial avenues as well.
UPDATE FEBRUARY 5, 2013
Dr. Newhart posted a Yelp review of his own (it was filtered, but you can see it if you look in the filtered reviews). We hope that Dr. Newhart is truly sincere in his intentions to make his patients whole. If that is the case, we would expect to hear a response very soon to our polite telephone messages left on his office voice mail and our polite emails sent requesting medical records and refunds for services not rendered.
In the meantime, having heard nothing, we’ll continue to pursue all remedies available to us.
UPDATE FEBRUARY 8, 2013
Well, we actually did hear from Dr. Newhart. In response to one email requesting access to medical records and a discussion of fee refunds, we got the following, “Thank you. I will have everything to you shortly.” That was February 5th. I responded 24 hours later, asking why we hadn’t heard further and making the same inquiries as before. This time I got a response indicating that the records couldn’t be sent via email without permission due to HIPAA. Also indicating that he would do all he could to “make this right for you guys”. That was February 6th. I immediately sent permission to email the records and asked several questions about some statements he made regarding reimbursement. Nothing was heard and late in the day February 7 I emailed again with much the same questions. At this writing (February 8) there’s been nothing since the February 6 email promising the records by email if permission was granted. I’ll update if we actually receive the records or there’s any substantive discussion on fees. Don’t hold your breath.
UPDATE FEBRUARY 12, 2013
Nothing heard. Nada. Zilch. Crickets. Looks like another empty promise from Dr. Newhart. We took the girls to a reputable orthodontist yesterday and were very pleased with him. Unfortunately, he can’t access the girls’ medical records, either, but was kind enough to discount his fees given our situation.