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For six years I have worked in the Dental field. Such time yielded experience enough to position me as “Back Office Supervisor” at the last Dental Office I worked for.
During my tenure as Supervisor, besides of being in charge of Ordering Supplies and to Coordinate Dental Assistants’ duties, I developed a good working relationship and communication skills with fellow employees, as well as I was keen enough to develop a great professional relationship with each and every one of my patients, something I have noticed Management had struggled to achieve with other Dental Assistants. As such, my job was related to duties performed as Dental Assistant, initially; and secondly, in the Front Office, Confirming Appointments with patients, gather Insurance Information, check for Dental benefits, Create Patients Charts in the system, Coordinate the Delivery and Receipt of dental cases from different laboratories, etc.
Unfortunately, almost from the start, as my skills and professionalism took root in a rather malicious office work environment, I noticed a very unwelcome attitude from one very “influential” employee who worked at the Front Office.
It was as if my Hispanic background alone had been the cause of an all outrage of discriminatory behavior by this person. Though I did not care much about it, in the beginning; after three months that “plain” condescending attitude of his had turned to vociferous comments of intolerance directed to my Hispanic heritage and/or me, of course. My job required me to have direct contact with him, which made my workday a very stressful journey. I did not know how to approach him without receiving a rude answer; but did know that, whenever he had the chance, he would make a racial remark. Also, his premeditated ignoring to my requests about important information regarding patients, cases, etc., caused me a great deal of falling behind my job’s responsibilities; thus, making me look bad in front of the Manager. Thus, I started to come in the office earlier to get the information I needed for the day by my own, instead of asking him for it; the less contact I had with him, the lesser stressed out I would become. Nevertheless, such emotional stress had already been, and unfairly enough, the culprit of frictions between me and Management. In plain English, he had become “my daily bread” for some “great’ emotional pain and stress, I did not need.
So, it is fair enough to mention a racial remark, or two, he made about my race and culture. As such, one instance was that he would complain about my accent; and, about how Mexican food had a bad smell (even when I am not of Mexican descent); or, that Hispanic people’s being too short and not educated at all... I knew this situation was not going to get any better, if I just let it go. I know racial remarks against a different culture are discriminatory and not, supposedly, permitted at a workplace.
So, I was ready to put an end to this situation by having a talk with the Office Manager. But, I wanted to keep it as professional and discreet as possible, because I considered there was a misconception about my culture. For as the Back Office Supervisor position was a great deal for me and that I had not been given this position before; I felt needed to take care of my own image and how to react to this difficult situation. Thus, I referred to the Employee Manual, where it outlines the process of presenting a complaint to the Office Manager.
I had taken notes and dates in which most incidents had occurred.
The first step I took was to contact the Manager and express my concerns. I did this verbally and in writing. Next, a meeting was scheduled, for me with the Manager only. During this meeting, I was able to express myself about the situation and I pointed out the different scenarios in which it had happened. A second meeting followed, for the Manager with the “accused man” only. And, as Final meeting, with me, the Manager and the man.
At the beginning of the meeting, I felt very overwhelmed about discussing my feelings in front of this person whom I felt he had disregarded my rights as a human and as a worker. But, as I started to say things that I had not spoken before, I felt relieved. I felt as if I had all the rights in the world to stop this situation, which was affecting my performance and my desire to come to work every day.
After I finished, he also spoke “openly” of a couple of bad experiences he had had in the past with Hispanics. We agreed that, even if we come from different ethnic backgrounds, we were part of a Team who was there to help patients in need of dental treatments; and, that we had a mission to provide the best customer service to our Patients, as well as to our Team members. We also agreed that, even though, he had bad experiences with other Hispanics, not all of them were the same.
As mature adults, working in a professional environment, we agreed to give each other a chance to start things over fresh. I received an apology, which made me feel respected.
I am glad; I had the courage to take upon this situation as calmed and professional as I did; without yelling or confronting him in front of other employees or even the patients. I felt proud of myself, because he could see in me that, even though he had unpleasant experiences among other people of my own culture, I was gracefully different. My professionalism helped me and him seeing things pleasantry different.
I learned, from this experience, that no matter where people come from, or the experiences they had in the past, they deserve to be respected and accepted; that as we are humans with qualities, just as we are with flaws. And, because we live in a multicultural country, we need to be open to know and accept different ethnic backgrounds. I also learned that it is better to give people the benefit of the doubt, and if the situation does not get better, the best way to do is to take things with calm and address the issue to the right person instead of creating a confrontation affecting the working environment of other employees and its customers.

Luisa Alvarado-Hoffman
Former Manager Tel. 818-709-6191


I had the opportunity to work as a Receptionist in a multi-health care facility. The Office Manager decided to implement a paperless and chartless system in order to reduce the usage and waste of paper. This meant that no record was to be kept on paper.
To accomplish this implementation the Manager divided the work plan into three separate tasks, to be done in Alphabetical order by three different workers. The task given to me consisted of transferring all documents or charts, from A to H, in hard copy to the new Digital System by scanning and filing electronically, and shredding the originals in order to comply with AHIPP/PIPEDA. So, in similar fashion, the other two workers carried out their assigned tasks.
We were trained to use new software where the new charts had already been created. We had to input the Patient’s Data; patient’s last name, first name and middle initial, along with the year they came in to the office for the first time. I had to verify the accuracy of the patient’s personal information, as well as the contact information written on an updated form, which was given to patients who had been informed of the new electronically change. Also, I had to double check for social and insurance numbers, change of address, telephone numbers, employment changes, marital status, and number of dependents. The accuracy in entering such information was also critical.
After I made sure I had updated all personal informations, without mistakes in spelling and numbers, I moved into the insurance information section. I made calls to insurance companies to verify benefits; upgrade or decrease benefits for the year, of the active patients. I had to be very careful, because a misspelled or a wrong number was crucial to the office for getting paid; so too, to patients for getting benefits covered or rejected for certain procedures.
Last, I electronically scanned all paper records from 7 years back, such as radiographs, oral and physical charting, records of past prescriptions, referrals from specialists, informed consents, etc. In a matter of two months, the office was considered complete and finally paperless.

Eddie Pinella
Former co-worker Tel. 818-255-8427.


When I was given the position of “Back Office Supervisor” at my last Dental Clinic job, I had to figure out how to dispose of biohazard materials and sharps (needles). Biohazard materials are any waste containing infectious matter or potentially infectious substances, such as blood. Needles used on patients to anesthetize have to be disposed of correctly, as well. Biohazard waste cannot be thrown out in regular garbage bins.
I had never been in charge for doing such a task, so I started by researching the information online. I looked for a trustful resource website. I looked for the Government’s Healthcare Administration website, where it listed the steps on how to dispose of the biohazard waste and needles. Also, it listed a number of recommended agencies. I looked for those closest to our location. I contacted them and inquired about their fees and how often they would collect such waste. In order to register with one of these agencies, I submitted all the necessary documentation, such as licenses and permits, as proof that the Dentist had all of them active and up-to-date. After I faxed the required documentation, the agency assigned the Dental Clinic with an account number. The agency provided us with special and specific containers for the disposure of biohazard materials and sharps. From that day on, the collection of such waste was scheduled to be picked up once every three weeks. The agency also provided us with a log, which needed to be signed by the person in charge of the actual disposal and by the driver picking up the waste. This log was very important because, in case the Department of Public Health decided to come in to check out our procedures on how to dispose biohazard and sharps, we would have proof that was being conducted in accordance with the Health Regulations.

Reference: Luisa Alvarado-Hoffman Former Manager Tel. 818-709-6191.…...

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