My experience with Shippen & Crisler
- 04-27-2008, 11:09 AM
My experience with Shippen & Crisler
Since the previous thread about Cenegenics has some members recommending Dr. Shippen and Dr. Crisler, I'm throwing in my two cents about my experience with both of them, both have some serious issues with how they run their practices, and anyone considering seeing either of them should be aware of what to expect.
I started with Dr. Shippen, and while I found him to be a nice guy and compassionate Doctor, the fact of the matter is he's in the twilight of his career, there didn't seem to be any type of succession plan as far as care after his eventual retirement, his wife who is the office manager made me feel like an inconvenience whenever I would have to call. He's only in the office about 3 days a week, when I was seeing him it took 3 months to get an office visit and 2 months for a phone appointment. He charges $575 for the 1st appointment and doesn't seem to take any insurance for TRT patients. I would normally have to wait about 3 hours after my scheduled time to see him because he would be running very late with his normal general practice (usually Medicare) patients for which he probably gets paid $40 to see. I kind of resented paying first-class prices for coach service.
He gave me a script and told me to copy it, go in monthly for labs and then to call the office to get adjustments to my protocol. He wanted the lab to mail him the results, the labs don't seem to be set up for that and as a result Shippen's office would never get them. I finally persuaded the lab tech to fax them to me so I could send them to his office myself. Then I'd call Shippen's office every month to ask how I should adjust my protocol. I'd normally call at 10am and then they'd tell me to call back an hour later, and an hour later when I'd call, they tell me to call another hour later. This would hapen all day and sometimes into the next day as well. I finally got tired of this and the experimental protocol he was trying on me that didn't work and decided that I was going to try Dr. Crisler, based upon forum comments, or Cenegenics.
I placed an inquiry on the Cenegenics website and Dr. Raymond Ishman, an affiliate Dr. from Atlantic City called me. He was nice and spent about 45 minutes taking with me about my problems and his approach. I liked the idea of having more access to the Dr. and the complete medical overview done at the beginning, but the costs seemed a bit high even though I can afford them, I don't understand why they don't let you get covered labs done through your insurance when possible. The 6-7 hour drive to get to Atlantic City was also a negative for me. I needed to go to Michigan for business so I decided to see Dr. Crisler instead.
I called Crisler's office and was happy to find out that I could get an appointment the following week. Before my appointment I faxed overall all of my previous lab results & history. During my appointment, Dr. Crisler spent about the first 45 minutes talking about himself, it seemed very difficult to get him focused on me, he acted like he had reviewed previous labs but it was obvious that hadn't and made it worse by acting like he had. I had brought a list of questions and it was a struggle to get him to answer them, anything he didn't seem to know the answer for, he just blew off. (Hey Dr. Crisler, I don't give a **** that you get your shirts custom-made, that you were mentioned in a Playboy article, or that you're drinking Scotch with Shippen at the A4M meeting--blah, blah, blah) I basically ended up with the standard protocol that he seemingly gives everybody, was told I needed to get new labs in 6 weeks and they would contact me about them. I left the appointment feeling like he was an egotistical jerk, but I was willing to put up with it in hopes of finding a protocol that would make me feel better.
6 weeks came, and no lab script. About 2 weeks later I emailed his assistant Kim and asked about the script. I got a pissy email from Dr. Crisler saying that they had a system in place and I was short circuiting it by asking about my lab script. Finally 4 months later I called his office as his "system" was obviously not working and I wasn't feeling any better on his cookie-cutter protocol. I finally got a script went the next day for the draw, and then it was 6 weeks until they called to schedule a follow-up call for the labs. Dr. Crisler doesn't like for you to have a copy of your labs until after he talks with you, so as he rattles through the results you don't have anything to reference and ask questions about. When I asked him about a varicocele repair or vasectomy his response was a robotic "ask your family doctor", gee I thought anything pertaining to my nuts would be relative to TRT.
Every set of labs happens months instead of weeks after they are supposed to. Phone appointments happen anywhere from 1 to 3 hours after you're scheduled time-if he's running 3 hours behind on phone appointments. I don't understand why his assistants Kim or Patricia can't call to let you know they are 3 hours behind, they also schedule phone appointment on days that Dr. Crisler isn't even in. Any meds I ordered through his office usually took about 3 weeks to get.
Considering that both Shippen and Crisler operate in a true cash-for-service private medicine realm, it's shocking how unprofessional they are in handling their patients.
I realize that some of you have had success with these Doctors, I haven't and have wasted more than 2 years of my life in the attempt to feel better with them.
- 04-27-2008, 12:08 PM
FYI, my Cenegenics doc will allow me to get my labs elsewhere if it's from an approved lab like Quest. Many family doctors use local labs that may not meet their standards. However, the drive to Atlantic City is a *****. It's hard to find a good doctor but it's worth the try. I wish you luck in your search. I know how hard it can be.
Last edited by colkurtz_spf; 04-27-2008 at 06:42 PM.
- 04-27-2008, 02:43 PM
If your case is not overly complicated;
If you are not former steroid user; or adversely affected finasteride user;
If you are willing to learn (little bit) of the ropes about TRT, adrenals, thyroid, lipids, metabolism;
If you have a doctor that would give you script for testing and medicines;
If you can test at Quest Diagnostics;
If you can access Genova Diagnostic testing, ie; no NYState resident, but able to get script for these tests;
If you are willing to do above tests (and do not waste time complaining that it is too much of them);
Open another thread, state your case, we all will make attempt at helping you.
Yes, it is a bit-ch to find a doctor that one can be comfortable with, I wasted more than 2 years, do not feel bad about.
wear tight briefs,
do not use HCG when on supplemental T, let the balls and scrotum shrink tight
if above is not helpful, see specialist, surgery.
04-27-2008, 05:38 PM
Sorry to hear that Cranky...I am in a similar position with my DR at times, although they are improving.
Jan is correct, the more you know and the less you rely on DRs the better off you are.
04-27-2008, 07:39 PM
I think it's just as important to learn whatever you can to assist in your care. Finding a doctor that is willing to try new things is crucial.
04-27-2008, 09:11 PM
I've read tons of information, including medical textbooks on this subject and while it has been tempting to treat myself, I prefer to have a Doctor oversee my treatment and provide scripts for labs and meds. With the current steroid issues I wouldn't be comfortable trying to get meds on my own anyways. At my last physical my GP admitted that I knew more about the topic than he did, he's very open to me finding treatment options.
I've been to a Dr. outside Philly and he's put me on a protocol that I think is finally the right one for me. Hardasnails has also been looking at some lifestyle and nutritional issues as well.
I feel like Shippen and Crisler are the Emperor's new clothes...
04-28-2008, 07:37 AM
The more you say the more we all benefit.
Good information is hard to come by.
You may save grief to some of you friends (in misery).
Hardasnails (HAN) knows his stuff, I am using his service.
Hope your balls get less cranky.
04-28-2008, 11:17 AM
04-28-2008, 03:21 PM
Should be interesting to see how this thread will go. I would like to hear more about Crisler and Shippen if anyone has stories/facts to relay based on experience too. You don't hear people say bad things at all about Crisler. Shippen has his promoters and naysayers.
I will agree, having seen Crisler, I also had to wait 1.5hrs past the scheduled appointment. Also, he did seem a bit distracted and didn't want to hear any real history from me. He definitely wanted to take time to tell some joke or story to me though on my dime. That did put me off a little, particularly when he cut me off to tell me we didn't have all day to go over every bit of history. Not that I was giving a life story to him. But he looked over some labs I brought on the spot, made a few comments and did seem to think that my current doctor was incompetent based on some quick med history. He was pretty clear about stating his opinion on that openly.
I have found his staff pretty responsive so far though to any questions with quick replies.
Like most doctors, he wants to run some labs, see the numbers, then make some decisions on how to treat someone. It is too bad you are having such issues after the initial appointment.
I don't mind some arrogance if you get results. Unfortunately, you seem to have had some issues with him.
Hope my treatment doesn't end up like this, will be a big letdown after all the talk on the forums and NO bad posts about him anywhere except now. I think this is actually the first negative post about Crisler and his care I have read.
I wonder why that is? I have a few theories I won't air right now.
04-28-2008, 05:37 PM
04-28-2008, 09:20 PM
04-29-2008, 01:00 AM
I'm in for any additional comments on Crisler, I'm hoping to go and see him in June. My Dr. is willing to prescribe the test but unwilling to go any further. I am hoping he will put me on a higher dose of test. After a few blood tests, the 100mg of Test I take a week has me right around the 500 mark.
04-29-2008, 06:17 AM
Listening is probably the most important skill a Doctor can have in my opinion. Every experience I had with Crisler started with a monologue, from him and about him that would take 30-40% of my appointment, and then there wouldn't be enough time to address my questions or issues. Thank God he doesn't work in an emergency room.
I finally addressed my concerns about the timing/scheduling issues of his office with someone from his staff, who promptly gave me some lip service about improving, the very next day I had a phone appointment that occurred over 3 hours after my scheduled time. I can't imagine calling a client 3 hours after I had scheduled an phone appointment, I doubt anyone here would do the same. My time is just as valuable as his, it's just rude and inconsiderate on his part.
04-29-2008, 08:39 AM
The only thing that counts is
substitute for it (not that great substitute) is Free Testosterone.
The other ....
Why do they have to kill first my remaining testicular capacity,
and months or year latter make attempt at their revival using inadequate amounts of HCG.
04-29-2008, 05:06 PM
Ok...well on a scale of 12-40 my free test is 16. So I'd like to see that go up a bit higher.
04-29-2008, 07:20 PM
I'm a lurker but will post as I am currently a patient of Dr. Crisler.
I guess it's all a matter of perspective. He runs a small operation and the rates are ridiculously low. I am fairly local and more than willing to cut him some slack. The phone appointments are $60 and the initial visit was a couple hundred (I don't remember the exact amount). I do see what the OP is saying. Yes, some phone appointments may be delayed and there may be issues with getting timely replies. It is no worse than what I have experienced at numerous other medical practices.
His bedside manner isn't a problem for me. Dr. Crisler does talk about himself a little but I attribute that to trying to build some camaraderie. I didn't feel "neglected" as the OP seems to have. Both Dr. Crisler and Kim have always been very pleasant to me (even if it is a little later than scheduled).
I partly attribute having a successul Dr./patient relationship to me following their rules. First of all, I assume that many of his patients are cranky, testosterone starved, they feel like crap, and have no patience. I do follow their rules and know when to call and when to not bug them. I'm sure there are patients that drop $60 for a phone visit, expect an hour of his time, and then bombard Kim with emails and phone calls.
It sounds like Dr. Crisler wasn't a good fit for you. It's possible the feeling was mutual. It is your right to vent about it online but to me much of your post seems unrealistic to me (no offense intended - just my .02).
I am a "glass half full" person. Dr. Crisler is a low cost provider of a very specialized type of medicine. To me it is like living in the sticks and owning a vintage Ferrari - and finding a nationally known vintage Ferrari mechanic an hour away. If I can't make that relationship work in the end I am the one that is probably worse off.
04-29-2008, 08:34 PM
I must reluctantly agree with much of what was said about Shippen.
A good and caring man, but his practice is disorganized and he seldom reads anything before we speak for a $120 phone consult. I used to send a synopsis of how I was feeling and what we had done so far, but quickly realized that he wasn't reading a damned thing, so what's the point.
May of his suggestions turned out to be expensive detours, like the vastly overpriced "Neuroscience" products, but others have been better. On the whole, I am sticking with him, at least for now. There isn't anything better out there, at least not that I have found.
I've heard mixed reviews on Crisler's office practices, but very little negative about the man. Most speak highly of him. Those that don't tend to believe him arrogant. I have no personal experience, but have corresponded with him, where he proved to be a good man and direct. Perhaps it is this direct manner that some view as arrogance. I believe he has only been practicing for 5-6 years, which may explain things a bit. He may need more time to organize the practice. Still, he is a wealth of info and has helped many. Were he closer I'd see him as well.
04-29-2008, 09:22 PM
Im a patient of Dr Crisler and id say im happy with him. He is very knowlegable and has been very considerate towards me. While yes vov's can be late i dont think thats different than any other doctor i've dealt with. The truth is there arnt many good docs out there when it comes to this, and hes one of the few good ones.
04-29-2008, 09:47 PM
I'm glad you're happy with Crisler.
Most of the assumptions you make about me as a patient of Crislers are completely wrong however. I don't expect an hour of time for $60, I usually got between 4 to 7 minutes for $60 and have the cell phone bills to prove it. It's not the amount of time or money I'm unhappy about, it's the lack of results or medical information from the call. The last phone appointment that happened 3 hours late came in the middle of a new client lunch instead of at 9:30 am as scheduled. I had to leave the restaurant and go outside to talk, I guess I should have talked about my nuts in front of our new clients in your view. $60 x 10 minutes for a phone consult=$360 per hour, is that a ridiculously low rate?
Over the course of a year I initiated 1 call to Crisler's office, to set up my first appointment, and 4 or 5 emails to check on labs, usually waiting at least 2-3 weeks after I was told I would be sent scripts for labs. I don't think thats "bombarding" to anyone.
FYI-I have a Lexus as I don't have time to waste repairing a vintage Ferrari, I'm glad you have the time to spend in such pursuits.
I'm glad you're content with your Doctor and hope your treatment goes well with him, mine didn't.
04-29-2008, 10:17 PM
There are some great doctors out there who practice this medicine. Mine doesn't drink or smoke; he practices what he preaches and it shows. More importantly, my doctor is an MD.
04-29-2008, 10:18 PM
04-29-2008, 10:39 PM
04-29-2008, 11:20 PM
04-29-2008, 11:40 PM
I have almost the opposite problem with my DR, who is at the top of a related field. He documents every single word and an appointment takes as long as four hours. Basically, I talk for three minutes, he talks for five and then spends fifteen minutes documenting this. The pattern repeats itself for as long as three hours plus an hour with his assistant.
He does the same on phone consults but charges $220 for what amounts to a ten minute consultation, when you back out the data entry time.
He seems to mean well, but I can not take off an entire day to see him so I do not go in as often as possible and my care stagnates. He does all of this because he is being hounded by the conventional medicine loons and even attacked on the net.
He is afraid to do what made him good in the first place. Ultimately I place the blame on "conventional" medicine. They have scared him into hyper documentation and the ultra conservative strategies I must avoid.
I would find a way to ignore any arrogance, if it exists, and focus on what really matters.
04-30-2008, 01:47 AM
I was glad that I read this thread. It's very obvious to my ears that everything this guy said about those doctors was true. (it was very nicely put also) Your post was worth the effort you put into it, because I will never do business with either of those doctors after reading it. They remind me of my cable company (the only option in town) and they behave in exactly the same freggin manner. I am also on HRT, but I plan to steer clear of these 2 guys who think they are doing us all a huge favor. lol JMO
04-30-2008, 05:43 AM
04-30-2008, 06:26 AM
I have several Doctors in the family, so I do have some understanding of billing practices.
Since Crisler doesn't take insurance, he doesn't have a lot of the costs associated with collecting insurance reimbursement nor does he have to bill his time out at a rate negotiated by an insurance company. My GP unfortunately gets paid a lot less to see me by my insurance and has a much larger staff & nurses.
Crisler has virtually no medical equipment in his office to maintain. They seemed to only have one printer/fax/copier, which was in his office, Kim was constantly walking in during my appointment to pick up papers which was distracting, so there's not an overabundance of office equipment either. They charge $10 to process a script renewal and $5 to give you a copy of your labs. I don't think they perform any phlebotemy services in house for tests, as far as I know there is not a nurse on staff either.
I own a decent-sized corporation, so I'm pretty aware of the costs related to running a business.
As far as the $60 for phone appointment (I can't deal with the virtual office visit [VOV] term), would I get a more timely call if the charge was $68? $73? How much would it be to have the call actually pertain to my needs? $98? If you had 7pm dinner reservations at TGI Fridays and Ruth's Chris would it be OK to for TGIF to seat you at 10pm because the steak is $10, not $40? Would it be OK if the steak was not cooked the way you want it since it was only $10?
I would have been happy to pay more than $60 if that's what I needed to get results. It was the quality of time, not the quantity.
04-30-2008, 08:09 AM
04-30-2008, 08:19 AM
I was a patient now sitting on the other side of the fence one can see how a MD bills do pile up. Most MD if they have a private practice have a small office where rent is probably out of this world. In our area alot of MD are closing up shops because they can not afford to keep there practices afloat due to the crappy ass HMO that do not pay crap. I was just curious and my MD should exactly how insurances work especially HMO's. He told me that they are not worth the drs time even and he feels bad to even turn people down. SO days of traditional MDs living in big houses and driving fancy cars are not like they used to be 20 years ago. 60 bucks is fair provided the information is about the patient and the dr spent agood 5-10 minutes to prepare for the consultation and not just blew through it on the phone and it provided valuable information. Question is most drs I have been too costing up to 600 for a consulation for 2 hours end up talking about there accomplishments who they know, what charity work they do, their childern ,,yadda yadda. Finally after 1.5 or so hours of bull crap they finally start talking about your testing results and protocol. Your left their with a bad taste in your mouth not wanting to go back. I have been to the top specialist in the world and it is all about the ego thing ..
04-30-2008, 09:08 AM
04-30-2008, 09:48 AM
I am glad you have started this thread (it take balls).
OK, this post is about daily experience and logistics of getting help.
Looks like daily experience and logistics sucks,
or at least is not any different than with any other doctor.
Doctor like in MD or OD.
(Dentists are able to manage time to 15 minutes intervals.)
With that said, these two doctors, that is,
are the only doctors that I was able to learn from.
(Add Lef.org to the list)
I am able to figure out work-around program that works for me.
I provide the know-how, doc provides the prescriptions.
It is not perfect, if I could I would get better arrangement.
I just work with what I have.
For most people, in my opinion, dr Crisler (with his warts and all) is the best deal in town.
I just want to spell this out, so people who need help, would not get distracted all together.
I would like to see a list of doctors that are recomended by their patients.
That list could provide some competition and possibly improvement for most of us.
If someone could organize a such a list it could be a God send.
That kind of list cannot be located on site like this one., meso or similar.
It would have to be located in place where it could not be shut down easy.
Same site could also have some skeletal protocols that coul be usefull for 90% cases.
Specialized cases would (unfortunately) need special attention of really qualified doctor.
At the moment, for people who are able to spend $$$, outfits like
may be a place to go.
Howewer I know next to nothing about thise two outfits, so far looks to me like a lots of fluf and very little beef.
One thing, they treat you real well and are allways on time.
It would be real nice if we could get more of detailed informations on these two outfits.
04-30-2008, 09:54 AM
I think the ego thing just comes with being a doctor sometimes, ive noticed this with TONS of docs. As far as Crisler goes, while yes he talks about himself i feel its not about glorifying himself, but kind of becoming friends if you get what i mean?? He has never told me that we were out of time and always answers my questions and gets back to the point at hand. No complaints here. But i always present myself in a calm collected state when talking to him even if im feeling like crap. I think this helps, its probably agitates doctors when someone calls up *****ing non stop or complaining a lot. Just my opinion.
04-30-2008, 10:31 AM
I saw a doc for awhile who was a Cenegenics affiliate. I don't remember what I paid for the initial evaluation - around $1k plus testing - total cost was about $2k. After that his fee was a flat $1k quarterly, for which I received unlimited access.
He wanted to see me for an office visit approximately monthly. Office visits usually lasted at least an hour, during which time we discussed the state of my health and how I was feeling in minute detail. Phone calls also typically lasted at least an hour. Eventually, I decided I didn't really need that much physician access.
I also came to think that my doc lacked experience. He had hundreds of hours of CME credit in the field, and thus was very knowledgable, but seemed to lack practical experience.
I had a favorable impression of Dr. Crisler through his participation on the boards so I initiated a relationship with him and have been happy since.
I ask him what labs he needs done, I have them done and send him the results. I make an appointment for a phone consulation and we discuss the labs and decide on a plan.
Yes, his office procedures need improvement. Yes, he has a healthy ego. But I like him, I find him knowledgable and caring and the relationship just generally works for me.
04-30-2008, 10:54 AM
Also, on one of the threads, someone mentioned that dr Shippen asked him to xerox his script for some repeatable tests.
I was not aware that Quest would accept xeroxed script.
Possibly it is ok in PA, I am in NJ.
I e-mail my (detailed) script request to office assistant,
then call her few hours latter to confirm.
Script is usually ready for pick up the same or next day.
No time wasted, mine or my doc's.
I make an effort to not to teach my doctor.
04-30-2008, 11:11 AM
Usually, it involves two phone consulations. During the first one, he tells me what labs I should have.
I just write them down and have them done through one of those discounted lab services on the Internet.
I have never tried to get the labs covered through my health insurance. I am insured through Kaiser - a very conservative staff-model HMO that probably would not cover them, so I pay for labs out of pocket.
After the labs are done, we discuss in another phone consultation.
04-30-2008, 12:29 PM
Bloodwork is simple for me. Dr. Crisler faxes the info. to Quest Diagnostics. I show up, they draw blood and bill my insurance company. I have Blue Cross and they pay for all of it.
For urine tests at Rhein I pay them upfront, they submit it to Blue Cross and then I get reimbursed.
04-30-2008, 03:24 PM
04-30-2008, 03:49 PM
Both DOs and MDs are physicians. They are both licensed by state and specialty boards to perform surgery and write prescriptions. Applicants to both DO and MD colleges typically have a 4-year undergraduate degree with an emphasis on science courses, and both complete 4 years of basic medical education. In fact, both DOs and MDs:
-can choose to practice in a specialty area of medicine, such as surgery or obstetrics
-complete a residency program, which typically takes 2 to 6 years of additional training
-must pass comparable state licensing examinations
-are equal in the eyes of the law
-practice in fully accredited hospitals and medical centers
-can order medical tests and procedures
-must maintain a prescribed level of continuing education units (CEUs) to remain certified
Currently, there are more than 41,000 osteopathic physicians in practice in the United States. That's approximately 5% of the total number of physicians. Because osteopathic schools emphasize primary care training, more than half of all DOs practice in areas such as pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, and internal medicine. Each year, 100 million patient visits are made to DOs.
Also this summary:
They are the minority, but doesn't make them less competent.
My local "wellness" center has both DOs and MDs, it just depends on the person and what they decided to focus on, some decide that their philosophy as MDs have changed and wish they went the DO route. It is how my local "HRT" MD ended up at their practice.
Either way, both are good choices, and their experience and knowledge should be invidually evaluated, not stereotyped.
04-30-2008, 04:09 PM
You don't have to tell me what they go through. My future son-in-law is at USC getting a PHD in Sport's Medicine. Don't get me wrong. I respect what he is doing and happen to be a believer in the holistic approach. It's tough profession because they spend a lot of time defending their credentials. It's true that both are licensed - some can practice surgery, but they don't have the same residency and that's a big part of their eduction. I would consider a D.O. for a lot of things, but never for open heart surgery, or to extract a tumor from my brain. Osteopathy is a different kind of medicine.
Age management or HRT as we have come to know it is relatively new. It's good to find a doc who believes in preventative medicine and uses the holistic approach, but HRT has lots of ramifications, and I prefer the background of an MD.
04-30-2008, 04:15 PM
Shippen told me to make copies of the basic lab order he wanted me to get done every month. I was using Labcorp & insurance at the time, there was never a problem with it.
Crisler would fax a script directly to the lab, there always seemed to be some issue with the tests. I believe it was because the lab was sent a typed up list, not a lab order with codes. The lab results always had a disclaimer about the lab order being hand-written and some Ambiguous Test Codes policy. Sometimes I'd get an email telling me the order had been faxed to the lab and other times I'd wait weeks only to find out the lab had the scripts for weeks...
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