Where is Dr. Steven Simon?

on 1/4/10 10:05 am
I was a very happy patient of Dr. Steven Simon, having dropped about 70 pounds and reaching my goal this past fall. I was hospitalized on Thanksgiving Day with a slipped lap band, and was unable to locate Dr. Simon. Eventually, his associate, Dr. Schlesinger, removed the band and port in surgery. I'm wondering if anyone knows why Dr. Simon is on a "leave of abscence". I am so disappointed to be back at square one.
on 1/6/10 12:58 am

Pam, So sorry you had your band removed.   It looks like you worked very hard to get to goal.  I am sure you will maintain your goal.
I have several friends that had surgery with Dr Simon.  They are in dark about his sudden leave.  Dr Schlesinger is my surgeon and I was in 3 weeks ago I asked about it and was told he had taken a "personal" leave.  One patient waiting was upset and told us that  Dr Simon screwed her up and then left town.   She did not know why.  Her brother was going on and on about him.  It made us uncomfortable.  She said that Dr Schlesinger is taking care of her and she is better.   I got the feeling he is not coming back, could be he is relocating.   Some one posted that he had several lawsuits. 
Focus on staying healthy. I am sure Dr Simon will resurface soon.


on 1/6/10 10:26 am - Phoenix, AZ

If you want to know if an MD has complaints lodged against them and what happened when they looked in to the complaint check
AZ Board of Medical Examiners aka BOMEX website.

Whatever you do is it truthful, necessary and kind?
on 1/7/10 2:30 pm
Thanks for the responses to my question. I called the office the day before yesterday and asked to have Dr. Simon call me, but I haven't received any call back yet. I was very happy to have Dr. Simon as my doctor. He was always very thoughtful, thorough and kind. But I was disappointed that I wasn't informed about his leaving, and I just want to know what my options are, now that the band has been removed. I feel like I've lost so much after huge investments monetarily, emotionally, and timewise, and I'm wondering if I might be able to get some kind of revision surgery done. Let me know if any of you hear anything more about the situation.  
on 1/8/10 5:28 am
Call and ask for Jenn.  She should be able to give you more info.  I know that patients are being told that he is on a leave of absence.  I have 2 friends that were scheduled for new appointments with Simon.  They both got a call that he was taking time off and they could see Dr Schlesinger if they wanted.  So I don't think anyone knew about him leaving, including the office until he left.
Don't give up hope.  Maybe you will keep the weight off and not need another surgery.  You lost weight and did well! Keep it up!
on 1/7/10 1:34 pm
 I didn't see anything on the AZ med board web site regarding Dr. Simon.   But, that doesn't mean that something isn't going to be coming out about him.  The office has been saying for a while that he "isn't accepting any new patients at this time" (whatever that means).   Odd, because other doctors are hurting for patients due to the economy. 

Dr. Simon is still listed as a surgeon at the Tempe St. Luke's bariatric program.   If he's no longer there, his name and info should be taken down by them.   I wonder if it's being left up there in order to get patients to call their program with regard to laparoscopic surgery.   Simon was the surgeon who did the single incision lap band and the lap RNY surgeries which are offered on the program's website.  

The other doctor affiliated with the program only does the RNY open.  Prospective patients can call the office and  make an appointment with the bariatric program, thinking they're going to see Dr. Simon, but then get the other doctor at the actual appointment - which gives the other doctor the opportunity to try and talk the patient into an open surgery and thereby not lose the laparoscopic business to another bariatric program which does do the lap surgery.

Smart strategy.  Misleading, but SMART!!
on 1/8/10 1:27 pm - Apache Junction, AZ
This is my first time posting anything.  I have been reading info on this website since July '09.  Thank you all for the info shared.  Here's my story:  I had my first appt with Dr. Simon in Aug. '09; went thru ALL the required tests and was waiting for his office to submit my "paperwork" for Ins. approval.  I called to let them know I had completed all the tests and left a message 3 times over a 5 week time span.  The office finally called me 2 weeks (total of 7 weeks lost) later to say that Dr. Simon was taking a leeave of absence and they were switching pts to the other doctor.  Then the next day they called to say that the other doctor wasn't contracted with my Ins.  I called my Ins and they said he was, but surgery had to be done at a "Center of Excellence" which St' Luke's Tempe is NOT.  I went back to my PCP doctor to get another referral for a new surgeon, and now the Ins has denied that referral!!!!  The Insurance is saying that I don't have the documentation needed to show proof of weight loss attempts.  When I called the Ins company to question why I got the referral to Dr. Simon and not the new surgeon, I was told "I don't know how you got it 6 months ago, but I'm telling you what you need to do NOW. Talk to your doctor!"  I got a letter in the mail the next day saying I can appeal.  This is just for a referral??  not surgery itself???  I don't know what to do? If I have to start over on weight loss attempts, and weigh-ins every other week??  By the time I'm done with another 6 months, will the "test results" for all those tests done in Sept & Oct still be acceptable?  If anyone can help I would be so thankful.
Ann M.
on 1/8/10 9:00 pm - Sun City, AZ
Do you  have Aetna insurance?  They seem to change the rules whenever someone is close to getting their surgery.  Contact them and get in writing exactly what they're expecting to see and once you've completed those things, then submit for coverage and enclose the paper that they sent you so they can't change the rules again.  One of our group had completed the 6 months diet & doctor stuff only to find out that Aetna then added a 6 month exercise to their list.  She then had to endure that but was finally able to get her surgery and has done well ever since.  Dr. Juarez takes Aetna and was her surgeon.
Certified OH Support Group Leader

Bariatric University - Bariatric Coach
on 1/9/10 2:12 am - Apache Junction, AZ
I have Abrazo & PHP/Community Connection (AHCCCS).  In the denial letter they sent it states exactly what is expected: "a weight loss program for a least six months. Program must include a reduced calorie diet with an increased activity, supervised and documented nutrition plan and progress by both the nutritionist and your doctor, with bi-weekly weigh-ins."  That's where they get me, I had monthly weigh ins, some months, for three months, I saw the Nutrittionis and the PCP and was weighed in at both places, but the appts were not two weeks apart.  UGH!!!! I have re-read their letter several times, and I am hoping that if the doctor re-submits MORE documentation along with my appeals letter that we might make it fly!!  My PCP says he will do all he can to help me get this surgery and has been very helpful.  I think a couple of his staff think differently though.   The surgeon I am trying to get the new referral for is Dr. Juarez!!!!  The hospital he does his surgeries at is "Center of Excellence" approved by Medicare (Abrazo).  I have a friend that went to him for by-pass and says he is an excellent doctor.  I am trying to get the LapBand. 
on 1/13/10 1:47 pm - Glendale, AZ
Well, I liked Dr Simon well enough and was happy with surgery, follow-up etc. The office staff (specifically billing has been a nightmare) has been a 50/50 proposition at best. Then today, I went for my 18 month checkup, which was scheduled with Dr. Schlesinger. I specifically made a 1pm appt to be the first after lunch and avoid delays in waiting room. Was advised that he had been called away for an emergency but would be returning...but NO estimate of time was available.

At 1:40pm, he strolled in with a teenaged boy close behind him.

At 1:45pm, I was weighed and roomed.

At 2:10pm, I found an MA and asked if Dr. Schlesinger had returned and was told he was back.

At 2:30pm, As I leave the room to hunt down the MA again, I see the doc leaving an exam room and speaking to a patient. I told the same MA that I could no longer wait, that I had meetings back at my office and that I would have expected to be the first seen when he returned from his "emergency". No apology, no "let me see if he can see you immediately". NO THANKS...

My health care $ will spend the same somewhere else and I'll be happy not to have to drive to Tempe to be treated this disrespectfully...

Dr. Fang...here I come!
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