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Where is Dr. Steven Simon?

on 1/4/10 6:05 pm
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 8:58 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 6:26 pm - 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 10:30 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 1:28 pm
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 9:34 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 9:27 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 1/9/10 5:00 am - Sun City, AZ
RNY on 06/16/06 with
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 10:12 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 9:47 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. I come!
on 2/8/10 9:48 am - Bellflower, CA
 I have been wondering the same thing about Dr. Simon. I was told he took a leave of absence and then I was told he was back by the after hours people. I called the office today to schedule my one on one appointment with him and was told again hes on leave. Whatever is going on the office is either hush hush about it or they are actually in the dark themselves. This was very disappointing news because after attending his class I was certain I wanted him to do my surgery.
on 2/8/10 12:42 pm - Layton, UT

Hey Kimberly,
So sorry your surgeon is MIA?  Not sure what to tell you about that.  But....I did notice that you are from Mesa.  On our side of town and producing hundreds of very happy and successful post-ops is Dr. Podkamini and Dr. Schuster at Banner Gateway.  They aren't my surgeon's but I do attend the support groups there and the patient's are all doing fabulous and are very happy with their surgeries, the program there and their surgeons.

Also on our side of town (and if you are considering lapband) is Dr. Marge Buttler.  She's realtively new but has several happy post-ops as well.  She is located in Mesa at the Banner Desert hosp on Dobson and Southern.

If I were you, I wouldn't put my life on hold while either a surgeon take times off or the program isn't giving full disclosure.  They probably just assume that all patient's will forget about Simon and jump ship to one of their other surgeons.

Take care of YOU!

on 2/8/10 1:21 pm - Bellflower, CA
oooh you are a sweety pie! thank you for replying to my post. I really appreciate you telling me about those surgeons!....ttyl
on 2/26/10 1:35 pm
Hi - I liked Dr. Simon as well and his wife Vicki and Amber.  I loved the old place on Osborn.  They were so nice and helpful and available.  I even had a dream about them.  I got a call to confirm my appt on Thursday and a cancellation call for my Friday afternoon appointment in November - so I think it was very sudden. 

I was extrememly disappointed by Dr. Schlesinger.  He was very negative - even though I have lost 60 pounds and my BMI is awesome!  I couldn't believe it.  He made my skin crawl.  When I asked about Dr. Simon he barked at me that the doctor would not be back.  He was rude to his staff as well.   We have to remember that we are consumers and we can take our money elsewhere. 

On another note, I was self pay using Dr. Simon's Care Credit relationship and they have done away with that without informing the transfer patients.  They billed my insurance company $649.00 when the office visits were supposed to be $175 for self-pay.  Huge rip off for insurance!!!  It seems like they are a mess over there right now.  I will be transferring to a new doctor as soon as billing is correct.

on 3/15/11 6:45 am - AZ
Don't worry ladies... He is right here! This man changed my life in 2006!

Arizona Weight Loss Solutions
29505 N. Tatum Blvd. Suite 380
Phoenix, Az 85050


on 8/23/11 6:44 pm - AZ
Dr. Simon is my Guru! 

However, I am sad to say this clinic is closing Sept 1 and Dr. Simon is leaving Phoenix.  In Dr. Simon's letter, he stated that management with Desert Ridge was at odds so the clinic is closing.  I am disappointed in him because he really saved my life on May 31st!  Referral to either Juarez or Fang is really a slap because I don't think Mercy Care is contracted with either of them, and I REFUSE to even consider Schlessinger!!  I think maybe personal issues may have crept up for Dr. Simon to leave Phoenix.  He is the smartest man I know in this weight loss surgery protocol.  I entrusted Simon to see me through my loss, and expected him to do it.  Now, I feel let down.  The other two docs are fine, but they don't know me and my case as Dr. Simon does.  He told me 4 yrs ago I needed revision surgery, and 3 months ago Dr. Simon operated on me. 
Ronda S. Reed, M. Ed.    
on 6/25/11 7:13 pm
I just had my revision surgery with Dr. Simon at PV Hospital.  He is the best!!  I tried the Tempe location first, but hated Dr. Schlesinger (That man should be kicked out of practice !!!)  My ins carrier referred me to Dr. Simon.  Four years ago, I learned that I needed revision surgery.  It has been all this time getting all the ducks in a row for this surgery.  I am now almost a month postop and losing weight with my vertical sleeve gastrectomy--26 pounds down with about 50 more to go.  So happy I found Dr. Simon!  He is the best at his craft, and I would trust no other doctor for this kind of surgery.
on 8/12/11 6:17 pm, edited 8/24/11 2:25 pm


on 8/23/11 6:54 pm - AZ
I am so sorry you had problems with your care.  Dr. Simon has been nothing but the best to me--I feel he let me down, too.  The 2 docs he referred to in his letter are not contracted under AHCCCS, and I REFUSE to go to Tempe to see Schlessinger.   Schlessinger cares NADA about patients!  I would think more issues are at hand that force the abrupt leave--My appt with Dr. Simon is Aug 31.  I am not going to let my care slip--I have to be proactive.  It is a terrible loss to Phoenix. 
Ronda S. Reed, M. Ed.    
on 3/14/12 1:21 pm
I have gone through chaos since Dr. Simon has closed his practice. I have called AZWLS multiple times in an attempt to locate Dr. Simon and was told "If Dr. Simon wants to be found, he would have given you his number."

I really liked Dr. Simon, but I feel extremely betrayed by the way my situation was handled.

I paid cash, and essentially gave up my life savings for this surgery. There was an agreement that I would have free lapband adjustments and follow ups for a full year from my surgery date.

I called Dr. Simon's office to ensure that the free fills and follow ups we had agreed upon would be carried over to the new doctor. I was told that they would be. This was not what happened. The new doctors office forced me to pay $200 for an aquisition fee, and $150 for any adjustments. (Which I unfortunately had complications so I already had one where they emptied my band, and will probably need at least 2 more to re-fill my band).

So, I am sorely dissapointed due to the high volume of bills I am liable for because of the lack of communication and the way the office was closed during his departure.