February 28, 2013 By Steven E. Greer, MD
BatteryPark.TV has received many complaints about the service from the urgent care center at 200 Chambers Street, “Emergency Medical Care“, owned and operated by Dr. Steve Okhravi and his non-medical doctor brother, Al Okhravi. Dr. Okhravi’s online curriculum vitae (a resume for doctors) lists him as being “board certified” with the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM), so we investigated.
The ABIM searched their files and replied that Dr. Okhravi lost his board certification status almost three years ago after failing to complete tests and other steps required to remain in good status. The ABIM sent the official Verification of Certification Status letter. Moreover, Dr. Okhravi has never been board-certified at all in emergency medicine, yet he runs an elaborate urgent care center and uses the word “Emergency” throughout his website.
Dr. Okhravi also lists being “Board Certified” in the American College of Physician Executives. We called the ACPE, and they were befuddled at this title. They do not have a “Board certification”, but do offer “certificates” after a short test is taken.
Dr. Okhravi lists his third “Board Certification” as being with the American Board of Medical Review Officers. If you have never heard of that, you are not alone. It is actually called the American Association of Medical Review Officers, and is a for-profit entity that doles our certificates to doctors to allow them to do workplace drug testing. However, Dr. Okhravi’s license expired in May of 2009.
We called Dr. Okhravi’s two locations to verify that our information was accurate. They said that the “manager” would answer our questions, then declined to put the manager on the phone. This “manager” is Dr. Okhravi’s brother, Al Okhravi, who is the “CEO” of the urgent care centers, and not medically trained.
Dr. Okhravi, of Persian ancestry according to interviews and his published CV, received his medical degree in Colombia, not the United States. He seems to make an effort to hide that on his CV by not listing his medical school training on the same page as the rest of his career accomplishments and licenses. He then claims to have completed “residency” at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the Bronx Lebanon Hospital.
After training, Dr. Okhravi then bounced around from one small Long Island or New Jersey hospital after the other, with numerous “Chairman” titles. We called his most recent location, St. Mary’s Hospital in Passaic, New Jersey, and spoke with the ER attending on duty. She declined to give any information on Dr. Okhravi and the reason for his departure, indicating that it was a sensitive matter. We have also learned that Dr. Okhravi somehow had a contract to deliver emergency care to Kingston Hospital, in Kingston, New York, but that contract was terminated or not renewed.
Currently, Dr. Okhravi lists that he is the “Medical Director” of his own “Emergency Medical Care”. The term “emergency” is tricky, since legally his centers are not considered to be emergency care and cannot receive ambulances or insurance reimbursement as true emergency departments can.
The recent discovery that Dr. Okhravi is in fact not in good standing with the American Board of Internal Medicine is just one more reason that BatteryPark.TV cautions anyone seeking care at the 200 Chambers Street urgent care center. Local mothers have posted comments online that they received prescriptions for their children that were the incorrect dosage. Dr. Okhravi has no board certification in pediatric medicine.
Also concerning to us has been the high usage rate of the center’s own CT-scan, which generates considerable revenue for Dr. Okhravi. CT-scans deliver serious amounts of radiation and should be used prudently. The financial conflict of interest posed by doctors using their own imaging tests is a major problem in American medicine.
Aside from the quality of care, the billing practice of Dr. Okhravi’s center has generated many complaints. The law allows a facility, such as 200 Chambers, that is not part of an insurance network, to charge any price they want, since the services are “emergent”. Dr. Okhravi is not part of any insurance plan, and only accepts cash or Workman’s Comp reimbursement. Exploiting this loophole, many patients treated at 200 Chambers have received bills in excess of $8,000 for simple CT-scans and minor care.
The building manager that leases the 200 Chambers location to Dr. Okhravi is Jack Resnick and Sons, and the person in charge is Fran Delgoria. According to Dr. Steve Okhravi and his brother Al, they have been unable to install a better external sign for the urgent care center because, “The landlords are assholes…they hate us.”. Dr. Okhravi and his brother recently opened a second urgent care center on 42nd street in hopes of getting more patient flow. In Tribeca, at their 200 Chambers location, the lobby is usually empty.
We caution anyone planning to utilize the services of Dr. Okhravi or his clinics to seek a second opinion. Nearby, as an alternative, is an urgent care center managed by a Harvard-trained, ER board-certified, physician, Dr. Leslie Miller. She started Medhattan at the southeast corner of the 9/11 Memorial on 106 Liberty Street.
(In full disclosure, BatteryPark.TV has previously recommended Dr. Okhravi and his 200 Chambers Street location after meeting him for a filmed tour of his facilities. The story and video were not a paid commercials and Dr. Okhravi has never paid BatteryPark.TV for any advertising. (Dr. Okhravi does advertise with Robert Simko’s Doorman’s Guide). It was only recently, after considering doing further business with Dr. Okhravi, that red flags were raised when he could not commit in writing to being “board certified”. We also witnessed CT-scan usage that seemed inappropriate. We greatly apologize for the initial recommendation.)