Specialists in the Skins of the Rich and Famous


top doctors make a difference

 Castle Connolly – Top Doctors
by Dr. A.R. Pito, FRCP

Castle Connolly often buys a full-page ad in the New York Times listing preferred physicians (16 per page). “The mission of Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. is to help consumers find the best healthcare. The top doctors who are listed in our books and on this website’s directory were nominated by their peers in an extensive survey process of thousands of American doctors each year. Those doctors who are among the very best in their specialties and in their communities are selected for inclusion. Doctors do not and cannot pay to be included in any Castle Connolly Guide or online directory.”

Recently, their ad in the New York Times featured 7 dermatologists of the 16 physicians listed. All were women. All specialized in cosmetic dermatology. All but one of their web sites looked very similar. All did their training in well-respected programs.

We called these offices and attempted to make an appointment.

Michelle S. Green – (212) 535-3088 – trained at Mt. Sinai – does not take any health insurance, $300 consultation fee + procedure

Carin H. Gribetz – 212-289-3300 – trained at Mt. Sinai – does not accept any insurance – first visit is between $350 and 395.

Elizabeth K. Hale – 212-759-4900 – trained at NYU — accepts some insurance but not Medicaid – office visit is $400 and does not include procedures

Lynne M. Haven – 203-869-4242 – trained at NYU – accepts no insurance – office visit is $250

Julie K. Karen – 212-759-4900 – trained at NYU — accepts some insurance but not Medicaid – office visit is $400 and does not include procedure

Laurie Polis – 212-431-1600 – trained at Mt. Sinai — accepts no insurance.  — an office visit  is $350 – 450, not including procedure

Heidi Waldorf – 212-241-0472 – trained at Harvard – participates with some private insurance, but does not accept NY State Medicaid* – office visits start at $350

None of these practices is open to Medicaid patients. It seems that Castle Connolly’s Top Doctors reserve their care only for the rich. There’s a Yiddish proverb: If the rich could pay the poor to die for them, the poor would make a very good living.

How many young women and men enter medical school planning to care for the poor and disenfranchised? How many finish their training resolved to care for the entitled rich? What happens over the course of medical school and residency to change young physicians’ goals and induce them to become America’s Top Doctors?

*  Dr. Waldorf is one of 18 dermatologists at Mt. Sinai’s Faculty Practice.  None accept Medicaid patients.


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About David Elpern

The Online Journal of Community and Person-Centered Dermatology (OJCPCD) is a free, full text, open-access, online publication that addresses all aspects of skin disease that concern patients, their families, and practitioners. ​It was founded in 2012 by Dr. David J. Elpern, M.D. in Williamstown, MA. with technical help from Inez Tan.

One comment on “Specialists in the Skins of the Rich and Famous

  1. When it comes down to providing in depth dermatological care for Medicaid patients, it appears to be less than skin deep.