Where Should I Go To Have My Veins Treated in Pittsburgh?

Where Should I Go To Have My Veins Treated in Pittsburgh?


Happel Laser & Vein is the Answer

We accept and participate in the following health insurance plans.

  • Aetna
  • Advantra
  • Anthem/BCBS
  • Cigna
  • Coventry
  • Devon
  • 4Most
  • Health America
  • Health Assurance
  • Health Plan of Upper Ohio Valley
  • Humana
  • Highmark/BCBS
  • Medical Mutual
  • Mon-Valley Health Plan
  • Multi-Plan
  • Tricare
  • United Health Care
  • Western Pennsylvania Electric (WPEE)
  • UPMC
  • All BC/BS plans

I often see patients for a varicose vein second opinion.

These second opinion patients tell me that they have never seen the doctor at the other vein center.

Ultrasound testing is always done on everyone who walks in their door regardless of whether the patient has symptoms or not.

Routine Doppler ultrasound testing on patients who present to vein centers for cosmetic conditions is wrong. It is an abuse of the system. It is an unnecessary cost.

Peter Lawrence MD, the president of the Society for Vascular Surgery, has denounced routine Doppler ultrasound testing on all patients who present to vein centers.

He stated that it leads to unnecessary saphenous vein ablation procedures. He stated:

Since the saphenous vein can be used as a replacement artery for blocked coronary or leg arteries, it should be preserved whenever possible. Therefore, an ultrasound test to diagnose saphenous vein or deep venous incompetence is not required when the patient presents only with spider veins.

He is right.

You should beware if a nurse or a female assistant of some kind orders testing on your veins. Typically when this happens, nobody recalls anyone’s names or their position in that vein organization because it is a franchise.

As the result of this unnecessary testing, unnecessary laser vein procedures are being done. This is occurring in Pittsburgh and throughout the country. It is an wrong and inappropriate. Venous conferences and experts in the field of venous disease are addressing this issue. The solution is difficult and unclear.

95% of Veins are NOT Covered by Insurance

Contrary to what you may see advertised by other vein centers, 95% of veins are not covered by insurance.

Either that is a bait-and-switch marketing technique or claims are being submitted fraudulently.

People are sometimes upset to hear that their asymptomatic cosmetic spider veins are not a covered service.

At the International Vein Conference in Miami this year, the first hour was entitled, “The Wrong Doctor Doing the Wrong Procedure for the Wrong Reason.”

The conference director stated that, “Cheaters are Going to Cheat” no matter how much insurance companies restrict vein coverage.

This results in insurance companies deciding medical necessity instead of doctors.

This is a backlash because of the abuses by the “bad apples” that were discussed previously.

If You Only See a Vein Doctor on Laser Day, That is Wrong

What I really find hard to believe is that a treatment choice was made before ever seeing a doctor at all!

Personally, if I was given a treatment decision without a doctor’s opinion, I would not return.

That is the case with many patients who come to me for a second opinion. Often, these people are in the medical field.

They know that system of treatment is substandard.

People who come to me after their treatment was done elsewhere say that they met the doctor for the very first time on the day of their laser procedure!

The fortunate patients never came back to that center after their initial consultation with the nurse.

I always ask people why they came to me for a second opinion.

They all  say the same thing.

They say that they “felt uncomfortable” with this incomplete approach to their varicose vein treatment care.

However, many people who already had a treatment at these other places said that they assumed that what they experienced was normal.

They often mentioned television ads by the other vein center or that the other vein center was located near their house.

Usually they didn’t even recall the name of the doctor who treated their veins.

Many tell me that they can’t even recall the name of that vein center where they were treated!

What the Standard of Vein Care Should Be

Unfortunately, the approach vein franchises use is becoming the norm for vein care in Pittsburgh.

This vein mill approach of treating patients pushes through the largest volume of patients to maximize profit.

The present system provides incentives to create a greater volume of patients and procedures. Quality venous care suffers as a result.

Vein problems are completely different from person to person. Vein treatment plans should also differ from person to person. The treatment, which could have worked for someone else, may not be what is in the best interest for your veins.

That’s why a personalized approach is best. You need one qualified and experienced doctor from the start to the finish works the best.

You’ve worked hard to afford an expensive health insurance plan and you should be rewarded with its full benefits.

Vein Treatments are Being Rationed by Insurance Companies

It is my opinion that the gang approach to vein care is not the way medicine should be practiced. Insurance companies are restricting vein treatments that you can receive.

You need an approach that is in your best interest. You need personal attention directed by one qualified vein doctor who is on your side.

If this impersonal gang approach sounds crazy, then think about coming to see me.

As a board certified vascular surgeon with over thirty years of treating veins, I will provide a traditional one on one experience.


I will create an individualized treatment plan for you.

As your vein doctor, I will be able to clearly tell you what I believe is in your best interest. I will continue to fight for the best varicose vein treatment that you need with your insurance provider.

My approach doesn’t involve ancillary medical personnel. I will explain everything personally in a clear and lengthy initial consultation.

I pride myself on providing the one-on-one personalized approach. My vein practice is unique compared to those franchised chains treating veins that are present throughout Pittsburgh and the country.

It is my strong personal opinion that this is the only way medicine and the treatment of varicose veins ought to be practiced.

If that sounds reasonable to you, then give us a call at 724-969-0600 and have your veins treated in Pittsburgh by Dr Happel.

About The Author

Dr. John Happel

Dr. John Happel has been in practice as a surgeon since 1986 in the Pittsburgh region. He specializes in vascular surgery and has subspecialized in the treatment of varicose and spider veins since 1999. Dr. Happel is board certified in vascular surgery and recertified in vascular surgery in 2012. He was chosen in 1985 to fulfill the position for the vascular surgical fellowship at the world renowned Mayo Clinic.