COLORADO -- In November 2007 I had a major accident and had to go to the ER. I won't bore you with the details but it has been a battle royal fighting Kaiser in Denver for basic care. By comparison, I moved to Maui in Febuary 2010. I retained a private primary doctor. I did not have a lot of experience with any other doctor besides Kaiser at that time. Boy was there a huge difference in the quality of care. Very single Kaiser doctor I ever encountered was condescending and fairly incompetent. The only option Kaiser ever gave me was surgery. After hearing terrible stories and getting the absolute worst service from any industry let alone health, I declined.
This led to an onslaught of negativity from Kaiser. However my private doctor could not have been any better. Amazing difference. Some examples of the difference are insomnia. After not sleeping for an extended amount of time because of pain and other factors I asked (begged) my doctor to rx something to help me sleep. He fought me tooth and nail and then gave me something that reminded me of the old west elixers. It works on sleep. It works on depression (the only depression I suffered was at the hands of Kaiser). It works on pain. It takes out stains. It slices. It dices (just kidding). This medication does not even start to take effect for up to several weeks!!
I had already told my Kaiser doc I had not slept since July and I thought it was becoming a danger to me and to others. Kaiser couldn't care less. Looks like a flight back to Maui. Kaiser sucks!
On August 16, 2011 I went to Kaiser due to an illness. I asked the person who was working in the office to fax my doctor's note to my place of employment, she told me I would have to sign a medical release, in which I did. I called my Program Director to make sure he was in the office to get my doctor's at the same time it was being faxed. I came back to work on the 26th in which my PD told me Kaiser faxed over some information I probably didn't approve. Kaiser had faxed over my whole medical records from to 2007 to 2011. Don't let this happen to you, do not sign a medical release.
SAN RAFAEL, CALIFORNIA -- In July 08 I received a mammogram at Kaiser San Rafael 3rd street location. I was covered under a different insurer in 2009 and requested that my films and results be transferred to Queen of the Valley Hospital. I was transferred to medical records and they told me (two different people during two different conversations, one being Carlos) that my folder was "empty" and that I had already requested that my films be transferred out to Queen of the Valley. When I requested proof of this, they sent me the release form to Queen of the Valley asking that their 2007 mammo results be transferred TO Kaiser. They were grossly confused.
I called back and was told my films had been lost and my folder was "empty". I then called patient relations and was told they would investigate and call me back. Never heard from them. Over a month later I call again. It took me 10 minutes and 8 layers of a phone menu to get a customer representative on the phone only to be transferred to someone who said they couldn't hear me and was not able to understand my phone number so someone could call me back. I still don't have films for comparison purposes and my entire experience with Kaiser has been appalling.
PASADENA, CALIFORNIA -- I am suffering from severe cough and cold since the past one week and I have been calling Kaiser for the appointment with the physician and they say the appointment is not available on the same day at my medical center and ask me to go for after hours care where the system is poor and I cannot have the chance to see my primary physician. If I want the service at my medical center I have to call the next day. I have been calling daily for the appointment at 7:00 (appointment center opens) but I have no appointment.
What is the use of having a medical insurance at such place where your health is not taken care and they don't treat you when you are sick and need a doctor?
Where to begin? I broke a bone in my foot, the fifth metatarsal to be exact. I went to the emergency room thanks to a good medical advice nurse. After the emergency room took x-rays and immobilized the foot, they told me to see and orthopedic surgeon. This happened on Saturday evening, 4/1/2007. I called Kaiser on Monday and was on the phone with them for two days. First they advised me to see a podiatrist and the first available appointment was not until Friday. I requested to see an orthopedist as I was instructed and my primary physician approved the visit. But then I was informed by Kaiser Member Services that I was denied an orthopedic consultation.
I was told orthopedic surgeons don't handle breaks in the foot and that is the podiatrist's specialty. I thought that was strange so I called a podiatrist I had seen in the past and trust. The podiatrist advised that I go to an orthopedist. So then I checked with two orthopedists and they both confirmed that I should be treated by an orthopedic surgeon. I went back and forth with Kaiser on this matter. Mind you, my primary care physician had approved the specialty doctor and I got a veto from the member services department.
I spoke to several other member service people, and when it appeared that they did not see why I could not go ahead and see an orthopedist, they looked into it further and came back with an additional veto. So, under their advice, I went to see podiatrist referred to me. He confirmed it was broken and put my foot and calf in a hard no weight-bearing cast for 6 to 8 weeks. A HEAVY HARD CAST. I have no help and no way to carry things. I live in a two story duplex alone and have to get up and down porch steps just to enter.
The hard cast has rendered me unable to accomplish normal day-to-day necessities - take the trash out, grocery shop, etc. Even bathing has been close to impossible. By the 4th week, my foot began to hurt in a way it had not previously. I called my doctor and they dismissed my complaints. I had had no follow-up, so in desperation (anxious that it may not be healing correctly) I sought the outside opinion of an orthopedist. To my utter shock, he noted that I had not needed a hard cast in the first place. Now I'm utterly exasperated. I could not afford out-of-pocket treatment with this orthopedist, and still have another 2 weeks in this immobilizing cast.
My foot hurts and my body aches because I am even unable to position myself for comfortable sleep, and now my mind is going to burst in frustration. I cannot express to you how horrible this has been. I have lost confidence in Kaiser completely.
CALIFORNIA -- I was a member of the Kaiser first and then converted to Senior Advantage. I have had many problems with receiving services and incompetent doctors. I was denied service in their Reproductive Endocrinology service because my FSH was 14. They would not do any additional testing to look for my source of infertility. FSH only is a predictor of how well someone will respond to infertility medication to stimulate the ovaries. I am 40. I had severe pain in my ovarian area and they would not give me an emergent appointment the only appointment they would give me was 2 months away.
The Md I saw at Kaiser referred me to Endocrinology and they refused to see me. If they saw me they would have picked up the PCOS earlier. I called to make an appointment with an ophthalmologist and was refused, I had been having blurry vision and spots in my vision. I had surgery in their Head and Beck service which caused me to have severe pain that left me incapacitated. The pain service wanted to place a spinal cord stimulator for pain in my ear. I contacted the manufacturer of the device and they told me it was an inappropriate use of this device. I had countless problems with the pharmacy, including waiting in line for over an hour.
Seven years earlier I had a MD refer me to an endocrinologist because I (a medical professional) felt I had polycystic ovary syndrome. He told me I did not. Well I do have it and have suffered health consequences as a result of this MD's inability to make a correct diagnosis. I waited in line for an appointment over 30 minutes just to register with the receptionist. The physician I worked with used experimental drugs inappropriately on infants and children placing their lives at risk. Kaiser was informed of this behavior with supporting documentation and this doctor is still working with Kaiser.
So I got Medicare to allow me to disenroll outside of the open enrollment period. I requested my medical records, filed the appropriate forms. They told me and it was on their documents that it takes 10-15 days to receive the records. I called twice to make sure they received my request and that it was being processed. I called today 22 days from request and was told a bill was sent out Nov 1 (now the 7th) and that the bill had to be paid before they would process the request and "that could take some time." I called twice to the billing department and no one returned my call. I called the manager twice and no return call.
I have 2 appointments that I have waited over a month to get and do not have my medical records. Both appointments are with specialists for services I was denied at Kaiser. I worked for Kaiser and saw the nightmare other patients had in getting services and I would never use Kaiser again.
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA -- I wanted to respond to the woman who wrote how Kaiser neglected her husband's care. I sympathize with her and hope that her husband gets better care and facilities than the one he got. No one deserves that. I wish them the best.
Kaiser has some of the worst care and it seems that some of it has to do with the attitudes of the people they hire. I remember a classmate recanting how her aunt had died because they had misdiagnosed her condition and gave her the wrong medicine. The hospital was insensitive to the family members when they told them that the medicine perscribed to her wasn't working.
Another person told me that a nurse had jammed a needle in her arm during a routine exam and caused this horrible bump on her wrist. She complained but they did nothing. She tried to sue them but apparently lawyers don't want to sue nurses for incompentence, they perfer bigger game like doctors.
I have my own gripes about the way Kaiser treats their patients and their families. Such as nurses and lab technicians who don't care and just sneer and gripe about patients just because they simply don't like them or their appearance. Whether it's a patient or a family member, the last thing anyone needs is to be made pig noises at and being called ugly, poor, or to have their food poked at, to be be treated and taunted like a child, or to be told they don't know what they are feeling. And knowing this, I am glad that I am no longer a Kaiser member.
And yes, there are some wonderful, genuine, and highly professional people who do work at Kaiser and they do care for their patients regardless. I've encountered a few of them visiting a friend at the hospital and they deserve the best praise. Unfortunately, it's those who are petty, stupid and childish that ruin everything for those who are wonderful. They need to be elsewhere. Perferable begging for money in the streets. I get the feeling that a lot of them are working at a hospital just for the money and that is WRONG! Those people do not deserve to work in the health care profession if that's the case.
SALEM, OREGON -- I went into Kaiser to get treatment for a severe allergy attack and was given no advice but a lot of medicine that made me even sicker - and it cost me! The moment I quit taking the meds and started doing things like steam baths, cutting out certain foods, etc and so forth, the allergies started going away. They don't give a damn about you in my opinion.
RIVERSIDE, CALIFORNIA -- My brother was tested in the hemotology clinic at Kaiser,Riverside, California for his monthly INR levels.(coumadin dosage regulator). He had a very high level,10 which should have been 3, was given vitamin K injection (anti coagulant antidote) and told to discontinue his coumadin.. Four days later he suffered a brain hemorrhage and 6 days later he died. He was not monitored in the next few days after this treatment and apparently received no instructions about restricting activity or food intake. (various foods affect blood clotting mechanisms) Apparently he had taken in large amounts of cranberry extract and had done some treadmill exercise the day he had the hemorrhage. Cranberry should not be taken while on coumadin. Friends took him to emergency and 2 cat scans revealed the hemorrhage. I was finally contacted that evening and told of the hospitalization. A neurosurgeon contacted me at 1pm the following day saying he could do surgery but my brother would be"just a vegetable" or we could let nature take its course and he would most like develop pneumonia and die. What has upset me is the lack of follow through after the initial hemotology clinic visit. Why weren't there additional test done over the next few days? this is like having a time bomb in your body. He should have been monitored. I happen to be in a medical profession myself and I am appalled that there was no monitoring after the level was so high. He had taken coumadin for 8 years without problems.
PARMA, OHIO -- My husband broke his hip and was finally taken to a hospital after a month of suffering due to Kaisers lack of caring. For a long time he seemed to be deteriorating in his ability to Walk, and no matter how many doctors and therapists I took him to no one seemed to know what was wrong. They would all shake their heads and say they never saw anything like it. All he could do was to lay on the sofa in the family room and painfully do some walking.
On December 21st 2004, my husband went to take a shower upstairs ( I wasn't home ) and his leg gave out (he lost his other leg in an accident in 1984). He didn't fall but slowly slid down. He couldn't move even to get to a phone. I was gone a few hours and when I returned I had to call 911.
At Kaiser emergency the doctor said it was his sciatic nerve (the doctor wouldn't give him an xray) and gave him pain medications and released him even with my objections. I had to call my daughter and son-in-law to help get him in the house. Even with their help, we had to pull and drag him over the ground.
He stayed like that, immovable until I begged Kaiser to get him in for a bone scan and MRI. You can not believe how hard it was to get an appointment or these tests. At first they wanted him to wait much longer. It was only when I was calling every day that they relented and gave us a time for both tests to be done. That is when they saw the fracture. Of course the rest is history.
The surgeon verified that his hip was broken since the Dec 21st incident. He is now at home and recovering. However when I requested Kaiser refund the 50.00 co-pay fee we had to pay for the Dec. 21st emergency visit, they told me that the ER doctor said I should take him to pain management. Therefore, we are not expected to receive a refund.
This was almost a month of pain and suffering my husband had to endure with a broken hip and we were not even given an apology but to add insult to injury, we were billed for it.
I heard you might do a documentary on Health Care. I certainly hope you do. We need to expose the total lack of caring and insensitivity in the field.