Howard Sussman, MD Stony Brook Family Medicine; Stony Brook University Medical Center — treatment, quality of care
Howard Sussman, MD, Stony Brook Family Medicine, Stony Brook University Medical Center
I was a patient with the above Doctor. I ordered a particular vaccine. It took months to get it from the pharmacy. I eventually learned that the problem was that my insurance would not cover it because this Doctor wanted me to bring it to him as opposed to the pharmacy shipping it to him directly as they normally do. The insurance company considered this dangerous because of storage requirements for this particular vaccine.
Finally after they agreed to get it directly the staff called and Tricia said I had to come in that day to get the shot because they do not hold vaccine. There was no prior notice. I learned from the pharmacy that the vaccine was good for 10 days and they got it the previous day. This was after I spent months trying to get it. I said that I could not come in that day but anytime the next day. I could also have come in the following week. She continued to insist that I come in that day and that Saturday was full. We went back and forth about it for 5 or 10 minutes. It is a clinic on Saturday. In my past experience they keep open appointments on Saturday morning for people with colds and things. In the past they have told me multiple times that if you want an appointment on Saturday call as soon as they open and they will have open appointments. Tricia called me back about 15 minutes later and said to come in on Saturday at 9AM.. In between I called and complained to the Guest Relations Dept. about the situation. When I came in first thing the next morning there were about two other patients there. I would estimate that there are about 25 offices in the suite. They took me almost immediately and I saw the nurse for about 5 minutes without a doctor and left. I saw no more people on the way out. The next week I received a letter from Sussman withdrawing from my treatment. Am I wrong in firmly concluding that this was a set up situation? The letter gave no reason and I sent Sussman a letter asking him to set forth reasons. Certified [protected]. He did not answer. If they were not full as claimed would this not confirm that this was a set up situation?
Shortly prior to this I had occasion to complain multiple times to the Hospital Guest Relations Department. They told me that I had to bring in the vaccine myself. The insurance would not cover it because they considered it dangerous because of specific storage requirements of this particular vaccine. Eventually Sussman agreed to have the pharmacy ship directly to him. It took months to get the vaccine after going through this. Around this time Sussman referred me to another department. at Stony Brook stating in writing that I needed an expedited appointment. This department ignored this request saying the nearest appointment was months away. I made multiple requests. This was despite the fact that I was already a patient at this department. I complained to the Guest Relations Department. They then agreed to make an expedited appointment after they contacted them. Could these things be related to the current situation?
In two statements to my insurance company they discussed this occurrence. They changed their story in certain places according to the letters that I received. 1. First they said that they told me to come in the same day because they do not hold vaccines and because they had availability on the schedule. In the second statement about a month later they said I was told to come in the same day because it took me so long to get the vaccine. 2. In the first statement they said I asked to come in the next day, Saturday. They said they told me that they were only open half a day on Saturday and were fully booked. It says I continued to request “to come in that day”. In the second statement it said I insisted on coming in only at 9AM. Not only is this ridiculous but I had no reason to do this. Not too many people think that they can dictate appointment times. Also why would I immediately call Guest Relations to complain if it was only about 9AM that I requested ? I assume that this is in phone records. I also could have come in the following week. Is it just coincidental that these changes put them in a better light? In both versions they make it a major point to say I was told I might have to wait because two people were already scheduled for this time. In the second one they say I was upset that this was told to me. The only thing I said was “as long as it would not be three hours”. I have had plenty of extended waits there. The thing that struck me is that they were making such a point of mentioning this. Is this supposed to bolster their claim that they were full when in fact they were not? As stated there was no wait at all. Would I be correct in believing that if there is a legitimate reason for someone's actions they should be able to easily state it without setting up things or making up or changing things ? It is my understanding that this individual teaches students. I have had multiple vaccines there without running into this. When I see the Doctor I go for treatment not to deal with his personal problems. I do not ask him to deal with my personal problems. Could he be under the impression that he is running a social club? If a convicted murderer went there I would guess that he would probably not be denied treatment. I have seen prisoners in the area.
The network management division of the insurance company personally visited Sussman's office to investigate the incident. Attached is the final finding from network management stating that; 1. my complaint about quality of care is substantiated 2. this procedure was not proper and 3. apologizing for the treatment that I received. They said the office themselves did not apologize.
NEW YORK EDUCATION LAW SECTION 6530(31) DEFINES PROFESIONAL MISCONDUCT AS WILLFULLY .HARASSING, ABUSING OR INTIMIDATING A PATIENT.
ARE WE TO BELIEVE THAT IT IS NORMAL TO INSIST THAT A PATIENT COME IN THE SAME DAY. WITH NO NOTICE? HOW MANY OTHER VACCINE PATIENTS WERE SUBJECT TO THIS SAME PROCEDURE? COULD THEY PRODUCE ONE?
WAS IT SIMPLY THEN COINCIDENTAL THAT SUSSMAN THEN WROTE A LETTER WITHDRAWING FROM TREATMENT WITHOUT A BETTER REASON AND THAT THERE WAS NO WAIT AT THE APPOINTMENT?
IF SUSSMAN ENGAGED IN COLLUSION WITH THE STAFF TO MAKE THIS WHOLE THING HAPPEN TO A PATIENT WOULD THIS NOT BE HARASSMENT, ABUSE OR INTIMIDATION OF A PATIENT?