Dr. Suzanne Levine DPM
885 Park Ave Suite 103-105
New York, NY 10021-0325
Yes, she is a provider for Medicare and she does take insurance. I want to know what the Hell she was billing for in order to garnish this much money while the rest of us are receiving pesos for payment? How does one double bill and get away with this?
A Park Avenue podiatrist billed $178,900 to fix two crooked toes, office procedures that lasted less than an hour.
Amazingly, insurance giant United Healthcare/Oxford paid most of the bill, cutting a check earlier this month for $175,098.80.
Instead of sending the check to Suzanne Levine, a foot fixer with a roster of celebrity clients, United Healthcare mailed it to the shocked patient. And Levine’s office has been frantically trying to collect the money.
“The doctor’s office calls me up and says you’re getting a check, we want the check. It’s our check,” said Keith Kantrowitz, a Manhattan mortgage banker whose wife was treated by Levine. “I said, wait a minute, I don’t owe you . . . money.”
The outrageous charges, and payment of them, has health-care experts scratching their heads.
“I’m stunned,” said Dr. John Santa, a director of Consumer Reports Health. “Did they use a proton beam for this?”
There are no laws regulating prices, state officials say. Other Upper East Side podiatrists say they don’t bill more than $3,000 to correct a hammertoe.
That is true, you can bill a million dollars but the insurance companies have contracted rates for every procedure. This just cannot be correct.
The shocking check for $175,098.80.
Kantrowitz’s wife, Renee, sought help from Levine last year after seeing her on television. Upon feeling a tingling sensation in her foot, she made an appointment with the publicity-conscious Levine, who calls her office Institute Beauté. (She has glossy photos and letters of gratitude in her office from the likes of Anna Wintour, Barbara Walters, Bill Cosby, Oprah Winfrey, Katie Couric, Liam Neeson and Naomi Campbell.)
Levine — who as a podiatrist is not a medical doctor — injects Botox to smooth out tootsies (“for that ‘angry’ look”) and touts procedures such as “foot face-lifts.” She also injects Juvéderm and other chemicals into the pads of feet as a cushion against the pain of high heels.
Levine offered to straighten out one of Kantrowitz’s toes, making a small incision in her foot, a procedure done in one of her exam rooms that took about 25 minutes. When Kantrowitz returned for a follow-up, Levine did another toe in a similarly short session.
The doctor assured Kantrowitz that everything would be covered by her insurance.
But Levine then billed Kantrowitz’s credit card $6,000 and tried to squeeze more cash out of the insurance carrier. A lot more.
The insurer agreed to pay $170,940.04 plus $4,158.76 in interest, according to the explanation of benefits that Renee Kantrowitz received along with the check.
Please, someone needs to do some major investigating here. Physicians are punished all the time with pennies being paid on the dollar for life saving procedures. A hammer toe for beauty? This is outrageous.