ORANGE, CALIFORNIA -- This story is very hard to get across in words how tragic and desperate we felt but I will try. Two years ago my son was in his 2nd year of college. He developed a drug problem. We had no idea how bad it was and what to do about it. We expected to get guidance from our health care professionals at Kaiser. After all, that is what we have insurance for.
When our son came home after the second year was over, thru various and horrible ways we found out he was abusing drugs. He agreed he had a problem and wanted help. We turned to Kaiser Addiction medicine. They put him in outpatient rehab. We felt that maybe he needed more but we had never dealt with this and did not question their “knowledge”. He attended most meetings, he did miss a few, but he drove himself to and from the meetings on his own. He wanted to be sober.
After a couple of weeks, my husband and I found him unconscious and barely breathing. It was latterly the worst moment of our life. My husband performed CPR until the 911 responders arrived. They shot him in the heart with something to make his heart beat again and start breathing. He was taken to the closest hospital, not a Kaiser hospital. He was there for about 8 hours. The doctor there told us that he needed more treatment than he was getting and he has a serious problem.
When he was stable enough, they moved him to a Kaiser hospital where he stayed for about another 24 hours. We were told he was ok to go home with us. A big red flag went off in both our heads and we knew this was not right. We asked if any psychiatrist had seen him and they said no. We insisted he talk to someone before he left. They called someone in and she had about a 2-minute conversation with him and said "ok he is free to go." Just make an appointment with the addiction doctor. Once again, we did.
The next day my husband took him to the “addiction specialist” (HAHA) and told him what happened and how close to death my son was. The doctor then said something that to this day is unbelievable, he said to my husband AND my son in the same room that death was nothing to him, they deal with it every day and that my son should quit smoking cigarettes. Then he said to our son that he should attend Kaiser's outpatient rehab that meets every day for two weeks. My husband tried to get him into inpatient but the doctor said no. My son at this point was frustrated because he knew what he was doing was not working but we really did not have a choice.
He attended the meetings again, he did miss some. He was a 19-year-old drug addict. But he did attend classes and had us go to classes as well. He was trying. Then, about a week and a half into the everyday rehab, the second overdose happened. Again 911 responders came and gave him something to wake him up. This time he was taken to a Kaiser hospital where he stayed for about 3 or 4 hours then was released. At this point his father and I were begging the doctor to put him into an inpatient rehab. The emergency doctor told us is was not that easy and sent us on our way. My son was still showing effects of being on drugs. It was horrible.
We knew something had to be done and it was up to us. We immediately made plans for my husband to take our son out of state to clean up and get away from the bad habits he had fallen into. They were leaving the next day and it was my job while they were gone to work things out with Kaiser and get him into an inpatient facility that he needed. Our son agreed. He knew he needed help and he felt he was not getting it. He was very discouraged.
They left and the next three days were spent on the phone with Kaiser talking to anyone who would listen and could make the decision to get him into inpatient facility. I kept hearing No and no approval never came. They said the reason was he lacked motivation and missed some outpatient meetings. Well, he is a 19 year old boy addicted to heroin. But the kid CLEARLY is crying out for help. I had some really amazing conversations with the Kaiser doctors. They are completely incompetent when it came to addiction and mental health issues. We were on our own. We are not rich and that leads to a whole different story (http://www.gofundme.com/spwjv4m).
I was blessed enough to find a wonderful place where he attended inpatient rehab for 3 months. He had to learn a lot of things to live a clean and sober life. He got the treatment he needed. He needed daily follow-up care for 9 months. At this young age, they do not have the skills or wisdom to stay on the right track without help. So we did what we had to do to get our son healthy and on his way to a happy, healthy life. I am proud to say he is sober today and has earned himself his personal trainer certification and has a job he likes. We are so happy to have our son back.
No thanks to Kaiser. We submitted all our bills to them and they declined to reimburse us. They said it was because we did not use a Kaiser facility. Well it does not make sense. We tried to go to a Kaiser facility, they said no NUMEROUS times. They gave a different reason. But now, they give us a different reason again. There were so many rude comments and inconsistencies from Kaiser. They just did not care.
When the doctor told my husband and son his little death explanation, I immediately filed a complaint against him. I feel that from then on out he truly did not care what happened to my son and went out of his way to make treating him as difficult as possible. The only thing I could find on this guy was that before Kaiser, he was a family practitioner. Normally, addiction specialists are trained in mental health issues. He was a family practice doctor. He exacted his retribution on us to the tune of the cost of rehab for about a year. Kaiser never paid. We tried to get a lawyer but nobody would take our piddly little case.
It is my opinion that Kaiser does not have its own facility and they would have to pay someone else to treat my son. That is why he was not treated by Kaiser. By sharing our story, it is my hope that you will share this with as many people as possible. Eventually, if enough people who have had similar problems stand up to the health care industry, in particular Kaiser Permanente, there is a hope of changing the way doctors and health care workers deal with and treat an addiction problem.
No person or family should ever have to be treated as we were and struggle to pay bills when we pay for health insurance. The patients' needs should dictate the treatment, not the cost to the insurance company. My son is happy and healthy today and I thank God and pray to him to keep him that way. Thank you for your time.
BAKERSFIELD, CALIFORNIA -- The doctors at Kaiser are great, but service overall is terrible. Getting on the phone with member's service is a nightmare and then try getting an appointment with your doctor, if you don't mind waiting 6 to 8 weeks, then you're good to go. I have to say it use to take 2 to 3 weeks. I tried getting an appointment with a specialty doctor, not a problem 7 weeks out. I called a non-Kaiser doctor and got in the next day. I only had to wait 30 minutes to see the doctor. This doctor was very informative. Kaiser what happen to the great service you use to have?
DENVER, COLORADO -- I could not be happier. I had a suspicious lump. Was seen on Monday by my NP. On Friday I had a mammogram with US. They didn't like what they saw ash called a physician immediately who did a biopsy. The following Monday I had my diagnosis. 15" later I received a phone call to schedule MRI. 15" after that I had an appt with the surgeon. MRI the Monday 2 weeks later followed by surgeon appt that Friday.
Surgery the following Thursday, lumpectomy with sentinel nodes. Pathology back on the next Monday. Again, within an hour I got an appt to schedule a visit with an oncologist on Wednesday, 2 days later. Oncotype testing sent day before oncology appt. Already set up for consultation with radiation oncology in one week. Will start treatment by end of month.
In short, diagnosed on 3/6, surgery on 4/2 and start treatment after healing beginning of May. That is record time. All along the way everyone, and I mean everyone, has been kind, informative and helpful. Phone calls promptly returned, questions answered. I really could not have asked for more!
PORTLAND, OREGON -- I started complaining about my hip last November. I just qualified to get a new hip. I went from seeing 20 patients per day/5 days a week to spending my days in bed. Thanks Kaiser, at this rate me and my patients are in trouble. Never again will I have anything to do with Kaiser as soon as I get out of here. I think even military medical care was better and they almost killed me twice.
SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA -- Kaiser mishandled my father's last week of life and the process leading up to this. They violated their pain management care claim as stated in their handbook which is basically false advertising and misrepresentation of what actually goes on once inside chaotic Kaiser care. My father suffered a very painful death all because of their lack of urgency, lack of prescribing the correct pain medication and many other incidences that were not monitored by my father's oncologist and medical team. Once on hospice the hospice nurses were negligent in effectively monitoring my father's pain and he basically was bleeding to death from his rectum.
At one point I called "**" on Santa Teresa hospital's supervisor line. ** said that he could not get a hospice nurse out to see my father for another 3 hours. This is while my father lay there bleeding profusely in pain. It took a call to my father's attorney and a threat to sue for Kaiser to get a hospice nurse to my father sooner and to get him situated and prepared to die with dignity. Should people have to do this to get healthcare staff to do their jobs?
Next, my brother also was recently diagnosed with colon cancer and wanted specific information about his upcoming surgery. Kaiser states this and on Dr. **'s (his former surgeon's) website he clearly states how he likes to ease the comfort of his patients as surgery can be a daunting experience. Dr. ** had misread my brother's chart on more than one occasion, and later with specifics about the surgery. This was a concern so more questions were asked of this Dr. to ease my brother's mind about the procedure. After a few hours Dr. ** called my brother stating it be best that he have another surgeon perform this procedure.
What kind of doctor doesn't have the integrity to finish what he started? What a loser to just walk away at the last minute when he is just being asked to do his job and ease the patient's mind for an upcoming procedure. Providing more information is too much sweat off of **'s brow? ** is clearly Wrong just as my father's oncologist Dr. ** was wrong. Fascinating how the names connect so well with these experiences. It's easy to make jokes of the care or lack of, at Kaiser. They must take the rejects from more reputable healthcare groups.
I don't have Kaiser and I will not lower myself to a place which operates below standard. I am fortunate I have a choice. I will surely stand up for family and friends who have Kaiser. They are easy to outsmart and not very bright, and quite irresponsible to just name a few.... and these are their good qualities.
DENVER, COLORADO -- My wife and I have been a members since age 64, now 72. Every year we spend hours on the phone trying to get all the forms needed to renew. Mail and E-mails warnings (of overdue payments) flow all year, 2 invoices each month and 3 weeks later the 2 automatic mail payment acknowledgements along with corresponding Emails. If you go for anything you get 5 pages in the mail of useless information. Why aren't the forms online, why do they keep giving me California 800 phone numbers? When you call they say you're not known to them and then they realize you're from Colorado and give you a Colorado number.
I had to renew a prescription using their website and it was not listed correctly. Opted to send an inquiry to the pharmacist using the link provided. Had to remove and send it. KP does not believe in punctuation. You wonder what the intent is when they ask you what meds you're taking and your heath background. Are they cutting out the doctor. And no I'm not breastfeeding, don't they know I'm a 72-year-old man? All our prescriptions are 30% cheaper using local pharmacies except for one. Perhaps this is how they fund their web incompetence.
ATLANTA, GEORGIA -- I went in for an annual physical and was told there is no charge for it as well as no charge for flu shot... Okay, fine. I'm in the patient room with my 20 something daughter; we let the doctor know that I have been having some serious hip and shoulder pain (isn't that why you have physicals, to let the doctor know if anything new pops up?) So this woman tells us that she is a nursing mother and her lactating is overdue so the appointment can't take too long; she only has 20 minutes scheduled for the visit.... Oh really, how nice.
So anyway, she orders the MRI for my hip and shoulder and then I get a bill from Kaiser stating because she ordered the test, the physical now becomes an outpatient office visit. I called KP's financial dept and I am disputing it... What doctor tells a patient that they only have so much time for them...This is not health care.
DENVER, COLORADO -- I was diagnosed in April of 09 with Stage III breast cancer. Little did I know, but Kaiser Oncology FAILED to tell me that the type of breast cancer that I suffer from is called a Triple Negative and is rare and aggressive. The one thing that they did right was to treat me with chemotherapy first (which shrunk my tumor), but they NEVER told me any details about my cancer. When I asked if it was estrogen positive, all I got was a "no" and sent off to chemo treatment. The oncologist always rushed us and never gave my husband or me any clear answers.
When I finished my chemo treatments in November of 09 I asked what my prognosis would be. All I got from the oncologist was, "I don't know. We won't know until we do surgery." No support whatsoever! I made an appointment in early Nov with the surgeon to discuss my mastectomy and she "informed" me of what "they" were going to do for my reconstruction. No options... Just one procedure. When I started doing research, I didn't like the butcher job that they were proposing, so I asked questions. The surgeon told me that I could not have breast implants as I was to have radiation and they couldn't do tissue expanders due to radiated skin.
I kept asking questions, which started to tick her off. I asked for a consult with the plastic surgeon and he told me that tissue expanders would not work with radiated skin (he had spoken with the surgeon prior to my visit). When I asked about the TRAM flap procedure (a tummy tuck and use of abdominal muscles for breast reconstruction), I said that I would look like a patchwork quilt and he said "yes" without any hesitation! He treated me like crap. My husband asked if there was anyone in Colorado that did do breast implants and he thought that there was "some guy up North".
My current plastic surgeon (NOT related to Kaiser) is a half a block to the south and has been doing breast implants on radiated skin for years! The Kaiser plastic surgeon then asked me if we had any other questions, told us that he was late for his next appt (which he was late for mine and didn't give me the full hour I was promised) and then told us (very sarcastically) "Good luck". I went to work the next day, made appointments with a new plastic surgeon, a new oncologist and had a referral to a new general surgeon.
I then switched my insurance to United Health Care (thank God for open enrollment). I then finished my chemo on the 23rd of Nov. I visited the radiologist oncologist (through Kaiser) and he said the same thing... Can't do breast implants with radiated skin and then proceeded to give me information for support groups and counseling (which I NEVER got since I was first diagnosed...Too little too late). I went home and cancelled my surgery for December. The general surgeon was such a chicken that she didn't want to call and find out for herself why I had cancelled; she waited for her nurse to get back from vacation (over a week later) to call and grill me.
Then she had the oncologist call and grill me some more. I told them that I had switched insurances and that I would not be having surgery until after the first of the year. I am very happy to report that I had a double mastectomy on Feb 10th and I have been given such EXCELLENT treatment by United Health Care. They have called me and referred me for counseling and checked on me frequently. Kaiser is the worst possible place to be treated for cancer (in Denver, at least). I have had two other women come to me to discuss their breast cancer treatment with Kaiser and neither one has been good. Enough is enough!
It's Funny over the last few years I have found myself using reviews more and more to help me make decisions on everything from purchases to places to eat and not once did it ever occur to me to complete a review myself. So bare with me people, this is my first one. So it's 3 days before the end of open season I am going through the grueling process of looking for a new health insurance provider which I have done for the second time now and I am frustrated and annoyed because I don't want to switch insurance companies......
I have been with Kaiser Permanente for almost 15 years I have three great child and they have grown up with KP. I know that you hear so many bad news stories but this is a good news story and I just wanted to share. Just like any organization or business you frequent all it take are a few bad apples to spoil it for the bunch and I have see 1 or two bad apples at KP but in comparison to the many great apples that I have seen at KP there are no comparisons.
My youngest who I will call my Miracle baby was born with more than a few medical problems but under the watch of KP practitioners who would not give up on him, 9 years later you would never know that he had such a rocky 1st year and they have been there ever since.
I took ill myself and the care and concern that I received from the KP doctors and staff has been amazing. Okay so like I said there are a few bad apples..... so my illness causes me to have frequent broken bones and on this particular evening I had broken my foot for the 3rd or 4th time and I was in the waiting room waiting to be seen. I was in pain my foot was swollen and obviously broken to the naked eye. I had only been sitting there for about 1hr. )-:
So in walks my doctor on the same evening who just happened to be sick himself and wanted to be seen for a very bad cough. He proceeds to walk over looks at my foot and ask how long had I been waiting and immediately has me in a wheelchair and whisked off to get my foot reset... good apple. Okay..... Okay.... I know so if KP is soooo great why am I leaving? I know that's my dilemma for the last two years I have been commuting to work and now the closes KP is 10 hrs away and my health is still an issue and I have been missing a few appointments. (not good!)
So it is with regret that I have to give KP up. I pray that I find an Insurance provider that have nurses that will stay on the phone with me until my questions get answers, that have doctors that call me back when I have a concerns. Receptionist that realize that I'm not just another body in there waiting room but that I am a person and finally an insurance company that gives me the care and services I pay for without sending me through a bunch of hoops.
That was just my experience with KP and for those of you who have not had good experience with them I hope you have better luck with them in the future. FYI I have visited their office in MD, CA, GA, DC,& VA .
SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA -- I grew up in Sacramento, California, and we had Kaiser insurance my whole life. Back in those days, I remember waiting for literally hours to see my doctor... It was pretty bad, but it was also because their system was so completely overloaded... They had too many people for the hospital and clinics they had. Now I'm all grown up, and although I work in San Jose, I live 60 miles away. My choices for insurance were Kaiser or a PPO that I would have to come into San Jose to see a doctor. I chose Kaiser because they have hospitals and clinics pretty close to my home.
In the 19 years that I have had Kaiser on my own, I have no real complaints. I have never had to wait long enough to finish a magazine article when I go see my doctor or a specialist. The longest I have ever waited was for a blood draw, but the lab waiting room was packed! When I saw how many people were in front of me, I thought I'd be there all day, but it turned out to be about 45 minutes.
My wife is an OB/GYN Nurse Practitioner, and she knows a lot about Kaiser. (She has never worked for them, but she does know quite a few nurses and doctors who do.) She says that she likes Kaiser because it's so convenient and easy to get what you want from them. It does take a little effort on your part to work their system, but the Advice Nurse that you call into for questions or treatment has the ability to get you in to almost any specialist very quickly.
A tip when talking to the Advice Nurse, you don't want to be macho and downplay your problem. Their questions are directed at you to screen whether you need immediate treatment or just a routine doctor visit with your PCP. (Primary Care Physician) If you want to be seen today, there are frequently "code words" that if they hear them, they will schedule you for an almost immediate appointment... (It helps for me when my wife tells me to call the advice nurse, and be sure and say "Blah, blah, blah" But even if you don't know these code words, you can usually guess what kind of thing would trigger them to get you in right away... Say those things!)
I have had a few health issues over the years, and I can say that I am extremely happy to have had Kaiser. I got into a motorcycle accident five years ago, and I was in hospitals for about two months. The first 5 days I was in San Jose Trauma, and the bill from them was over $100,000. And they didn't do all that much besides dope me up and stabilize me... I had to have two hand surgeries, and over a month of rehab in the Vallejo rehab hospital. If I had the PPO insurance, that accident would've left me broke.
They just built a brand new hospital right at our little town's border, and it's really great. I have been to their emergency room twice, and the service has been excellent and very quick. If I was ever considering another job, one of my questions would be if Kaiser insurance was available. If not, I probably wouldn't go. :)