Flatbush dentist serves community with pride

Taking pride in his craft, Dr. Wordie performs general dentistry to patients of all ages and teaches them dental hygiene.
Community News Group / Alexandra Simon

A Flatbush dentist serving the Prospect Lefferts-Gardens community for 38 years takes pride in his honest business approach and the dental needs of his predominantly Caribbean community, and has been for the past three decades.

Specializing in general dentistry, doctor Samuel Wordie’s services include cleaning, treatment, evaluation, instructive oral hygiene, and much more. But his main focus for his patients is preventive care to avoid long-term dental issues, and genuine time. But recently he has seen the negative effects of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

“I’ve been in this business long enough to see the way some offices operate, and some are more on the business side of things, and not on the concern or special needs of the patient,” said doctor Wordie. “I am concerned about the needs of the patients. What I wouldn’t do on a family member — I wouldn’t do on my patients just to make money.”

Wordie said the insurance demands of state and federal health plans, specifically in dentistry, enforce a volume of patients per dentist, which also results in poor dentistry. Insurances such as medicaid and plans under Obamacare provide the coverage, but no real advantage as it pertains to dental health, said Wordie.

“With these plans you have to see them in volume and their plan might be paying $19. For you to make the $100 you used to make for one patient, you have to see about five patients now — so the quality of care is not the same because of time allotment,” he said. The dental portion of Obamacare fees are very low and akin to medicaid, and some of those fees are even worse than medicaid.”

He also said it was not just harming his practice and others, but people were not aware of the subpar treatment they were receiving.

“With the Affordable Care Act they changed a lot of things — it’s gotten most people into these coverages that are not helping them,” said Wordie. “They are now charging so much premiums and deductible for patients to meet and if they can’t, unless you’re going to a specialist you’re not getting the same care.”

Years ago he removed his practice as an enrollee of medicaid, which he did in 1992. But in the last few years, he’s seen similar instances with Obamacare. Many of Wordie’s patients have been with him for 20 years and more, a significant number from families who have been patients of his for years. The only way he sees his practice improve is federal revisions to the current health care.

“It’s not only my clinic that needs help, it’s everybody and it’s up to congress to come up with a solution to this,” said Wordie. “Before the Affordable Care Act people had insurance, and the insurance had a bill and pace, and that’s how it used to it be. Now they give you a fee schedule as to how much they’re going to pay you, and you either take it or leave it.”

Doctor Wordie works on a schedule, seeing his patients by appointment only. The changes in the dental industry has changed in ways he did not imagine, but he said he will continue practicing dentistry until he can no longer do it.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected]local.com.

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