Monday, April 28, 2014

Groundhog Day

A few weeks ago I wrote about the recent disclosure of Medicare payment data to the public. I finally got around to running my own numbers from it, and found my total take was around $70,000.

Now, normally I don't care how much other docs are getting. I try not to pay attention to those things, as it's none of my business. But, due to a recent news story, I decided to look up the stats on another doctor.

The doctor in question is an interventional cardiologist, practicing in the northeast. His father is also a cardiologist, and they work together. Sounds nice huh? A family-run medical group.

Anyway, per the 2012 Medicare data, that year Uncle Sam paid this gentleman $313,375.23. DISCLOSURE: I suck at math. Really. So this number could be completely wrong since I had trouble making sense of which column was which, and then I had to multiply across, then add.

Now, like I previously pointed out this is gross, not net. Like all of us out there, I'm sure the good doctor has insane office overhead to cover. This guy is in a field, unlike mine, where you truly are saving lives, and you can't put a price on that. And I'm also not in the business of telling other people how to spend their money. After all, I blow most of my immense fortune on a Diet Coke habit.

So what does this successful cardiologist spend it on? Well, he supports local businesses by spending $135,000 at a strip bar.

I am not making this up.

"I need it all in singles. Don't ask why."

Granted, this wasn't all at once. It took him 4 visits over 10 days last November at Scores Gentlemans Club to reach that amount, averaging $33,750 per visit. It was a cold winter, and I think we all needed to warm up (at the Grumpy household we cranked the heater up and got out extra blankets). Perhaps it was national "Support your local strip bar week" (if it was, I missed the memo).

I haven't been to a strip bar since a bachelor party in residency, but don't think I could spend that much on drinks, tips, and lap dances if I tried (although I haven't tried, either). Maybe I wasn't going to the right bars.

But it gets better. The good doctor (Zyad Younan, M.D.) put the charges on he & his dad's business credit card. Can you imagine how proud the elder doctor Younan felt when the AMEX statement came in? "EKG supplies, ultrasound gel...  $135,000 at The Boob Palace? ZYAD!!!"

Regrettably, daddy's reaction to his prodigy's spending habits hasn't been in the news. He probably grounded him and took away the car. These things don't look very good on IRS audits.

I'm really not sure how Dr. Younan, Jr. was planning to claim this as a business expense. Granted, he's a heart doctor, and the heart is located in the chest, and I'm sure there are a lot of chests displayed at Scores. Perhaps it was a research project he was working on ("I want to put my stent in your vessel"). He could also have been recruiting a new partner, though not necessarily for the practice.

"You say it's a study to repeatedly check my femoral artery pulse?"

So, to recap thus far: a successful cardiologist blew $135,000 in 4 visits at a strip bar, using his business AMEX.

But wait, that's not all!

As anyone who owns a credit card knows, sooner or later the card company wants to get paid (they're funny like that) and sent a bill to Dr. Younan. Like any honest, law-abiding, boob-ogling, dad-fearing cardiologist, he should pay it, right? And, if he had, none of this would even have made the newspapers.

But he didn't.

Instead, he claimed that he didn't have to pay because he was drugged. EACH TIME (I assume he means something beyond alcohol) and therefore has no recollection of being there.

Now, this, in my opinion, is pretty far-fetched. Okay, maybe once is semi-believable. I mean, stranger things have happened. One minute you're walking out to the doctor's lot, the next you're waking up and finding out you spent a fortune at a strip club. Maybe it was aliens. Or terrorists. Or your ex.

BUT 4 TIMES? I mean, that's one seriously good drugging job. If I'd blown that kind of money in a strip bar, I'd at least like to remember what I got for it. But not this unfortunate fellow. Whatever they used to drug him must have been pretty strong to make him not only forget, but to return to the same place 3 more times. Holy déjà vu, Batman!

"It's February 2nd, and I've been drugged by a stripper. Again."

The good doctor's refusal to pay is so steadfast that Scores has filed suit against him for the amount. They claim to have video of him in their fine establishment, acting, I assume, somewhat coherently. To date I haven't seen it listed on Youtube.

So, in summary:

1. No matter what Medicare actually pays your doctor, IT'S NOT WHAT THEY'RE TAKING HOME. The overhead for a medical practice is higher than you think. Probably much higher.

2. Don't let that hair-netted lady who puts out the bagels in the doctors lounge slip something into your coffee. You never know where you'll end up, sometimes repeatedly.

3. If you want to go to a strip bar, more power to you. But trying to charge it to your dad's business AMEX card may not be a good idea.

4. What you do with your hard-earned money is up to you, but remember to pay the bill. Because if you do, they won't sue you to get their money, and this sort of thing won't end up in the news.

5. $135,000 is a helluva lot of money to blow at a strip bar. I think my record was $50 for my share of the bachelor party.


Anonymous said...

I think this proves my earlier point. Setting aside how much a doctor "nets" from his or her charges to Medicare, the amount he or she is billing to Medicare in general seems to directly correlate to how much of a jackass they are in real life. I mean, really. $135K at a strip club and then you try to come up with a creative way to not pay the tab? That takes some serious ballz.

The Patient Doc said...

Looks like these strippers are making more than me. Maybe I chose the wrong profession.... :)

PediNP said...

Clearly with that income potential, I shouldn't have become an NP. I should be working as a stripper. Heck, if they're drugged, they won't care what I look like or that I can't dance...

Anonymous said...

I'm having trouble with the math here. If the cover was $20 and dinner runs $250, there were an awful lot of $1K bottles of champagne and "other services" to add up to $33K per visit. Maybe after a couple bottles for himself, he bought a bottle for every other table in the place. Moral: people going to strip clubs should leave all credit cards at home.

As an aside, I must take exception to one thing you said. "This guy is in a field, unlike mine, where you truly are saving lives..." Finding a way to control epileptic seizures truly does save lives -- said the person whose friend died from too many seizures.

bobbie said...

I agree with warmsocks ~

Don't sell yourself, or your profession so short!!

Anonymous said...

Why is the strip club suing this guy? The credit card company pays them. He owes the money to the credit card company, not the strip club.

was1 said...

when is the next stripper society meeting?

Officer Cynical said...

Any idea where the Stripper Society holds their annual scientific conference? I was thinking about submitting a paper.

Anonymous said...

Those artesianal hot dogs at Scores are very expensive. The sausages are formed by hand. The buns are tight. That makes for some great (though expensive) cocktails.

Outre said...

If you look through his CV, he went to one of those foreign med schools with head quarters based in the US. Not saying those schools are terrible but they do have the reputation of their students being.... a certain type.

I guess he always liked to party hard?

cliffintokyo said...

This dude wants to eat all the cake on his father's plate! Want to tell him: 'Grow up, fat-head'

Anonymous said...

The things some people will do to keep their platinum status now that Delta has introduced "mileage qualification dollars."

Anonymous said...

"jiggle joint" - from the link. That made me laugh.

Anonymous said...

I hate to make any kind of broad generalization, but I had a friend in Pharmacy School from Jordan who used to frequent prostitutes WITH HIS DAD while his Mom and Sister cooked and cleaned back at the ranch. Eeeeew...How do we know his Dad wasn't a "partner in crime"? Dad's silence could be the older and wiser Younan knowing when to keep his mouth shut! Then perhaps if he was wise, he would have slipped the jiggle joint a check to buy their silence!

Gynosaurus Rex said...

Not to be a party-pooper, but it really sounds like this gentleman was having manic episodes. You generally don't make through residency/fellowship if you have a tendency to rack up and then ignore five figure strip club bills. People with bipolar disorder do sometimes feel as if they've been "drugged" during manic periods.

Jive Talkin Tool said...

Turns out that Dr. was drugged. Thoughts? NY Times ran an article a few days ago...see below link.

Anonymous said...

Just that life is stranger than fiction. The prosecutors wouldn't be moving ahead if there wasn't something to it. The good ones go after the bad guys and the bad ones want to increase their win ratios. (I'm a bit cynical.)

If Scores is pressing ahead with the suit against the doctor, they're just opening themselves up to further investigation into conspiracy with the gang. He was there four times; but it appears as far as the doctor knew, he was on a date at a location he didn't remember four times. There's these guys called private investigators that have only civilian powers, but can be paid to spend their time covering a case without distractions, and who can turn their information over to the police if circumstances require.

Locations of visitors to this page