Top Doctors: Inside story on internists

Dr. Bernard Nash, an Internist, in an examination

Dr. Bernard Nash, an Internist, in an examination room at his West Islip office. (July 18, 2011) (Credit: Charles Eckert)

Whether you have an annoying ache, a sniffle that won't go away or a funny-looking growth, there's a good chance that an internist will be the doctor you'll see for your medical problem.

An internist is a doctor of internal medicine -- not to be confused with an intern, who's a doctor in training.

Here's what you should know:


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1. AN INTERNIST CAN TREAT YOU FOR LIFE

While family medicine physicians specialize in treating both kids and adults, their counterparts in internal medicine focus on patients from the late teen years through the end of life. "An internist is a doctor for adults," said Dr. Michael Ammazzalorso, chief medical officer at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola.

2. INTERNISTS KNOW ABOUT A HUGE VARIETY OF MEDICAL ISSUES

"There is very little that a well-trained, experienced internist cannot handle," said Dr. Bernard Nash, associate chief of medicine at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip. However, internists will refer patients to specialists when necessary.

3. INTERNISTS OVERSEE ALL YOUR MEDICAL CARE

As Nash explains it: "We spend a tremendous amount of time on patient care after the patient leaves, arriving at a diagnosis, coordinating care with other specialties, ordering and getting authorization for specific tests, reviewing lab tests and fighting with insurance companies to get approval for medicines and tests."

4. INTERNISTS MIGHT DETECT PROBLEMS WHEN SPECIALISTS ARE INVOLVED

"When Dr. X says one thing, and Dr. Y says another, we're there to put the pieces together, since they may not both have a full picture," Ammazzalorso said.

5. IT MAY BE TOUGH TO FIND AN INTERNIST WHO TAKES NEW PATIENTS

A severe shortage of internal medicine physicians has developed, at least in part because many medical students prefer to go into higher-paying specialty fields and thus are not replacing internists who are retiring. The shortage is expected to get worse.

"One of my colleagues has an eight-month waiting list for new patients," Ammazzalorso said. "When one of her patients passed on, one of the women in the town said, 'I know so-and-so died, can I take her place?' It reminds me of someone looking for an apartment in Manhattan."

So, be prepared for a possible delay when you look for an internist, he said. Your insurance company can help identify internists in your area, as can your county's medical society.

The Nassau County Medical Society is at nacmed.org or 516-832-2300.

You can reach the Suffolk County Medical Society at scms-sam.org or 631-851-1400.

 

This is the fifth installment of a 26-week series in which Newsday presents Castle Connolly's list of top L.I. doctors.

This week, we're featuring internists.

Dr. Barry Balot

150 E. Sunrise Hwy.

Lindenhurst

631-225-6200

Dr. Nicholas Berbari

222 Station Plaza North

Mineola

516-663-2051

Dr. Jeffrey Berger

222 Station Plaza North

Mineola

516-663-2588

Dr. Robert Bernard

6144 Rte. 25-A, C Bldg.

Wading River

631-929-5900

Dr. Mark Corapi

222 Station Plaza North

Mineola

516-663-2051

Dr. Alexander Covey

445 Main St.

Center Moriches

631-878-9200

Dr. Stephen Cusumano

850 Hicksville Rd.

Seaford

516-735-5454

Dr. Michael Delman

301 E. Main St.

Bay Shore

631-968-3322

Dr. Richard Federbush

175 Jericho Tpke.

Syosset

516-364-9800

Dr. Steven Friedling

267 E. Main St., A Bldg.

Smithtown

631-724-8348

Dr. Burt Gelberg

401 Franklin Ave.

Franklin Square

516-326-2255

Dr. Harold German

150 Main St.

Huntington

631-271-8700

Dr. Steven Goldfarb

365 County Rd. 39-A

Southampton

631-283-5542

Dr. Michael Goodman

2495 Newbridge Rd.

Bellmore

516-826-1200

Dr. Lydia Gorski

820 Jericho Tpke.

New Hyde Park

516-352-0430

Dr. Joanne Gottridge

865 Northern Blvd.

Great Neck

516-622-5001

Dr. Edward Hallal

180 E. Main St.

Bay Shore

631-665-0027

Dr. Edward Hotchkiss

158 Hempstead Ave.

Lynbrook

516-593-3541

Dr. Corradino Lalli

59 Southern Blvd.

Nesconset

631-366-0404

Dr. Pauline Leong

865 Northern Blvd.

Great Neck

516-622-5000

Dr. John Oppenheimer

P.O. Box 3137

Sag Harbor

631-725-4600

Dr. Harvey Pollak

2 Prohealth Plaza

Lake Success

516-622-6020

Dr. Frederic Rakowitz

295 Northern Blvd.

Great Neck

516-482-4940

Dr. Rosario Romano

5225-15 Rte. 347

Port Jefferson Station

631-331-1000

Dr. Jack Rubenstein

70 Glen Cove Rd.

Roslyn Heights

516-621-1502

Dr. Steve Rucker

1999 Marcus Ave.

Lake Success

516-775-4545

Dr. Lloyd Simon

44210C County Rd. 48,

Box 1341

Southold

631-765-4150

Dr. Lowell Taubman

206 Riverside Blvd.

Long Beach

516-432-5670

Dr. Leonard Timpone

1051 Adams Ave.

Franklin Square

516-354-4858

Dr. Mark Weinstein

4045 Hempstead Tpke.

Bethpage

516-731-7770

 

How they were picked

 

Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. is a health care research and information company founded in 1991 by a former medical college board chairman and president to help guide consumers to America's top doctors and hospitals. Castle Connolly's established survey and research process, under the direction of a doctor, involves tens of thousands of doctors and the medical leadership of leading hospitals.

Castle Connolly's team of researchers follows a rigorous screening process to select doctors on national and regional levels. Using mail and telephone surveys, and electronic ballots, they ask physicians and the leadership of top hospitals to identify exceptional doctors. Careful screening of doctors' educational and professional experience is essential to the committee. Not every good physician makes the list. Rather, the list is a way for patients to get started on their search for the best medical professional. Newsday is not part of the selection process.

Doctors do not and cannot pay to be selected and profiled as Castle Connolly Top Doctors.

 

To see the whole list . . .

 

Who else is on the list of Top Doctors? More than 6,000 listings are in the New York Metro Area edition of "Top Doctors," published by Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. The softcover list price is $34.95. For more information, go to castleconnolly.com, or call 800-399-DOCS.

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