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abusive doctor @ Heart of Chelsea

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  • #16
    Re: abusive doctor @ Heart of Chelsea

    Dear Sir:

    I am sorry for you had to experience. It sounds like everything in the USA which considers health care. Doctors are into making money not healing patients, and there is no difference either the patient is human or a human's best friend.

    This makes me angry. And yes I know Dr. Ficarra and her Downtown Veterinary Clinic is a full service veterinary facility dedicated to proactive pet care. She is really wonderful but also very expensive.

    Look I am from the Netherlands and my country has a dual level system. All primary and curative care (i.e. the family doctor service and hospitals and clinics) is financed from private compulsory insurance. Long term care for the elderly, the dying, the long term mentally ill etc. is covered by social insurance funded from taxation. That includes pet care.

    Insurance companies must offer a core universal insurance package for the universal primary, curative care which includes the cost of all prescription medicines. They must do this at a fixed price for all. The same premium is paid whether young or old, healthy or sick. It is illegal in The Netherlands for insurers to refuse an application for health insurance, to impose special conditions (e.g. exclusions, deductables, co-pays etc or refuse to fund treatments which a doctor has determined to be medically necessary). The system is 50% financed from payroll taxes paid by employers to a fund controlled by the Health regulator. The government contributes an additional 5% to the regulator's fund. The remaining 45% is collected as premiums paid by the insured directly to the insurance company. Some employers negotiate bulk deals with health insurers and some even pay the employees' premiums as an employment benefit). All insurance companies receive additional funding from the regulator's fund. The regulator has sight of the claims made by policyholders and therefore can redistribute the funds its holds on the basis of relative claims made by policy holders. Thus insurers with high payouts will receive more from the regulator than those with low payouts. Thus insurance companies have no incentive to deter high cost individuals from taking insurance and are compensated if they have to pay out more than might be expected. Insurance companies compete with each other on price for the 45% direct premium part of the funding and try to do negotiate deals with hospitals to keep costs low and quality high. These deals are visible to the regulator who ensures fair play for the policyholders.
    Hospitals in the Netherlands are also regulated and inspected but are mostly privately run and for profit, as are many of the insurance companies. Patients can choose where they want to be treated and have access to information on the internet about the performance and wait times at each hospital. Patients dissatisfied with their insurer and choice of hospital can cancel at any time but must make a new agreement with another insurer.
    Insurance companies can offer additional services at extra cost over and above the universal system laid down by the regulator, e.g. for dental care. The standard monthly premium for health care paid by individual adults is about 100? per month. Persons on low incomes can get assistance from the government if they cannot afford these payments. Children under 18 are insured by the system at no additional cost to them or their families because the insurance company receives the cost of this from the regulator's fund.

    All I know is that the system works and that people and pets have other kind of problems.

    Comment


    • #17
      Re: abusive doctor @ Heart of Chelsea

      Ahh Fitz,

      That's so sad too! Don't be too hard on yourself, with allergies and all you went out of your way to help that cat - it would?ve suffered a worse fate had it just been left to get hit by a car or something else horrible.
      You're right, customer service is the pits here.

      When I lived in Cyprus, the neighborhood cat came in my window with her skull cracked open and crying at 3am. I woke up a vet I found in the phonebook who even though obviously groggy, he opened up his shop for me to come in.
      She needed stitches, an abortion (she was in no shape to carry a litter) and to be neutered. At the end of it all, he charged me a "nominal fee" because I was a student.

      When I told my friend in Athens, Greece (where there are feral dogs and cats everywhere) about Heart of Chelsea, she flipped out and reminded me how vets really care about their profession and would open shop in the middle of the night for an emergency.
      "This is just TERRIBLE - appalling in fact! So sorry that you and he had to suffer such inhumane treatment. I must say that this is one instance where Greece offers more compassionate services - my vet is even prepared to work for free when he feels it would ensure the animal will get treatment that the owner may not be able to afford."

      Even my friends in Queens were outraged and told me that their vet has opened for them at all hours when it was life threatening.

      It's really sweet how Downtown Veterinary Clinic (19th/8th) houses some homeless animals and puts pictures up in the window of them advertising to be adopted. Like I mentioned in another post Dr. Ficarra tried to get my cat hitched with one in the office

      It's nice to know there are so many fellow friends of furries around here in Chelsea!
      v

      Comment


      • #18
        Re: abusive doctor @ Heart of Chelsea

        Shortly after Heart of Chelsea opened, I came across a stray black kitten that was desperately trying to find a friend. I have two cats already and this one appeared sick and certainly had fleas. I took her to HOC and Dr. Siebert treated her, cleaned her up, and boarded her until a home could be found. When that home didn't work out (the owner moved to subsidized housing and wasn't allowed pets), Dr. Siebert adopted her himself.

        When I knew that my beloved cat Ziggy couldn't stand to suffer another day with his intestinal cancer, I called Dr. S on THANKSGIVING DAY and he met me at his office to perform the euthanasia.

        Heart of Chelsea has many pro bono clients who can't afford vet bills and others who pay a fraction of the bill. I think that had we heard the expletives uttered by this obviously upset pet owner, we might not have thought that Dr. Cohen's reaction was so out of line (and I seriously doubt that it all went down exactly as described)!

        Comment


        • #19
          Re: abusive doctor @ Heart of Chelsea

          I'm So So Sorry to hear about your kitty, Vidis. I certainly hope you're both doing better.

          As a healthcare practicioner, this upsets me. Clearly, I take care of people, not pets. But the guiding principle should be the same. My partner and I have two small dogs. Before we "blended" our family, he took his pup to H.O.C. and had a horrifying experience. He felt like the doctor (I just asked him but he cannot recall the name) was very rough with his dog and dismissive of his concerns. When we started dating (years ago) I mentioned that I have been going to West Cheslea Veterinary Hospital for years and that I just love them. He switched and we've been taking our babies there for years.

          I wish all doctors (of the human variety) were as kind, compassionate and caring as they are at West Chelsea to my dogs. When my older dog passed away three years ago, they were with me through it all. They made the difficult, weekly visits in the last year of his ailing life more comforting to both him and to me. You should check them out at http://www.westchelseavet.com/ as they just moved into a brand new space on 26th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues. It is all state of the art, modern and clean. I can't speak enough of their doctors, particularly Dr. Jennifer Mlekoday-- she's LITERALLY saved my dog's life with her keen diagnostic skills. As someone who spends his days diagnosing human ailments, I cannot stress enough how impressed I am with her capabilities.

          Again, I'm so sorry for what you went through and I hope you and your kitty are both doing well.

          Comment


          • #20
            Re: abusive doctor @ Heart of Chelsea

            Originally posted by jazzsmith View Post
            I think that had we heard the expletives uttered by this obviously upset pet owner, we might not have thought that Dr. Cohen's reaction was so out of line (and I seriously doubt that it all went down exactly as described)!
            Trust, I left skid marks and didn't get to say half the things that were on my mind at that moment. Besides, remember I was the one reacting to her when she insolently told me and my cat to cough up or drop dead.

            Comment


            • #21
              Re: abusive doctor @ Heart of Chelsea

              I'm sorry to have to question your honesty, but I know Heart of Chelsea and I don't know you and, thus, just don't believe your story. Possibly, you remember it that way, but I have never experienced anything other than kindness, compassion, and professionalism at HOC. To hear you slander them and to read all the replies that just accept it as fact is nothing short of criminal.

              Comment


              • #22
                Re: abusive doctor @ Heart of Chelsea

                If you read my story again you will see that I did mention how the staff there have always been "very pleasant and everybody from the front desk to the back rooms are very kind and polite".
                I am not sure what you think is missing from the script - except when I was in tears and looked at my cat in the cage, and then out the window to catch my breath and think what I should do, and that's when Dr. Cohen interjected that he would die if I didn't pay.

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                • #23
                  Re: abusive doctor @ Heart of Chelsea

                  Most Importantly: H O W I S Y O U R C A T ? ? ?

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Re: abusive doctor @ Heart of Chelsea

                    Originally posted by Vidis View Post
                    How is this a courteousy to clients with existing appointments?
                    You split the $35 with them?
                    I think he is trying to say that the $35 is a deterrant to prevent people from walking in every time claiming it's an emergency even when it isn't. Because that really would not be fair to the people who have appointments and are waiting. Personally, if my dog were having a real emergency I would happily pay an extra $35. Compare it to the cost of one ofthose emergency rooms for pets and you will still come out ahead

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Re: abusive doctor @ Heart of Chelsea

                      Originally posted by jazzsmith View Post
                      I'm sorry to have to question your honesty, but I know Heart of Chelsea and I don't know you and, thus, just don't believe your story. Possibly, you remember it that way, but I have never experienced anything other than kindness, compassion, and professionalism at HOC. To hear you slander them and to read all the replies that just accept it as fact is nothing short of criminal.
                      I am reading a lot of comments here where people had negative experiences at this place of business. People, including myself, are relaying their specific accounts of what happened to them.

                      I had a bad experience with them. So did 3 other people on this blog's thread alone. That's great that your time with them has been different. But because we are in a society of free ideas (and where capitalism rules), we are allowed to voice our opinions and make decisions on where we purchase our goods and services.

                      Slander is a harsh word to use, especially when you weren't there. You did not experience the situation first hand. How can you truly "believe" anyone when this is all second hand accounting anyway?

                      Besides, I'd say the manner in which Hocah18 responded to this complaint (just short of sorry) was insensitive. Based on that ALONE I would happily just go to the vet next door.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Re: abusive doctor @ Heart of Chelsea

                        Originally posted by DrEthan725 View Post
                        Most Importantly: H O W I S Y O U R C A T ? ? ?
                        Aww, He's taking his meds like a trooper. It seems to have been a UTI, but the meds are working and we're gonna stick with a diet now of mostly wet food and without grains, rice or by-products. Already he has begun to run around and play at all hours of the night, and make me get up as soon as the alarm clock goes off, so that he can eat

                        Thanks for asking!
                        v

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Re: abusive doctor @ Heart of Chelsea

                          Originally posted by Feefles View Post
                          I think he is trying to say that the $35 is a deterrant to prevent people from walking in every time claiming it's an emergency even when it isn't. Because that really would not be fair to the people who have appointments and are waiting. Personally, if my dog were having a real emergency I would happily pay an extra $35. Compare it to the cost of one ofthose emergency rooms for pets and you will still come out ahead
                          I can understand it being used as a deterrant, but when I am told by them that it is an emergency, then I think it warrants checking him in right away without a fee - especially for someone who didn't just walk in off the street, but is a longstanding customer that went there every few weeks to buy prescription food from them also.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Re: abusive doctor @ Heart of Chelsea

                            wow, this site is really great. i love animals and to hear these stories breaks my heart, but i am grateful to have the information. i have a small dog who was neglected and possibly abused before i adopted him. visiting a place like a vet's office is absolutely terrifying for him. while my experience at the heart of chelsea wasn't nearly as horrifying as some of the of what i've been reading here, i did not feel the staff there were skilled at dealing with a scared and insecure dog. i don't feel it's that uncommon since people rescue dogs with bad histories all the time. it was as if they had never experienced a dog like mine and were nervous to try to touch him. i was the only one who wasn't too scared to muzzle him, and that was because i knew how important a human's energy is to a dog, if they feel fear they will be fearful. anyone who works with dogs should know how important it is that they remain calm and assertive towards an insecure dog. i live part of the year in boston, ma, and when my dog had terrible stomach issues I had to take him to my mom's vet, and they were so amazing with him, and really put him at ease. so what a difference it makes to really care about your work and the animals you work with. perhaps some of the staff at the heart of chelsea don't love animals, it's hard to say. but they certainly should all study the dog whisperer and then they will get it. i think i will check out that other vet on 26th in the future, thanks for the recommendation.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Re: abusive doctor @ Heart of Chelsea

                              Vidis, really sorry to hear about what happened. And I'm glad to hear your little kitty is doing much better now!

                              I see a few people are now trying to blame you. Figures. It seems like the victim always eventually gets blamed! And I wanted to write in your defense.

                              But first, I have a question. You claimed they were going to charge you $100 to get in as an emergency patient. But Dr. Siebert said the charge is $35. Just curious if there's a chance they told you $35 and you just wrote $100 here to emphasize how bad it was that they would charge anything?

                              Secondly to jazzsmith, most businesses that have as many customers as I'm sure HOC has will certainly have stories they can tell of when they've done the right thing. No one here is claiming that HOC is 100% bad. And Vidis' original complaint wasn't about the "heart" of the Heart of Chelsea doctors, but about this outrageous "emergency" fee that they charge.

                              Originally posted by Hocah18 View Post
                              Dear Vidis,

                              We make every accomodation for clients that have emergency situations. In order to be courteous to our clients that have existing appointments that would be inconvenienced, we charge a nominal extra fee for emergency visits ($35).

                              We strive to make all our clients and patients welcome and at ease at our hospital. We clearly failed making you feel welcome and at ease when you walked into our office.
                              We will make every effort to take your comments into consideration and make our hospital better and more user friendly in the future.

                              Dr. Mark Siebert
                              Medical Director,
                              Heart of Chelsea Animal Hospital.
                              Dr. Siebert, I personally appreciate your willingness to appear here and respond to this complaint. I know that takes a lot of courage to come before an "angry" group like this! I hope you will take into consideration all the messages that have been posted here and see that this "emergency" fee you're charging is really infuriating to people. I don't think the people here have any particular ax to grind with HOC - what you are seeing are people's gut-level emotional and visceral reactions to being charged a fee - whatever the amount - to look at a pet which is in an emergency state.

                              I hope you can see how outrageous this kind of fee appears to people and how it appears that you are really just trying to take advantage of people who are basically at your mercy when their pet has an emergency.

                              And with all due respect Dr. Siebert, I'm sorry to say, but as others have pointed out, your explanation that you do this as a "courtesy" to your other clients just doesn't ring true.

                              With that said, I do admire and appreciate your courage for coming on here. And I appreciate clickyourblock for making it possible for us to air our opinions in this manner to Chelsea businesses. I genuinely hope you will make good on your promise to take our comments into consideration and drop that fee. If you do decide to do that, please let us know here. I think everyone will be very happy to see you make that change.

                              Originally posted by jazzsmith View Post
                              When that home didn't work out (the owner moved to subsidized housing and wasn't allowed pets), Dr. Siebert adopted her himself. When I knew that my beloved cat Ziggy couldn't stand to suffer another day with his intestinal cancer, I called Dr. S on THANKSGIVING DAY and he met me at his office to perform the euthanasia.

                              Heart of Chelsea has many pro bono clients who can't afford vet bills and others who pay a fraction of the bill. I think that had we heard the expletives uttered by this obviously upset pet owner, we might not have thought that Dr. Cohen's reaction was so out of line (and I seriously doubt that it all went down exactly as described)!
                              Jazzsmith - thanks for posting that. It goes to show HOC and Dr. Siebert have good hearts and they want what's best for the pets. I hope so. And anyone who knows many Doctors probably knows they aren't usually the best business people. This fee was a business decision and I think it can be chalked up to bad business on the part of a doctor, which isn't entirely unusual. (I say that with much understatement)! Having a heart for pets and making good business decisions aren't necessarily one and the same. What I hope Dr. Siebert will come to understand is that by charging this fee, it makes HOC look like they're in it just for the money and not because they really have a heart for pets. This fee needs to be dropped.

                              Originally posted by jazzsmith View Post
                              To hear you slander them and to read all the replies that just accept it as fact is nothing short of criminal.
                              I hope you meant this figuratively, because literally in fact, this is quite short of being criminal.

                              Originally posted by Feefles View Post
                              I think he is trying to say that the $35 is a deterrant to prevent people from walking in every time claiming it's an emergency even when it isn't.
                              Feefles, I'm sure that it is quite rare for people to walk in claiming they have an emergency when they don't. Rare enough anyway that a fee like this - applied to EVERYONE - would not be necessary. I'm sure there are times when people think they have an emergency when they really don't, but that's for the doctors to decide.

                              This fee could be charged only in those cases when the person really isn't having an emergency. These people at HOC should have enough discretion to know when the fee is necessary and when it's not. But when they are the ones who tell a client - like in Vidis' case - that it is an emergency, then to charge a fee like this is absolutely unconscionable.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Re: abusive doctor @ Heart of Chelsea

                                And Dr. Siebert, I hope you'll read PrinceofChelsea's post - Post # 28 (right before my last one). This is feedback for you from a real client who is telling you that your staff is not as good with animals as they should be. If I ran a vet's office, I would be very disturbed by what he had to say in that post.

                                I hope you understand as well that we are all here commenting on your business, not because we wish you to leave Chelsea... because we need as many good vets here as we can get. But because we hope you'll stay and we hope you'll improve. Please let us know here if you decide to change your policy on emergency fees and if you plan to give some additional training to your staff so they'll be learn to be more comfortable with the animals.

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