Five Benchmarks to Use When Choosing a Vein Center in Pittsburgh
Let’s Take a “Behind the Scenes” Look at Varicose Vein Treatments
You need a trained vascular surgeon and not just a self-proclaimed “phlebologist” to treat your varicose veins.
Most people search for the closest vein center without looking any further.
That usually leads to a regrettable outcome.
Let me explain.
The following is a concise guide on how to search for and choose a vein doctor in Pittsburgh.
Ready? Here we go.
#1 Standards and Ethics of Vein Care and Vein Fraud
Above all, you must set your standards high to get the best vein treatments possible.
All vein doctors are not the same.
Just like all apples aren’t the same.
There are McIntosh, Red Delicious, Granny Smith, and just plain old rotten ones.
Here’s an example.
Honest vein doctors have given consultations for patients who have come for a second opinion from a sketchy vein center. Often these patients never even got to see a doctor.
I often see patients who have been elsewhere and want a second opinion.
Patients with unsightly spider veins suspect something is wrong. Overly aggressive recommendations for unnecessary procedures made them uncomfortable. One patient who recently came to me for a second opinion told me that she had 35 spider vein treatments over the past year at another vein center in Pittsburgh. She went there every week faithfully. That vein franchise fraudulently submitted her spider vein treatments to her insurance company. Spider veins are considered cosmetic by all insurance companies and are not covered by insurance. The worst part of it was that the area that they treated behind her knee was still covered with spider veins!
Another common scenario at these other vein centers is the recommendation that the patient’s four saphenous veins need to be destroyed. Many times, these patients had only spider veins. This treatment is done for profit only and is unnecessary.
Many people have heard that their saphenous veins are needed for a possible future heart bypass. That’s why their idea of a second opinion suddenly became an epiphany.
Sure enough, when the venous test is repeated in the second doctor’s office, the Doppler test is entirely normal. It is a very common scenario. I have seen it myself too many times.
What’s the explanation?
No moral compass.
Plain and simple fraud.
Throw in abuse.
The worst part of this is that there are not just isolated examples.
If the doctor is not completely honest, there is also the potential for performing unnecessary testing resulting in unnecessary procedures.
It’s not unusual for the ultrasound test done by a technician to be deficient or just plain wrong. These tests are not easy to perform. Doppler venous ultrasound quality is highly operator dependent.
The importance of this fact is that many vein doctors base their entire treatment plan on the results of this examination. If the examination is wrong, your recommended treatment will be wrong. The wrong source of the problem may be treated or the true source of the problem could be entirely missed.
Here are some more really shocking facts about varicose vein treatments in Pittsburgh.
Most vein doctors in Pittsburgh don’t know how to check the technician’s findings by doing the reflux part of the test themselves.
That’s incompetence. Varicose vein doctors must be proficient in both performing and interpreting venous Doppler studies.
The doctors aren’t the only problem.
It’s a two-way street.
Patients ask me to bill fraudulently. How about a free pony for the kids or grand kids?
A vascular surgeon in Florida recently wrote about a patient asking him to treat her spider veins and submit the bill to insurance. She had been to a doctor in Jupiter, Florida who had already burned her normal saphenous vein. She didn’t know this or even care. She just wanted the next doctor to bill the cost of her spider veins (a cosmetic procedure) to her insurance company.
#2 Free Stuff, Dishonest Advertising, and Enticements from Vein Centers
A franchise in Pittsburgh entices unsuspecting patients with credit card gift cards ranging from $20 to $50 in their TV ads, on their web site, and on their Facebook page.
It’s also dispiriting to hear that they also advertise that 95% of veins are covered by insurance. That confuses patients when they are finally told the truth but it draws them in.
It’s wrong to advertise this way.
How about free consults?
Think about it for a minute. What reputable doctor even does free consultations let alone pays people to come in to have them done?
So how can do you determine if a vein center is right for you?
A patient-physician relationship today is more like a partnership.
And like any partner, a doctor who’s great for one patient may not be the right fit for another.
Do you want someone who will bill your insurance company fraudulently?
Ultimately, the most important question becomes – have you even checked the credentials of the so called vein specialists at these kinds of places?
Do you even know what those credentials mean?
Are they hiding the fact that they never even trained in venous disease?
Let me help you.
This link explains what you should look for when searching for qualifications in a vein doctor.
#3 Don’t Choose a Med Spa Vein Franchise
It sounds obvious but it’s not.
It may sound corny but at the risk of hubris, the Happel Laser and Vein Center is the guardian of something unique.
Of something you need when considering quality vein care. We are the custodians and the stewards of a founding principle understood by vascular surgeons.
We provide varicose vein care outside of the world of franchised vein medicine where profit is one of the primary motives.
Unlike med spas and cosmetic centers that advertise all of the time on television, Dr. Happel is a fellowship trained board certified vascular surgeon who has devoted his training and his life to specialize in venous and vascular disease.
Don’t expect that a doctor can practice venous disease appropriately after attending just a weekend course.
Laser companies are also quick to offer a quick one day hands-on course to use the laser that they are selling.
Knowing that, how does that make you feel?
That kind of training is inadequate and inappropriate. If are a victim of a franchise or a med spa that hires doctors with this kind of training, you’re in trouble.
I recently got a letter from a med spa looking for a vascular surgeon vein specialist.
They required no vein training at all for the doctor to fill this position.
In fact, they stated that that, “we will train you.”
Really? Is that what you want?
Of course not.
It’s sad, but oh so true.
#4 Your Cost in Unnecessary Tests and Unnecessary Procedures
The following ugly truth is hard to swallow. The problem is that it’s completely accurate. It’s not an embellishment or overstatement. I have saved the proof.
The quandary of dishonest physicians motivated by greed in the vein field has become pervasive. That environment will be also happy to perform unnecessary tests and unnecessary procedures to increase their bottom line.
“Trust, but verify.” –Ronald Reagan
The truth is that many varicose vein treatment centers have become a cesspool of avarice motivated by profit at the expense of the patient.
Doctor/entrepreneurs are metastasizing everywhere. The masters are in the field of phlebology.
With all due respect, they are setting people up like bowling pins.
Don’t let a doctor get rid of your saphenous vein if you only have spider veins. This is a sign of medical malpractice.
You need your saphenous vein’s for heart bypass surgery. They are almost never abnormal if you have only had spider veins.
Insurance companies are also cracking down for preventative treatment of varicose veins. There is no data to support this in the medical literature.
#5 Choosing Convenience Instead of Quality
Medical care for vein care has shifted to a convenience model instead of a priority model. Some patients seek the most convenient care the minute they sense a possible need.
Usually, that’s at the physically closest facility. They are not worrying about vetting the vein center’s credentials.
Do not just choose the closest vein doctor. That is the most common mistake that people make. Lately, a patient who lives fifteen minutes from my office asked if we had a closer branch office to her house.
That’s precisely why franchises sublet another doctor’s office once every two weeks so that you don’t have to drive very far. (Just for the initial consult to get their tentacles around you.)
But when it finally comes down to the day when you need to have your vein procedures, you find that you have to drive all the way across town to their central location anyway.
Its sneaky but it’s the modus operandi. It works. In the end, you find yourself inconvenienced driving to their location far from your neighborhood anyway.
What do you really want when looking to have your varicose veins treated?
- Ease of your vein treatments
- Reliability and trustworthiness
- Value for the portion of the total cost that your insurance does not cover
Dr. Happel’s reputation, qualifications, and standing in the community is incomparable.
He’s like the violin in the marching band.
Above all, set your standards high when having varicose vein treatments.
Are you seriously considering a med spa or a vein franchise for your vein treatments?
Do not just settle for the closest vein doctor. That is the most common mistake that people make that they later regret.
Research your vein center choices as carefully as you would a car, furniture, appliances or your child’s college.
All vein doctors are not the same.
The field of phlebology (vein treatments) is a “quack magnet” according to Ron Bush MD, an authority and respected vein expert.
Vein treatments should only be done by experienced and qualified vein experts who have trained in venous disease.
With Dr. Happel, their minimally invasive nature of his treatments ensure that your post-treatment recovery period is very comfortable. As a matter of fact, some of our patients have told us that their entire experience was totally pain-free.
The Happel Laser & Vein Centre is the premier vein center in Pennsylvania. Here is more information on how to choose the right Pittsburgh vein clinic.
We have developed a worldwide reputation for our leading-edge vein treatment technology that eliminates unwanted veins.
Dr. Happel himself (not assistants or staff) will guide you through all of the necessary steps to maintain long-term great outcomes in a comfortable and accommodating setting.
Don’t put it off any longer!
Call us today at 724-969-0600 if you’re tired of hiding your painful varicose veins and legs.