The Lower East Side
Traditions and transitions
Villager photo by Clayton Patterson
Dr. Dave Ores with his girlfriend, Claire Hillan, on Clinton St.
Helping keep the neighborhood healthy, for cheap
By Lori Haught
Don’t have health insurance? It’s no problem for Dr. Dave.
David J. Ores has been a general practitioner on the Lower East Side for 12 years, taking care of the artists and low-income people who don’t have health coverage.
“[My mission is] to help people who are sick or are in discomfort mentally and physically with the limited resources I have,” he said. “It doesn’t cost me anything to tell them what knowledge I have.”
Ores said that although he doesn’t have a CAT scan or M.R.I. machine, he can tell people they need one of those procedures and help them work out how they can receive a scan at a lowered cost.
“N.Y.U. has an outpatient clinic that I refer people to a lot,” he said.
He also helps people get prescription drugs for less money. He said one of the key ways he helps lower prescription costs is by always prescribing generic drugs, which are more affordable and do just as good a job as their name-brand counterparts. He also gets prescription drugs from Canada, and sometimes local pharmacies give his patients discounts. Ores will also sit with patients and help them fill out the forms for the patient-assistant program through pharmaceutical companies.
He saw the need for low-cost healthcare on the Lower East Side, and took on the challenge of meeting that need.
“There are a lot of artists and people with jobs who don’t have insurance,” he explained.
Ores said that he has recently begun laser tattoo and hair removal to subsidize the healthcare for his patients without insurance.
Medical visits are generally $125, but people are allowed to pay what they can or set up a payment plan.
“About half of my patients do have insurance, but they come to me anyway,” Ores said.
He said his patients like the fact that he has no staff and deals with them directly. Ores answers his own phone and tries to see patients within the same day they call, or at least the day after.
He was born in Manhattan at Mt. Sinai Hospital and lived in Brooklyn for his first few years, but his parents eventually moved the family to New Jersey.
He was first attracted to the Lower East Side by its mixture of people when his grandfather, a tailor, used to bring him into the city.
“There’s a certain Dr. Seuss aspect to it,” Ores said of the Lower East Side. “The people you meet and see are very surprising sometimes, but in a good way.”
He got his medical degree at Columbia College for Physicians and Surgeons. Now living on Avenue B and Second St., his office is located at 15 Clinton St.
A few other things set Ores apart from other doctors: He rides a motorcycle; in addition to removing tattoos, he personally sports armfuls of them; and his office doubles as an art gallery for neighborhood artists. His current exhibit is of blood prints by Axel, known as “the jewelry maker to the stars.” As the title suggests, Axel makes the prints using his own blood.
Although Dr. Dave doesn’t patrol the neighborhood for needy patients, he said that as he moves through life, he is still always available.
“If I’m at the dog run and someone comes up to me and asks, ‘My hand hurts, what’s wrong with it?’ I’ll tell them,” Ores said. “I’m not going to make a big hoopla about [being off the clock].”
Ores can handle any general medical ailment, including routine GYN exams, S.T.D. tests and treatments and stitches for minor wounds. He also assists with the USCIS-693, or the immigration exam, for people applying for U.S. citizenship. For an appointment or more information, call Ores at 212-353-3020 or visit his Web site at www.davidjoresmd.org.