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Thread: Dr. Boachie

  1. #16
    Join Date
    May 2010

    Dr. Boachie

    Hi Mike, I saw Dr. Boachie only a couple of months ago. I have seen 5 surgeons in NYC - all of whom are highly recommended on this forum. I would recommend any but Boachie. His bed side manner is non-existent - very cold. He saw me for maybe 10 minutes at most, did not listen, and even got information that I told him incorrect. He is the only surgeon that recommended a shorter fusion, which the other surgeons did not agree with. I left his office feeling very disheartened. He did not take my insurance either, I paid $450 (which was $100 higher than others who did not take my insurance). I was told he would "work with" my insurance before the appointment. At the end of my appointment that day, I was quickly dismissed by being told that my out of net work benefits would not come close to even consider it and was referred to someone else. Sorry - its hard to hear something bad about someone you were counting on, but I felt obligated to let you know - just my experience. I saw Dr. Bitan, Dr., Lonner, Dr. Neuwirth, and Dr. Errico. I really liked Dr. Errico and Dr. Neuwirth. I will be using Dr. Errico. Good luck to you in your search!

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    I appreciate all your responses...Well so far I'm still only scheduled to see Dr. Boachie on Monday the 19th. I have called Dr. Neuwirth and Dr. Errico's office to try to schedule a visit around my trip to NYC. They both said they don't take my insurance(of course), and they weren't able to see me at the same time as Boachie. I think it was Neuwirth that said they could see me on Thursday the 22nd, but they wanted me to send my x-rays there for him to look at before they would schedule me. And Errico's office said she wanted me to contact my insurance before scheduling, or I could just plan on paying out of pocket. It's all about the money$$$. Driving to NYC and paying Boachie $500 cash and paying $300 for one night is going to be hard enough, staying there for another 3 days to see Dr. Neuwirth is out of the question right now. Maybe I'll see if I can reschedule Dr. Boachie for Wednesday or Thursday to cut down on cost.

    Another thing, I just want to let you all know how great this forum is and everyones responses and concern is very much appreciated.

    Ripley, after reading your post about Dr. Boachie I have this sick feeling that it'll be the same thing with me. Maybe that was an isolated incident. I hope I'm wrong, but it just sounds like he's only concerned about the money. Am I wrong? Why doesn't he take insurance? Is money more important than someones quality of life to him? If so, then why is he such a highly recommended surgeon? Being self employed, and having such a serious health condition, my scoliosis and marfan's, I can hardly even get insured, let alone a great plan. I don't know, like I said I hope I'm wrong about the way Dr. Boachie is being portrayed. After dealing with Bridwell all that time, I never had the feeling that it was about money with him. It was always like OK, you're here, it's a serious condition that needs attention, we'll worry about all that other stuff later. Then we all know how that turned out. Now I'm a bit worried about what will happen if Boachie tells me what he told you Ripley, and turns me away. I guess I'll deal with that if/ when it happens rather than get worked up about it now.

    Have a great day everyone!
    Pre-surgery- 80°+ thoracic/ 60°+ lumbar
    Still unsure of post-op numbers
    37 yrs. old, 6'7" ish
    Scoli pics

  3. #18
    Join Date
    May 2009
    hi Mike
    did you try calling Dr Lonner's office....
    i think i told you i liked him the most...and i saw the others you mentioned....

    Linda Racine mentioned a couple of other surgeons you could try calling...i don't remember the names, but her
    post is in this thread....

    Dr Boachie does volunteer his services in Africa, where he is from....
    i guess the charity does not extend to patients who come see him in his NYC office....

    i hope you can get in to see someone else....i didn't realize you were driving and not flying....
    hope yor back will be OK...that is a long drive...
    i fear the Dr Boachie visit may be disappointing....unless you are just
    interested in his opinion...


  4. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Easton PA
    Hi Mike,
    Just wanted to offer my 2 cents: Dr. Boachie did my surgery in June. I understand how he may come off as cold and uncaring to some people. But, let me tell you, after speaking to many nurses at HSS, I got a whole new perspective. They all raved about how kind, compassionate, and generous he is. The nurse in preadmissions was best friends with the nurse who travels to Africa with him to do his pro bono surgeries, and they both said how great he is. Being a nurse myself, I know if you want to get a true opinion of a Dr., ask a nurse who works with him. I think the reason he comes off as cold is he is so busy that he focuses on the exam and x-rays in the first visit, to see if he can help you, because his time is so limited. I had the same reaction initially, until the nurses told me it isn't unusual for him to work all week, then travel all weekend in order to teach, because he says he wants to share his wealth of knowledge because he "can't take it with him". I am not trying to excuse how he made some people feel, but you have got to admire him for that.
    I do not think money is an issue at all for him. I think people need to speak with him directly about insurance, and finances. Everyone is afraid to bring that up with the Dr., and just takes what ever info their staff gives them as gospel. Working in a Dr's office myself, I can tell you that is not the case. I would urge you to be upfront, and discuss it with him. Remember, HSS does accept insurance, so it is the surgeons fee that needs to be negotiated.
    Also, someone here mentioned that he doesn't do revisions, but I am almost positive that he does. Good luck with your visit, and let us know how it goes.
    Lori in PA, 52 yrs. old
    Surgery 6/7/11, T3-S1, all posterior, with pelvic anchors
    Gained 2 inches!
    Dr. Boachie, HSS, NYC
    12/10/13 Hardware Removal for infection
    Lost 2", gained PJK!

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    NJ across from NYC

    Dr. Boachie & Insurance....

    I agree with Lori, he is a very compassionate man and have been his patient since 2002. He personally called me at home and left a voice mail when I was contemplating surgery in 2008 and had a few questions. Yes, he does revisions as I had mine done by him one year ago tomorrow and will see him Monday for my year follow-up. It's confusing when it's said he doesn't accept insurance. He does, but it depends what type you have and the plan you're in - if you can go out-of-network and what the insurance company will pay. Good luck and I wish you the best. LYNN
    1981 Surgery with Harrington Rod; fused from T2 to L3 - Dr.Keim (at 26 years old)
    2000 Partial Rod Removal
    2001 Right Scapular Resection
    12/07/2010 Surgical stabilization L3 through sacrum with revision harrington rod instrumentation, interbody fusion and pre-sacral fusion L5-S1 - Dr. Boachie (at 56 years old)
    06/11/14 - Posterior cervical fusion C3 - T3 (Mountaineer System) due to severely arthritic joints - Dr. Patrick O'Leary (at age 59)

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    I have no personal experience with Boachie at all, but let me just say that it is obvious that the man is absolutely fearless as a surgeon, and he regularly takes on cases with deformities way more severe than most of our top surgeons will probably ever see, unless they are participating in his missions to Africa or other third world countries.
    Stephanie, age 56
    Diagnosed age 8
    Milwaukee brace 9 years, no further treatment, symptom free and clueless until my 40s that curves could progress.
    Thoracolumbar curve 39 degrees at age 17
    Now somewhere around 58 degrees thoracic, 70 degrees thoracolumbar
    Surgeon Dr. Michael S. O'Brien, Baylor's Southwest Scoliosis Center, Dallas TX
    Bilateral laminectomies at L3 to L4, L4 to L5 and L5 to S1 on April 4, 2012
    Foramenotomies L3 through S1 in August 2014

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    New York

    Feeling the same way about initial doctor visits...

    Hi Mike,

    I also plan to schedule an appt with Boachie, but, want to schedule it for after the holidays...

    I have seen some of the top doctors mentioned in this forum, I am from NY so that makes it easier for me. However, I can not stop reading about Boachie and how highly his patients speak of him. I honestly can not wait to schedule an appt with him but on another hand I do know that I have to be prepared to make some tough decisions.

    Like you, I do fear the same about how much time he spends with the patient and about the insurance situation. I am trying to make sure I have all my questions ready for the visit. I do have an insurance plan but I am still not sure how that would work since he is not accepting it. I hope to get a better understanding when I get to the hospital.

    Hope it goes well on the 19th!!

    30 yrs, mom to two girls ages 9 and 7
    8/9/04 - 18* thoracic and 42* lumbar
    3/7/06 - 22* thoracic and 45* lumbar (38*kyphosis)
    4/8/08 - 38* thoracic and 50-52* lumbar (54* kyphosis)

    2007 - Scheduled surgery but cancelled due to no major health issues at the time.
    2011 - Back pain, spasms, sciatica, difficulty doing any physical work/activities w/o following back pain and spasms. Revisiting surgery decision and soon to schedule a doctors appointment to determine the progression since 2008.

  8. #23
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Hi Mike, I didn't mean to scare you. I'm sure he is a good surgeon and if he takes your insurance then you shouldn't have a problem as long as you can look past his demeanor. Maybe if he actually does the surgery for you then perhaps his manner is different than what I saw. It was just my experience. I wish his office had told me beforehand that there was no way they would work with my insurance. I asked when making the appointment and when I got there but was not told until the very end after I saw the doctor. If you search this forum you will find other posts on Boachie. I remember someone else who had a similar experience, but I went ahead and saw Boachie anyway to find out for myself. Best of luck to you.

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    near Philadelphia
    When I went to see Dr. Boachie, I had no expectations besides the knowledge that he had a superb reputation. I found him to be quiet, reserved, and extremely focused. He doesn't do small-talk, and he's not a "warm-and-fuzzy" kind of guy. I did find him to be kind and attentive, though -- before surgery and while I was in the hospital afterwards.

    He wasn't too great with follow-up, though. I had a few post-op issues that he didn't pay too much attention to even though they obviously bothered me a lot. Everything resolved in time and I suppose he suspected they would, but he didn't give me a lot of time at post-op visits.

    As far as insurance goes, Lorz is exactly right -- his hospital (HSS) is insured and I was able to negotiate his surgical fee BUT I also had New York-based insurance and that made it much easier for his office to work with the insurance company.

    For me, the bottom line is: If I ever need more surgery (pleeeeeease noooo!), I would go to him again in a heartbeat, or to someone who's trained with him. The man really knows what he's doing, and although I had a rough recovery, he did a fantastic job on my spine.
    A/P fusion on June 19, 2007 at age 52; T10-L5
    Pre-op thoracolumbar curve: 70 degrees
    Post-op curve: 12 degrees
    Dr. Boachie-adjei, HSS, New York

  10. #25
    Join Date
    May 2008

    I hate to throw a wrench in the gears....but you know that Pilar did not have insurance and was done by Dr Pashman in LA.

    I agree that the costs are a bit much....nobody has ever said that having scoliosis is a cheap thing, I wish I had every dime I spent on pain control through the years.

    I posted this since your insurance might be an issue....

    Don’t give some point you will hook up with the right surgeon.
    49 yr old male, now 61, the new 61...
    Pre surgery curves T70,L70
    ALIF/PLIF T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion

    My x-rays

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Mar 2011

    More on Insurance

    I don't know if you asked Boachie's office if they would take your insurance after the first visit. I was going to see Dr. Boachie and I hear all wonderful things about him and would have liked to, but I was told that with my insurance (Blue Cross/Blue Shield Personal Choice) I would have to pay $100,000 if I have surgery. I believe the problem is that I have PA, not NY insurance. And my policy is a great one and works for Errico and for Lonner. Good luck to you. I just thought I would share this info.
    60 degree thorocolumbar curve beginning at T12
    58 years old

  12. #27
    Join Date
    May 2005

    access Dr. Boachie through the HSS Clinic

    OK, I'm a little late, as usual. Looks like you had your appointment on Dec 19 with Dr. Boachie, but perhaps someone else might be helped by this information? I met with Dr. Boachie through the pediatric scoliosis clinic that sees patients (regardless of whether you are a pedi or an adulti) starting at 7AM every Wednesday morning (check that--they do move around the schedules) at the Hospital for Special Surgery here in NYC. Mind you, that was 2005, but I doubt HSS has abandoned their clinic system, given they're a teaching hospital, and it's how the residents and fellows develop expertise in the specialties under the tutelage of the experienced attending physicians, such as Dr. Boachie. My insurance paid for everything because I received services via the clinic. Dr. Boachie volunteers at the clinic every other week.

    Dr. Boachie, himself, was wonderful, but his post-professional fellow, Dr. B******, whose actual name I can't recall except that it started with "B" (like "Brenner" or something? "Bummer"?!) was obnoxious. I met with Dr. Boachie and several residents initially, then I went to have extensive diagnostics (xrays, MRI, CT/myelo -- the whole shebang), and met with Dr. Bummer on follow up. He didn't have any of my films, no notes, just a big ego and a big mouth. I was surprised he was so self-involved that it made no impression on him when I told him I was studying to go into medicine. After our formal appointment, I asked him how I might go about observing surgery? So then he asks: "Why, are you going into medicine?" Duh! But he was quite sure to tell me he went to Yale. (Two thumbs down for that school.)

    This young Dr. Bummer was quite callous in his dismissal of my physical limitations and pain, to such an extent that I was emotionally devastated. He said he had checked his opinions with Dr. Boachie and Dr. Boachie agreed. Or so Bummer claimed. If it weren't such a sensitive issue for me, my spine, I would have requested to meet with Dr. Boachie himself on follow up, and requested that all my records be at hand. As I recall, I did make two follow up appointments at the clinic to meet with Dr. Boachie, but I didn't have the heart to follow through, I'd felt so smacked down, left out in the cold. Granted, it is clear to see at the clinic that Dr. Boachie and his colleagues deal with much worse cases of deformity and discomfort than mine, but as every surgeon should have branded on his brain, each and every patient deserves all due consideration and respect.

    Which is all by way of saying, the clinic will provide access to the top attending surgeons such as Dr. Boachie in a fashion that insurance will cover, but in that setting you will have to be somewhat proactive about making sure you do indeed meet with the physician of your choice, not just the student doctors. I'm sure HSS is not the only hospital that affords access to top docs by way of a clinic setting. (Oh, and do be polite and deferential when needling the administrative and nursing staff, they are overwhelmed by the crowds that show up for the clinic, and I found that sweetness and humor went a long way to getting exactly what I wanted--that is, bumped to the head of the line)
    Leigh in NYC
    thoraco-lumbar fusion in 1978 by Hugo A. Keim (Columbia-Presbyterian NYC) for top curve of ...42-degrees... and a bottom curve of some number below ...30-degrees... Had no pain or deformity until after the surgery. Unfortunately, condition of spine has deteriorated in the intervening 27 years. Current potential-revision surgeon, the angel & brilliant surgical technician, Dr. Boachie in NYC. I count myself blessed!

  13. #28
    Join Date
    May 2009
    going to any clinic is a crap shoot that you will not meet with the head honcho...

    after the clinic, what does that mean for surgery?? will going to the clinic insure having surgery with
    Dr Boachie??...or did youj just go there to get his opinion???

    when i met with Boachie at his office about 5-6 years ago, i found him to lack a bedside manner, but he
    was professional and fairly quick in his assessmwent...he agreed with what other surgeons i had seen
    recommeneded....i paid cash for the visit, as he didnt take my now i think he doesn't
    take any insurance....


  14. #29
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    My experience was the same as Ripley's with Boachie. And I paid the cash out of pocket $450 a year ago tomorrow! Ah, memories. I think the best part was the nurse who looked somewhat put out by my tears while saying, "You didn't know you needed surgery?" as if I was an idiot (I had scheduled my appt to discuss pain management options).

    Dr Grauer at Yale was amazing, and after secondary insurance, I paid $74.28 for my entire surgery. The hospital handled insurance for me so I didn't have to deal with that on top of everything else.
    Female, age 38
    4 years of bracing, concluded at 42*upper/38*lower
    currently 64*upper/40*lower
    Fused T3-L4 on Feb 23 2011
    now 32*upper/18* lower

  15. #30
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by Lorz View Post
    Just wanted to offer my 2 cents: Dr. Boachie did my surgery in June. I understand how he may come off as cold and uncaring to some people. But, let me tell you, after speaking to many nurses at HSS, I got a whole new perspective. They all raved about how kind, compassionate, and generous he is. The nurse in preadmissions was best friends with the nurse who travels to Africa with him to do his pro bono surgeries, and they both said how great he is.
    Not sure if it's just me, but I can't get past the fact that over and over again I hear how wonderful this man is when it comes to the work he does in Africa - and how cold he and his staff come off here at home.

    Since Boachie's name came up so much, I had contacted his office several years ago when my son was first diagnosed, and got that same response on the phone. I called as a worried parent very new to it all, and the first thing the woman said to me was 'you know he doesnt' take insurance so you will have to pay for the consult out of your pocket'. I can't recall the exact dollar amount but it was several hundred dollars. There was a distinct difference between her attidude vs. a couple of other doctor's offices I had called - she was very abrupt and cold - as if she couldn't get me off the phone fast enough and had no interest whatsoever in what I was saying.

    I've now been dealing witht the folks at Shriners Hospital for the past 8 or so years - they take children from Iraq who have lost limbs in land mines and fit them for prosthetics - and of course they treat lots of kids right here in the U.S. - but they treat them all the same, from the first contact you have with the staff right up to the visit with the doctors, they are compassionate and caring. (And of course they don't charge for their services so as Lily said, it's wonderful not to have to worry about finances on top of everything else). And you'll never hear only how wonderful they are with one group of I find the whole Boachie thing very odd, almost as if he makes his money off U.S. patients to finance his work abroad (I'm sure that's probably not the case, but I'd be lying if I said it hasn't crossed my mind).

    Just my take on things......
    Last edited by mariaf; 12-30-2011 at 06:27 AM.
    Mom to David, age 17, braced June 2000 to March 2004
    Vertebral Body Stapling 3/10/04 for 40 degree curve (currently mid 20's)

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