Panama City Office
Appointments available Monday - Thursday from 7:30 am to 5:00 pm and on Fridays by appointment only. We are closed for lunch from 12:30 pm to 2:00 pm. For more information, see our Contact Us page.
Santa Rosa Beach Office
Appointments available Monday - Thursday 7:30 am - 4:30 pm and on Fridays by appointment only. We are closed for lunch from 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm.
To schedule an appointment for your child, please call during regular business hours. Should you activate our voice messaging system, please leave a brief message and we will return your call promptly. Our office staff will make every attempt to schedule appointments at your convenience.
Preschool Children should be seen in the mornings because they are fresher and we can allow more time to work slowly with the child to ensure they have a positive experience. School children who have a lot of dental work to be completed should also be scheduled in the mornings for the same reason. Dental appointments are an excused absence and your child will be given a written excuse for his/her school. Routine check-ups at the dentist can help keep missed school days at a minimum.
Since appointment times are reserved exclusively for each patient we ask that you please notify our office 48 hours in advance of your child's scheduled appointment time if you are unable to keep it. Another child who needs our care could be scheduled if we have sufficient time to notify them. We realize that unexpected things can occur, but we ask for your assistance in this regard. We also ask that you make every effort to arrive on time, as arriving late may require us to delay or reschedule your child's visit. It is preferred that you arrive 10 to 15 minutes prior to the appointment time to complete any needed medical or dental questions. We provide interpreters when needed for translation of non-English speaking families at no additional charge.
What About Finances?
Payment for professional services is due at the time dental treatment is provided. Every effort will be made to provide a treatment plan which fits your timetable and budget, and gives your child the best possible care. We accept cash, debit cards, most major credit cards and CareCredit.
Office Policies and Procedures:
Regarding Dental Insurance
If we have received all of your insurance information on the day of the appointment, we will be happy to file your claim for you. You must be familiar with your insurance benefits, as we will collect from you the estimated amount insurance is not expected to pay. By law your insurance company is required to pay each claim within 30 days of receipt. We file all insurance claims electronically, so your insurance company will receive each claim within days of the treatment. You are responsible for any balance on your account after 30 days, whether insurance has paid or not. If you have not paid your balance within 60 days a re-billing fee of 1.5% will be added to your account each month until paid. We will be glad to send a refund to you if your insurance pays us.
PLEASE UNDERSTAND that we file dental insurance as a courtesy to our patients. We do not have a contract with your insurance company, only you do. We are not responsible for how your insurance company handles its claims or for what benefits they pay on a claim. We can only assist you in estimating your portion of the cost of treatment. We at no time guarantee what your insurance will or will not do with each claim. We also can not be responsible for any errors in filing your insurance. Once again, we file claims as a courtesy to you.
Fact 1 - NO INSURANCE PAYS 100% OF ALL PROCEDURES
Dental insurance is meant to be an aid in receiving dental care. Many patients think that their insurance pays 90%-100% of all dental fees. This is not true! Most plans only pay between 50%-80% of the average total fee. Some pay more, some pay less. The percentage paid is usually determined by how much you or your employer has paid for coverage, or the type of contract your employer has set up with the insurance company.
Fact 2 - BENEFITS ARE NOT DETERMINED BY OUR OFFICE
You may have noticed that sometimes your dental insurer reimburses you or the dentist at a lower rate than the dentist's actual fee. Frequently, insurance companies state that the reimbursement was reduced because your dentist's fee has exceeded the usual, customary, or reasonable fee ("UCR") used by the company.
A statement such as this gives the impression that any fee greater than the amount paid by the insurance company is unreasonable, or well above what most dentists in the area charge for a certain service. This can be very misleading and simply is not accurate.
Insurance companies set their own schedules, and each company uses a different set of fees they consider allowable. These allowable fees may vary widely, because each company collects fee information from claims it processes. The insurance company then takes this data and arbitrarily chooses a level they call the "allowable" UCR Fee. Frequently, this data can be three to five years old and these "allowable" fees are set by the insurance company so they can make a net 20%-30% profit.
Unfortunately, insurance companies imply that your dentist is "overcharging", rather than say that they are "underpaying", or that their benefits are low. In general, the less expensive insurance policy will use a lower usual, customary, or reasonable (UCR) figure.
Fact 3 - DEDUCTIBLES & CO-PAYMENTS MUST BE CONSIDERED
When estimating dental benefits, deductibles and percentages must be considered. To illustrate, assume the fee for service is $150.00. Assuming that the insurance company allows $150.00 as its usual and customary (UCR) fee, we can figure out what benefits will be paid. First, a deductible (paid by you), on average $50, is subtracted, leaving $100.00. The plan then pays 80% for this particular procedure. The insurance company will then pay 80% of $100.00, or $80.00. Out of a $150.00 fee they will pay an estimated $80.00 leaving a remaining portion of $70.00 (to be paid by the patient). Of course, if the UCR is less than $150.00 or your plan pays only at 50% then the insurance benefits will also be significantly less.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, please keep us informed of any insurance changes such as policy name, insurance company address, or a change of employment.
Panhandle Pediatric Dentistry will take reasonable steps to ensure that persons with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) have meaningful access and an equal opportunity to participate in our services, activities, programs and other benefits. The policy of Panhandle Pediatric Dentistry is to ensure meaningful communication with LEP patients/clients and their authorized representatives involving their medical conditions and treatment. The policy also provides for communication of information contained in vital documents, including but not limited to, waivers of rights, consent to treatment forms, & post-operative instructions. All interpreters, translators and other aids needed to comply with this policy shall be provided without cost to the person being served, and patients/guardians and their families will be informed of the availability of such assistance free of charge.
It is the policy of Panhandle Pediatric Dentistry not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. Panhandle Pediatric Dentistry has adopted an internal grievance procedure providing for prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging any action prohibited by Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (42 U.S.C. § 18116) and its implementing regulations at 45 C.F.R. pt. 92, issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Section 1557 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability in certain health programs and activities.
If you have questions about our non-discrimination policy:
Please contact Lauren Backus, Panhandle Pediatric Dentistry’s Section 1557 Coordinator. She coordinates the efforts of Panhandle Pediatric Dentistry to comply with Section 1557 and can be reached at 3123 West 23rd Street Panama City Florida 32405, 850-481-1969, Fax 850-481-1972, Berrydoc@ppdpc.net.
Any person who believes someone has been subjected to discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability may file a grievance under this procedure. It is against the law for Panhandle Pediatric Dentistry to retaliate against anyone who opposes discrimination, files a grievance, or participates in the investigation of a grievance.