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!
BAKERSFIELD, CALIFORNIA -- I need surgery on my ankle, because the Bakersfield location has unskilled personnel. They force people to drive two hours south at your own expense. Because you will not be able to drive yourself back a relative will have to take time off work, you will need to set this person up in a hotel and pay for meals. If something was to go wrong during surgery, your out of pocket cost for this person will climb. I have tried to get Kaiser to let me see a local surgeon but all they will say is this person is not a contract doctor.
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. :)
FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA -- I really wonder how inhuman can someone be? Doctors treat their patients like we are a bunch of animals, nurses treat everyone like we have no right to ask any questions!!! How can we stop this???!!! Who should we need to talk and complaint?! I really don't know where to begin with all the mistreat my husband and I personally received from Kaiser, but I'm pretty sure what I'm going to say is not new to all the people that have Kaiser Permanente as a health insurance specially Falls Church Center.
Well, let's start on the calls... whenever I call to make an appointment or just to leave a message to my doctor it takes forever to get to someone that will redirect me and tell me that "in case we get disconnected can I have your number" so like always after 15 min the call is lost, after calling back and have to go through the same standard questions I did before, I finally get to the nurse who gets my number again and puts me on hold to wait for a nurse again... and again the call is lost, one could think that hey I gave her my number twice maybe this time I should just wait for their call...
But after two days I finally got the call (this happened 2 times that I waited to see how long it will take them to call me back). OK well I finally got the appt, got there 15 minutes early, btw I was having severe pain on my lower right side abdomen and began spotting since I was 6 weeks pregnant (3rd time trying) I was really scared that I was having a miscarriage, so once I was there I had to be on the waiting area for 1 hour so exactly 45 minutes from my time of appointment. When the nurse finally called my name I thought "thank goodness! its my turn" but she left us in the room waiting for the nurse for another 50 minutes.
When she came in told me to get ready for the Dr and she left as soon as she finished pronouncing the last word... Well I was ready for the Dr, I was having really bad pain by now, after 40 min my husband went to the front desk and told them I was in pain, but the nurses told him that I should've have gone to the ER and that besides the Dr is in his way... They didn't even came to see how I was doing, one came after probably 15 min my husband told them, looked at me and told me the Dr is in his way...
I told her I was in pain and if I should go downstairs to the ER but she said "the Dr is coming just wait" I couldn't believe it!!! No one was doing anything!!! They were laughing outside telling jokes at the front desk... So the Dr showed up after 20 min, but it was a nurse not a Dr like we thought. As soon as she got to the room she said hi and spread my legs apart and told me that she was going to take a sample from the cervix for some test and she was about to use the wrong size of instrument!!!! And it hurt!! Besides she didn't even give us time to say something... so I told her that that wasn't the right size and she told me "but you have kids already, why are you complaining!"
What!!!??? I don't have kids, this is my first one. I was so frustrated and upset... Well she finally changed instruments and got the sample and told us the Dr will see us soon... At this time I was crying, hurting and upset, my husband was trying to keep me calm while he was asking her what are the tests for, why no one told us that, I was coming for pain not to check for Chlamydia besides we were tested before we decided to get pregnant both my husband and me... But she didn't pay attention to what he or I were saying...
Told me to get dressed go downstairs to the laboratory, get some blood test done and wait 1 hour for my results... But we told her that I needed to see the Dr for the pain... And she said "once you have your results come back here in 1 hr." So we went to the lab waited for another 15 min I had the blood and urine test done went outside to the waiting room waited 1 hr went upstairs again... Waited another 30 min for a nurse to call my name, took us inside waited 15 min for the nurse who saw me before and she said "OK so why do you want to see the Dr?" I couldn't believe it!!
My husband told her what were my symptoms because I was so frustrated and upset I was crying easily... She said "OK go to Inova Fairfax Hospital to the ER if you are in that much pain" so my husband hold my hand for support and I walked out the room but before, he asked her what was the result on the tests and she said "Oh yeah everything is good"... I left Kaiser regretting ever ever getting into their health insurance... I was so mortified. It took us 4 hours and 50 min to find practically nothing. I don't think even our pets are treated this way!!! I don't want to say that they treated us like that because we are Hispanic but that definitely came to my mind...
I'm very sure we are not the only ones that came across to this kind of people, but if my words can help someone, and/or prevent someone to get into Kaiser especially when they are planning for a baby, please take in consideration what I'm writing. "Don't get Kaiser" you will regret it. Just to let you all know my baby is fine. I'm now 7 wks but not thanks to Kaiser nor the staff.
If I were well enough I'd leave, maybe go to a country where they care MORE for the patient than the DOLLARS they save. Kaiser is awful... Period. I have a disease called Dystonia. Kaiser knows I've went from a ladies petite size 14-16 TO a size O in like 7 months. No appetite, that fluid BURNS too INSIDE. Kaiser knows I'm dying too. They call ME once a week, EVERY week, just to check in. Why? I'm not sure. They can't help AND won't, but they'll plague you by phone for NO reason.
**, my case "pacifier", blamed everything on the docs. Does Kaiser MAKE their employees STOOP that LOW ? With-Hold CARE and TELL you WHY you cannot GET any help...know why??? Well.. there never was HELP, only EXCUSES, bottom line IS money, money, money. The doc in Denver did an ILLEGAL "Huntingtons Chorea" test WITHOUT my signature too!!!! ** said it was OK. Sign AFTER the test, yea right. They, being Kaiser, bugged me so much about signing the paper AFTER that test.
Their nit wit in Denver called himself and said neg. on that. ** on behalf of Kaiser ASSURED me there'd NEVER be the Mayo Clinic. NOT one of their "flunky" doctors could EVER do the Mayo referral? I now consider those calls "Harassment". BECAUSE months go by and no one gets IT at Kaiser OR they really DO NOT CARE. The Mayo Clinic was brought up by 3 or more Dr's BUT not a one filled out the Correct FORMS, and Kaiser is SO HAPPY.
I look like a walking skeleton! I mean, come on, this IS heartless. My belly button leaks clear fluid that gives me second degree burns! THAT surgeon that DID this doesn't care. He laughed! YOU Kaiser should have fired the doc.
Kaiser assigned a "Case Mgr." for me. That was infuriating. All she did was run me and my husband around in circles and spout LIES. Doctors won't and don't treat you IF you have Kaiser. I'd bet they get 'kick-backs' for NOT taking tests and lab work. They are blatantly letting me die. The case mgr. TOLD me the Mayo would NEVER occur.
** here in Co. Spgs. would tell me numerous times that SHE was faxing OR mailing TESTs & the RESULTS to various doctors. THAT never ever occurred. She DOESN'T have access! IF Kaiser sends you out of town to another city, then that is called "Out-of-Network." Meaning "out-of city", or out of FRANCHISE area. Kaiser IS franchised OUT.
So, the owner of Kaiser Permanente saved a lot of dollars not footing the bill for the Mayo. It means my life so I hope the OWNER here in the Springs in Colorado IS VERY HAPPY. Your little FRANCHISE in the RED or what?
My life is nearly gone. I didn't know if I'd have the strength to type 1/10 of this tale nor if this makes sense to the reader. I hope I got my message through.
Four kinds of Dystonia, three of which are brand new plus an open navel that LEAKS from a surgery done around 10 yrs. ago. The surgeon hates me because I didn't sue my M.D. 'Kaiser Permanente', you ARE THE joke of the health care industry. 'Kaiser is Franchised too. Thanks guys, I DO like this site.
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.
STOCKTON, CALIFORNIA -- My foot doctor, dr ** told me I needed foot surgery. I have arthritis on the foot. I did have the surgery. The corner bone did not fuse. I saw another kaiser foot specialist. He said I should have never had had foot surgery because the bone never fuses on the corner. I asked him why dr ** did that surgery, he said he did not know. I believe they experiment with people's bodies. I still have pain on the foot. Kaiser has the worst doctors ever.
I called Kaiser Permanente Membership Services regarding a contract change which was extremely time-sensitive. Translation: I had only a day or two to ensure some contract changes that would save me some money on my sky-high monthly independent-contractor health care dues. One more translation: I am a little old nanny, and what I pay in monthly fees could feed a small nation. Okay - more like a village.
I called the # offered. After a 22-minute wait (love that Muzak!) the bored Kaiser-person said I needed to call another #. Long story short but not so sweet, I was on the phone for most of an afternoon, being transferred from here to there to some planet far, far away, and nothing was resolved.
I decided to take an (unpaid) morning off of work to venture a trip to the Kaiser headquarters in Rockville, Maryland. When I arrived, it became clear where all that money hundreds of thousands of us send monthly is going. The place is castle-like in size and appearance; fortress-like in security. A security guard informed me that I was not allowed to go up the winding staircase to the membership offices to request help. Would he deliver a letter to them? No, not allowed. It seems he was not authorized to leave his post.
"Did I come to the CIA instead of Kaiser?" I asked. No reply. Not authorized to joke, I guess. I was told to wait, and a Kaiser representative would be down to talk to me. I waited. And waited. It was better than being on the phone, because I got a break from that damn music.
The upshot: I left. I had reached my humiliation quota for the day. On my ride home, all I could think of was all the money I have sent them throughout the years. And how a good customer like myself is treated. And deep regret that because our health care system is so unfair, an honest working person should be subjected to this kind of treatment. And deep compassion for all the other Kaiser Permanente customers who share my frustration and disillusionment.