Top Doctors

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Nobody knows more about Sarasota doctors than Sunny Olsen. As a physician liaison at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, Olsen spends anywhere from two to six hours with every new doctor who joins the staff. After 13 years of guiding them through the maze of hospital services, she’s gained a unique perspective on how they interact with […]


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Nobody knows more about Sarasota doctors than Sunny Olsen. As a physician liaison at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, Olsen spends anywhere from two to six hours with every new doctor who joins the staff. After 13 years of guiding them through the maze of hospital services, she’s gained a unique perspective on how they interact with patients, nurses and each other; and she claims, "I know in 15 minutes what their bedside manner is going to be."

Like many in her profession, Olson has an inside track to the best doctors in town. But what about the rest of us, especially those who are new to the city or have changed employers or health plans? How do we find a good doctor when we need one? "Don’t wait until you need one," advises Olson. "Many physicians don’t accept new patients in this town."

Sarasota is not alone. According to a nonpartisan policy research organization, the proportion of physicians accepting new Medicare patients fell from 73 percent in 1997 to 69 percent in 2001. The proportion of doctors accepting new privately insured patients fell from 70.8 percent to 68.2 percent. But say you manage to squeeze into a bulging caseload. How do you determine that your new doctor is qualified, responsive and ready to heal what hurts?

One avenue is this list, compiled exclusively for SARASOTA Magazine by New York-based Castle-Connolly Medical. The company has been profiled in Ladies Home Journal, Town & Country, and Better Homes and Gardens, among others; and its regional lists have appeared in 17 magazines around the country, including New York Magazine (which has published it for the past six years), Chicago, and Miami Metro.

Unlike other compilations (which can contain as many as 800,000 doctors), Castle-Connolly’s fourth edition of America’s Top Doctors, due out this month, "is a guide to the top one percent of 4,700 medical specialties and sub-specialties from across the nation," says vice president of business development William Liss-Levinson.

This regional guide showcases 39 Sarasota and Manatee doctors in a range of specialties from immunology to thoracic surgery. Selection was based on a random survey of 150 doctors and the chiefs of six services and vice presidents of medical affairs at six area hospitals, who were all asked to nominate doctors, "to whom you would send members of your family." (Liss-Levinson says some doctors also received recommendations from health professionals outside the state during their annual national survey.)

A research staff of physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals validated the nominations and verified each doctor’s credentials. They considered professional qualifications (education, residency, board certification, reputation, experience and disciplinary history) and interpersonal characteristics, such as communication skills, empathy, informing patients of their options, and their ability to instill trust and confidence.

Doctors cannot pay to be on this list. Advertising is in no way connected to the selection of doctors in this issue or to future "top doctor" listings that Castle Connolly may publish or license to the publisher of this magazine.

Keep in mind, though, that as rigorously as Castle-Connolly conducts its research, no list can be definitive; and there are many, many eminently qualified doctors in our region besides those who appear on this listing. Castle-Connolly has singled out just 39 of the more than 1,300 doctors practicing in Sarasota; many who do not appear on this list would receive passionate votes of confidence from their peers and patients. And Castle-Connolly entirely excludes some categories from its list, including those who have moved exclusively into administrative work. Castle-Connolly will include a doctor who has moved into administration as long as he or she is still available for consultations-for example, on our list, you’ll find pediatric hematologist and oncologist Dr. Jennifer Mayer, who is medical director of All Children’s Hospital at Sarasota Memorial but still sees patients.

Candidates for the list generally must have practiced at least 10 years on their field, and the company also excludes doctors who have rare specialties. That’s why, for example, Dr. Washington Hill, one of only 1,000 perinatologists in the country (he handles high-risk pregnancies), is not included on this list. Another example is Dr. Kirk Conrad, a neurointerventional radiologist who recently arrived at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. Fewer than 150 neurointerventional radiologists are in practice today, and Conrad is only the third between Tampa and Miami in Florida. Because experience is a major factor in Castle-Connolly’s evaluation process, says Liss-Levinson, a sub-specialty such as neurointerventional radiology is considered too new to evaluate.

This list is a starting point, but a number of other considerations go into choosing a doctor. For example, you should ask yourself, " ‘Am I more comfortable with a male or a female doctor?’" says Sarasota Memorial’s Olson. "’Would I rather have one close to work or my home?’"

Canvas friends and co-workers, but understand that your needs will be different from theirs. "We spend more time picking out a bottle of wine for dinner than picking a doctor," says Dr. John Connolly, president and CEO of Castle-Connolly Medical. "If you have a chronic disease, your first step should be to identify hospitals accustomed to treating your condition. Say I had heart disease. I would look for a hospital with a full range of cardiac care. Then call that hospital’s doctor referral line for recommendations."

Choices may seem simpler for employees in managed care plans, but never take for granted that someone on that plan is available. "You know the books that insurance companies give you listing their participating doctors?" asks Olson. "It’s almost always outdated-usually by three years. I’ve seen doctors who are deceased and still on them." Before you choose a doctor, check your carrier’s Web site, which is updated regularly, or call its toll-free number and ask for an updated list. Then, says Olson, "Call the doctor and make sure they’re in-network."

If you’re still unsure, ask a nurse for a recommendation. "That’s who I call," says Sarasota Memorial spokesman Mike Vizvary. "The nurses know everything." If you’re looking for a surgeon, ask an operating nurse. If you want a pediatrician, call a pediatrics nurse. You can reach one by calling the chief of nursing at any area hospital.

When you’ve narrowed your list of possibilities to two or three doctors, start researching their credentials. Few people would trust a facelift to a podiatrist, but since anyone with a medical degree may perform plastic surgery, make sure the doctor you’re seeing is board certified in the specialty for which you are seeking treatment. You can do this by checking the American Board of Medical Specialties at www.abms.org. The Internet can also help verify that a doctor’s license is up to date. On the Florida Department of Health’s Web site (ww2.doh.state.fl.us/irm00praes/praslist.asp), you even see whether a practitioner has faced disciplinary measures. Click on the Vital Healthcare Information button at Castle Connolly’s Web site (www.castleconnolly.com), and you can check doctor disciplinary information in any state.

Ask if your doctor has hospital privileges. Vizvary says 700 doctors have privileges to practice at Sarasota Memorial (most also have privileges at nearby Doctors Hospital). If you’re looking for a plastic surgeon, make sure he or she operates in the hospital or a registered ambulatory center. If not, and your rhinoplasty goes awry, your only option for immediate medical attention will be an emergency room.

Consider whether your doctor has a solo practice or belongs to a group. Although some patients prefer the focused attention of a single practitioner, groups present some advantages. "The business side is getting tougher," says Vizvary. With the blitz of paperwork created by Medicare, Medicaid, and insurance requirements, he says, "You need to be able to take that business and spread it out over four doctors." As in most other areas of the country, private cardiologists, enterologists and plastic surgeons here are beginning to form groups that can provide 24/7 service to patients-and a life for the doctors.

Finally, interview the doctors on your short list to make sure you can develop a positive relationship with them. If the doctor seems uninterested or impatient with answering your questions, or if the staff appears hostile or overworked, move on. "If you are not comfortable asking your doctor a question, it’s not a good fit," says Olson.

But a friendly personality isn’t everything. "It depends on what you want them for," says Sarasota Memorial’s chief nursing officer Jan Mauck. If you’ve just been diagnosed with liver cancer, you’re more likely to be satisfied with a highly skilled curmudgeon than if he or she were treating an ingrown toenail. "Often the person who’s most skilled does not have the greatest bedside manner," Mauck says.

Fortunately, says Olson, the physicians coming out of school today have a better understanding of customer service. She informs new doctors at Sarasota Memorial that they’re expected to say: "Please, thank you, and I’m sorry," and that doctors who know how to look patients in the eye and give them an encouraging pat on the shoulder when they leave will stand out from the crowd. "I tell all the new physicians here, ‘Be nice,’" she says. "We already expect you to be good.’"

If you’d like a copy of Castle-Connolly’s newest guide to doctors, click here to purchase at a 15% discount.

www.castleconnolly.com/books/index.cfm?dws=ey&source-Sarasota

Or contact them at:

Castle-Connolly Medical, Ltd.

42 West 24th St., Second Floor

New York, NY 10010

Toll-free (800-) 399-DOCS (3627)

www.AmericasTop Doctors.com

HOW THEY’RE CHOSEN

Castle Connolly’s physician-led team of researchers follows a rigorous screening process to select top doctors on both the national and regional levels. Using mail and telephone surveys, and electronic ballots, they ask physicians and the medical leadership of leading hospitals to identify highly skilled, exceptional doctors. Careful screening of doctors’ educational and professional experience is essential before final selection is made among those physicians most highly regarded by their peers.

Note: Anesthesiologists (except those with additional ABMS board certification in pain management), emergency medicine physicians and pathologists are not included in this collection.

THE LIST

Allergy & Immunology

Donna M. Jamieson, M.D.

2650 Bahia Vista St, Suite 304

Sarasota, FL 34239-2699

(941) 366-9711

Primary Hospital: Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Cardiovascular Disease

George Abernathy, M.D.

1287 U.S. 41 Bypass S.

Venice, FL 34285

(941) 497-5511

Primary Hospital: Bon Secours Venice Hospital

Special Experience: Echocardiography; Nuclear Stress Testing

Stephen C. Culp, M.D.

1852 Hillview St, Suite 308

Sarasota, FL 34239

(941) 917-4250

Primary Hospital: Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Special Experience: Interventional Cardiology

Kenneth D. Henson, M.D.

1852 Hillview St., Suite 308

Sarasota, FL 34239

(941) 917-4250

Primary Hospital: Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Special Experience: Interventional Cardiology

Alberto E. Montalvo, M.D.

316 Manatee Ave. W.

Bradenton, FL 34208

(941) 748-2277

Primary Hospital: Manatee Memorial Hospital

Special Experience: Interventional Cardiology

Colon & Rectal Surgery

Richard Golub, M.D.

3333 Cattlemen Road, Suite 206

Sarasota, FL 34232

(941) 341-0042

Primary Hospital: Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Special Experience: Colon & Rectal Cancer; Laparoscopic Surgery; Hemorrhoids

Dermatology

Alfred Hernandez, M.D.

1849 S. Osprey Ave.

Sarasota, FL 34239-3614

(941) 957-4767

Primary Hospital: Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Special Experience: Dermatologic Surgery; Mohs’ Surgery

Faculty Appointments: Associate Clinical Professor Dermatology, University South Florida College of Medicine

Dermatology

Cathy Milam, M.D.

1750 S. Osprey Ave.

Sarasota, FL 34239-2917

(941) 364-8220

Primary Hospital: Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Faculty Appointments: Associate Professor Dermatology, University South Florida College of Medicine

Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism

Jose R. Antunes, M.D.

2400 Fruitville Road

Sarasota, FL 34237

(941) 365-0333

Primary Hospital: Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Special Experience: Diabetes

Family Practice

Robert E. Blackwood, M.D.

2010 59th St. W., Suite 2600

Bradenton, FL 34209-4699

(941) 792-2122

Primary Hospital: Blake Medical Center

Michael C. Holsworth, M.D.

2010 59th St. W., Suite 2600

Bradenton, FL 34209

(941) 792-2122

Primary Hospital: Blake Medical Center

Barry I. Stein, M.D.

6128 S. Tamiami Trail

Sarasota, FL 34231-4029

(941) 923-5882

Primary Hospital: Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Gastroenterology

Elliot M. Livstone, M.D.

1515 S. Osprey Ave., Suite C-11

Sarasota, FL 34239

(941) 955-0000

Primary Hospital: Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Robert Yacavone, M.D.

3333 Cattleman Road, Suite 202

Sarasota, FL 34232

(941) 342-8892

Primary Hospital: Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Special Experience: Endoscopy

Infectious Disease

Andrew Krinsky, M.D.

1425 S. Osprey Ave., Suite 1

Sarasota, FL 34239-2900

(941) 366-9060

Primary Hospital: Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Internal Medicine

Lee S. Harris, M.D.

2881 Hyde Park

Sarasota, FL 34234

(941) 366-2460

Primary Hospital: Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Kevin O’Neil, M.D.

5682 Bee Ridge Road, Suite 200

Sarasota, FL 34233-1500

(941) 917-4010

Primary Hospital: Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Medical Oncology

Richard H. Brown, M.D.

1970 Golf St.

Sarasota, FL 34236

(941) 957-1000

Primary Hospital: Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Caryn L. Silver, M.D.

1970 Golf St.

Sarasota, FL 34236

(941) 957-1000

Primary Hospital: Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Special Experience: Breast Cancer

Nephrology

Celestino Palomino, M.D.

5904 Pointe West Blvd.

Bradenton, FL 34209-5529

(941) 792-3353

Primary Hospital: Manatee Memorial Hospital

Neurological Surgery

Peter Mayer, M.D.

5831 Bee Ridge Road, Suite 100

Sarasota, FL 34233

(941) 308-5700

Primary Hospital: Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Neurology

Donald Negroski, M.D.

1921 Waldemere St., Suite 701

Sarasota, FL 34239-2913

(941) 917-6222

Primary Hospital: Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Obstetrics & Gynecology

Karen Liebert, M.D.

6417 Third Ave. W.

Bradenton, FL 34209-2391

(941) 792-4993

Primary Hospital: Blake Medical Center

Ophthalmology

Liaquat Allarakhia, M.D.

4812 26th St. W.

Bradenton, FL 34207-1705

(941) 727-3937

Primary Hospital: Manatee Memorial Hospital

Special Experience: Cataract Surgery; Glaucoma

Faculty Appointments: Associate Clinical Professor Ophthalmology, University South Florida College of Medicine

Orthopaedic Surgery

Mark Lonstein, M.D.

1921 Waldemere St., Suite 609

Sarasota, FL 34239-2913

(941) 917-6500

Primary Hospital: Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Thomas P. SanGiovanni, M.D.

4937 Clark Road

Sarasota, FL 34233

(941) 342-6404

Primary Hospital: Doctors Hospital of Sarasota

Special Experience: Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery

Otolaryngology

Herbert Silverstein, M.D.

1961 Floyd St., Suite A

Sarasota, FL 34239-2931

(941) 366-9222

Primary Hospital: Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Special Experience: Ear Disorders/Surgery; Meniere’s Disease

Faculty Appointments: Clinical Professor Surgery, University South Florida College of Medicine

Pain Medicine

Donald Erb, D.O.

5350 University Parkway, Suite 201

Sarasota, FL 34243

(941) 917-4500

Primary Hospital: Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Pediatric Hematology-Oncology

Jennifer L. Root Mayer, M.D.

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Department of Pediatrics

1700 S. Tamiami Trail

Sarasota, FL 34239

(941) 917-7490

Primary Hospital: Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Faculty Appointments: Associate Professor Pediatrics, University Florida College of Medicine

Pediatrics

Donald Scott Featherman, M.D.

943 S. Beneva Road, Suite 102

Sarasota, FL 34232-2471

(941) 955-5191

Primary Hospital: Doctors Hospital of Sarasota

Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

David A. Siegel, M.D.

1921 Waldemere St., Suite 809

Sarasota, FL 34239-2913

(941) 917-6543

Primary Hospital: Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Plastic Surgery

James H. Schmidt, M.D.

2255 Tamiami Trail

Sarasota, FL 34239

(941) 366-8897

Primary Hospital: Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Faculty Appointments: Associate Clinical Professor Surgery, University Florida College of Medicine

Psychiatry

Robert Mignone, M.D.

195 Center Road

Venice, FL 34285

(941) 408-8988

Primary Hospital: Doctors Hospital of Sarasota

Pulmonary Disease

Bruce M. Fleegler, M.D.

1895 Floyd St.

Sarasota, FL 34239-2907

(941) 366-5864

Primary Hospital: Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Special Experience: Asthma; Emphysema

Rheumatology

Jeffrey Kaine, M.D.

1945 Versailles, Suite 101

Sarasota, FL 34239

(941) 316-0231

Primary Hospital: Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Special Experience: Lupus Nephritis; Rheumatoid Arthritis

Surgery

George R. McSwain, M.D.

5601 D 21st. Ave. W.

Bradenton, FL 34209-5625

(941) 761-0133

Primary Hospital: Blake Medical Center

Special Experience: Cancer Surgery; Laparoscopic Surgery

Thoracic Surgery

Richard W. Hoefer, M.D.

1219 S. East Ave., Suite 301

Sarasota, FL 34239-2356

(941) 365-6515

Primary Hospital: Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Special Experience: Thoracic Surgery

Clifton T. P. Lewis, M.D.

1921 Waldemere St., Suite 814

Sarasota, FL 34239

(941) 917-6240

Primary Hospital: Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Special Experience: Cardiothoracic Surgery

Urology

Allan Treiman, M.D.

1921 Waldemere St., Apt. 310

Sarasota, FL 34239-2941

(941) 917-8488

Primary Hospital: Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Special Experience: Prostate Cancer; Erectile Dysfunction










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