Father fights surprise 'behavior management' dental fee for son with autism

A Chicago father is fighting a surprise dental charge — labeled a "behavior management" fee — for his 10-year-old son who has special needs, CBS 2 reported.

"There was nothing that triggered a flag until the bill," Michael Johnson, father of 10-year-old Wesley, told CBS 2. "There was a behavior management fee for $75, which was the first time we'd seen that."

Wesley, who has autism, was accompanied by his therapist at a routine dental appointment in November. Wesley had been going to the same pediatric dentist in Naperville, Ill., for years.

When Mr. Johnson inquired about the charge, the office told him it was because Wesley "required some extra help. It took a little bit longer, so the appointment went late."

Mr. Johnson said the fee seems like a form of discrimination. His insurance provider doesn't cover the fee.

The billing code is available to any dentist who runs over the allotted time with a patient, Ian Marion, DDS, clinical assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Dentistry, told CBS 2. Dr. Marion said the best practice would be to explain the fee before the appointment.

The unnamed dentist did not respond when CBS 2 reached out for comment.

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