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Thursday, February 7, 2013


In the Memorandum of Decision in this case dated October 16, 2012, on page 13 going to the top of page 14, Judge Lynda Munro discusses information related to the childrens' psychologist, Dr. Sidney Horowitz.  However, as with everything Judge Munro states, there is crucial information not included in her narrative. 
So first let's get to what Judge Munro does say. 
She states that Dr. Sidney Horowitz recused himself from his role as the childrens' psychologist because Ms. Skipp sent him so many emails--he said around 22 per day for 18 months.  Apparently, Dr. Horowitz found these emails so "relentless" and their "contents so charged" that he could no longer treat the children because he was biased against their mother. 
Further, Judge Munro deplores the fact that the children have lost the safe haven such therapy with Dr. Horowitz would have provided. 
Of course, I dispute the definition of an email that this discussion presumes.  For example, when I write an email, it is a thing of beauty ordinarily including at least several paragraphs.  I can recall putting together several such emails during the course of my divorce case. 
However, when it comes to Susan Skipp, an email really consists of maybe one or two sentences.  So if Susan wrote 22 emails in a single day of sending out one or two sentence emails, that very same amount would be 1 very lengthy email with 22 or more sentences on it were it me.  Since Susan wrote all these emails on her cell phone, my guess is what she did was more like texting than emailing.
So initially although it sounds quite alarming that Susan sent out 22 emails in a single day, if she sent that many--I doubt it--once you get they were most likely single sentence emails, it doesn't seem to be quite as exciting.  I also believe that the reason why Susan Skipp sent out so many emails was because frequently no one answered her emails and she was insisting on getting an answer!  
Now let's move to the more important issues that Judge Lynda Munro does not mention in connection to Dr. Sidney Horowitz.  
For 18 months Dr. Sidney Horowitz had received these emails from Susan Skipp and did not choose to resign from the case.  
The actual impetus for Dr. Horowitz's resignation was that on March 24, 2012 Ms. Skipp sent to Dr. Horowitz an email stating "In addition to my children's records with your notes, please provide the diagnosis for which insurance agrees to provide long term therapy and an itemized billing since your involvement with our family." 
The very next day, suddenly and without warning, on March 25, 2012, Dr. Sidney Horowitz sent an email to the Guardian Ad Litem resigning from the case. 
Dr. Horowitz also stated, and Judge Lynda Munro included this point in her Memorandum of Decision, that it was "the first time in his professional career that I have recused myself from" a case. However, Dr. Sidney Horowitz was lying when he said that and thus he perjured himself.  In fact, he recused himself from at least another case:  Granjales v. Bell, 2009 WL 3086476, 16 (Conn. Super. 2009), and I'll bet I'd find more if I scratched the surface a bit. 
What Susan Skipp had discovered was that from August 23, 2010 until December 19, 2011, Dr. Horowitz was billing the children's insurance company (Aetna) with the diagnosis code of 296.22 which is "major depressive disorder."  As Dr. Horowitz testified on the Stand on August 15, 2012, the children do not have this diagnosis--their diagnosis is Adjustment Disorder. 
To me it appears quite obvious that Dr. Horowitz billed for the more serious diagnosis so that he could receive a higher financial reimbursement from the insurance company for that diagnosis. 
What he did was fraud and malpractice pure and simple. 
During the trial, Dr. Sidney Horowitz stated that the mistake in the diagnostic code was simply a "clerical error" and no more.  However, the description Susan Skipp provides regarding how the diagnostic code was included on the billing precludes the possibility that it could have been a clerical error.  
She states, "I witnessed the manner in which Dr. Horowitz submitted his billing.  At the end of each session with the children, Dr. Horowitz would fill out a billing statement, and hand write a diagnosis code onto each statement.  He would then have me carry the statement to the office receptionist.  At that point, I would pay the co-pay for the visit." 
In other words, Dr. Horowitz wrote out the incorrect diagnostic code onto statements he filled out for 18 months until Susan Skipp confronted him. 
Thus, Dr. Horowitz's explanation is simply not credible. 
In his testimony on August 15, 2012, Dr. Sidney Horowitz also stated that another reason for his decision to recuse himself from the case was because Susan Skipp filed a Motion In Limine in regard to his testimony.  However, this Motion in Limine was filed on April 24, 2012, well after Horowitz had recused himself.  So, in essence, Dr. Horowitz perjured himself again with that explanation. 

I would only ask the question of why Judge Lynda Munro allowed Dr. Horowitz to commit such obvious acts of perjury without holding him accountable. 
Once Susan Skipp began to suspect there were problems with Dr. Horowitz's billing practices, she then requested itemized billing statements from both Dr. Horowitz himself and his office staff.  In addition, Ms. Skipp requested copies of her childrens' medical records.  Dr. Horowitz refused to respond to either request, which is a violation of her rights, and, in my opinion, a tacit acknowledgement of his wrongdoing.  After all, if he didn't do anything wrong, why would he feel the need to withhold the requested documents?  
Then, in the course of making these requests, in talking to Dr. Horowitz's receptionist, Susan Skipp discovered that Dr. Horowitz only utilized one chart for both of her children.  In essence, Dr. Horowitz was billing the insurance company for both children solely under the name of the oldest child.  This again is a questionable practice. It is a standard procedure in medical offices for each client to have an individual file.  Otherwise, how can you possibly differentiate between them?
I can only imagine the shock, confusion and betrayal that Susan Skipp must have felt when she finally understood the nature of the original incorrect diagnosis that Dr. Sidney Horowitz had given her children.  Yes, Dr. Horowitz did call up the insurance company and reported what he had done wrong.  However, he never gave Susan Skipp a call to explain what had been going on.  For the entire 18 months the children were in his care, he had refused to provide any diagnosis to Susan, despite her frequent requests that he do so.  It is only reasonable that a mother should be kept informed regarding her childrens' diagnoses.  It is her  right to know. 

Eventually, Susan Skipp found out on her own that her children had been diagnosed with a major depressive disorder and became extremely alarmed.  She called up the GAL who told her the diagnosis was no big deal.  Then not long after that her daughter expressed some suicidal thoughts and Susan Skipp naturally became extremely distraught.  I will discuss this more in a later blog.

Meanwhile, the bottom line is that what Dr. Sidney Horowitz did is a serious violation of his professional ethics and he should have been held accountable for his actions. Instead, Judge Lynda Munro gave him a free pass and lied about what happened not only through the omission of facts, but also by lying outright.   
Once you know that Dr. Horowitz committed insurance fraud, how can you possibly trust anything Dr. Horowitz has to say. 
What is clear to anyone who reads Dr. Horowitz's testimony is that he found Susan Skipp's insistence on the truth annoying, while he found Shawn Tittle's obsequious fawning much more preferable.  As Dr. Horowitz reported, he really liked the father because, in his words, Mr. Tittle asked me for the names of books and articles to read and "echoed back to me that he understood" my recommendations.  What an ego boost it must have been for Dr. Horowitz having Mr. Tittle echo back his ideas. 

How could the Skipp children ever find a "safe haven" with a narcissistic, lying fraud like Dr. Sidney Horowitz?  That's my question.   
So, again, Judge Lynda Munro repeatedly omits and skews major parts of the story in her Memorandum of Decision regarding this case.  That is a fundamentally dishonest thing to do and disgraceful on the part of a Judge who is sworn to uphold the law. 

More on this later


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