Hi, I can understand the frustration people have with Kaiser, my doctor has not gotten back to me yet (13 days now) and their web page says they are supposed to get back in 24 hours. People get medication that does not address what the real problem is. The reason I am writing this 3cent response is because although Kaiser is over subscribed, the doctors overlook many life threatening problems and you sometimes feel like you are being rushed through, it is still ranked as the best health care coverage system, at least in Northern California where I live.
I live in Walnut Creek CA, where John Muir Medical Center is one the 50 best hospitals in the country per US News & World Reports, the best trauma center and a number of other distinctions, but not all doctors accept any one health care provider. Blue Cross, Blue Shield for example are HMOs-PPOs which means you either get one of the doctors that accept the charges in their guidelines or you choose your own. Choose your own and you may pay $5K per year and up for deductibles. You can pay yourself and be billed $2k per day for hospital stays.
I am not affiliated with Kaiser, it is November open enrollment and I would like to change to the better hospital. I have done lots of research and googling (which brought me to my 3cents). According satisfaction surveys in my area and across the country, people rank Kaiser highest for the health care system. Not the hospital, not the doctors, not the emergency rooms, just the lack of hassle. One other point that keeps me in Kaiser. It has no motivation to give you an operation that you do not need, keep you in a $2k bed when you don't need it or refer you to some other doctor who provides a kick back. I hope this doesn't sound too much like a rant.
LARGO, MARYLAND -- I felt Kaiser was a more personable medical center & that's why I had them for a long time. I have laryngitis. I got an appointment same day but not with my primary doctor because I was a squeeze in which is fine. Do they work on commission? When the doctor came in he stated, Oh you're so & so patient. All he did was check my ears & mouth & saw that I had an enlarged tonsil & did speak a word about whether it was good or bad. After 30 seconds he wrote me up a doctor's note & prescribe Amoxicillin. Why was I prescribed that! He didn't talk to me about laryngitis & the two different types they have.
I had to go look online to find out that I might have bacterial laryngitis & that I should stay away from others etc. All he asked me was how long do you want him to let me stay out of work for the note. He thought I would like the fact that I couldn't work & was willing to put 3 days to a week or longer. My main concern was why he couldn't talk & explain to me the meaning behind it all. Also when I got my blood pressure check the nurse asked "is your reading usually this low?" When she said that, her face didn't seem to show that it was a good thing. She didn't even elaborate her comment. She just moved on.
Do they get paid to not elaborate? Are they on a don't ask, don't tell policy? I felt what that movie John Q was talking about in a minor way. I guess I'm going to have to get my whole body checked by request and not wait something goes wrong & then all of a sudden run test. I guess I'll just ask since they won't tell or recommend. I'll ask the internet first. Of course it's hard to ask about laryngitis when you can't speak. I relied on them for advice & knowledge, but my mistake.
This experience I usually get these interactions from physicians that are not my primary doctors. But my primary doctor is not going to remember me anyway so is it a commission thing? Why be so nonchalant because you're not my primary doctor. You can see my records too.
SAN DIEGO -- My father was hospitalized in June 2008. For one week they used him as a test subject for all different medications. They allowed him to take a bad fall then tried to cover it up. Hard to do since when I got to his room he had a cut on his head and blood all over his hands. For one week he complained about lower abdominal pain. This was just let go, no exam to see if something could be wrong. On the second day the doctor came in and told my sister and I that my father was running a fever and they didn't know why. I explained that in the ER when they put the cath in to do a urine sample his urine was chocolate brown and smelled of something dead.
He was surprised and ordered a test which showed my father had an infection. Now that is all they did. No further test nothing. Now it is Feb 2009 and after an ER visit on Sunday due to bowel obstruction they finally figured out that he has an enlarged prostate that has blocked his bladder so that he can't release urine all the way and has another infection and how his bladder is enlarged due to the problem that was not diagnosed in June 2008. They inserted a catheter and sent him home.
Now he is being told he cannot get into a specialist until the end of the month. Kaiser doesn't care about patient care or if they are uncomfortable or in pain. It is all about the high dollar profit. My father has paid 600 per month for 40 years for this horrible reflection of health care. They lie and cover up anything and everything they can. Beware of this horrible health care facility, it could cost you a loved one.
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.
REDLANDS, CALIFORNIA -- I had a bad seizure on Dec 7, and was taken to Redlands Community Hospital ER. They brought me out of it, stabilized and discharged me the same night. I called in to my primary care doctor at the Kaiser Redlands clinic; and he saw me in a very timely manner. But then he ordered a follow up visit to a neurologist, and the earliest appointment I could get was not until Jan 16. The reason I need to see him is that the seizure zapped my short term memory; that and during waking hours my experiences become dreams instead of memories. The ER doctor thought that I had suffered hypoxia during the seizure.
I can't believe that Kaiser, knowing what I went through and the after effects, thinks it is fine for me not to see a neurologist for six weeks after a seizure that nearly killed me. I have to call in every day hoping there will be a cancellation, but it's no use. I suspect that Kaiser Fontana is understaffed. My husband and I pay almost $1,800/month for our two premiums. That is why I say that Kaiser charges like Kaiser, but at least in this case it feels like I'm on Medicaid! Perhaps that is naive. Perhaps it takes six months to see a neurologist on Medicaid. I just think that considering the brain damage from a seizure that almost killed me, I'd be a higher priority to Kaiser.
ROCKVILLE, MARYLAND -- Kaiser started billing me after I had a foot surgery even though I had paid for everything up front, and went against their own member services, and surgeon on the 90 day universal health laws in the state of VA. They also refused to fill my primary Dr's prescriptions at their own pharmacy! Stay away! Each Primary has hundreds to thousands of patients and has no time for you (5 min or less per visit, I was told the 1 st day by my Dr). If you have serious issues, you will get 3 world care at best! These Dr's are there due to failing at their own practices, or being sued for malpractice! Think about what you're doing?
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO -- A Kaiser Dr. finally prescribed an MRI for my lower back when I began showing nerve damage, never mind I've been suffering from back pain since the age of 26. It takes nerve damage people so if you need an MRI then say you have nerve damage, as evidenced by the numbness in my legs. Anyhow, I also had upper back/lower neck pain and requested that area have an MRI as well in the same visit rather than my having to take more time off work to have it done on another day, and hopefully before nerve damage happened.
I was denied by the Dr. and the MRI was not granted until I asked for the denial in writing. So ask for denials of care in writing! I asked the reason for her denial and she said "because it's expensive". Even if that's the reason and I know and she knows it, I couldn't believe she said those words, but she did. As a side note, the MRI techs said it is not that much more expensive to combine the tests. Now I am truly afraid to trust Kaiser for any back surgery, so I live in pain every day. I have been denied other insurance due to my existing back condition. When Cobra runs out, I'm screwed.
My advice to anyone/everyone dealing with Kaiser. You MUST do your own research, and DEMAND care. It is stressful and I left Kaiser crying but you have to do it. I understand you cannot sue Kaiser in most cases because your policy calls for arbitration. If I had any other choice I would get other insurance.
WAIPIO, HAWAII -- Tons of situations are flying through my head that I desperately need to say so. OK soo I am pregnant with my 2nd child. This time around I am on Kaiser for my medical plan. The first thing they tell you to do is choose your doctor to provide you your prenatal care. OK done. I'm 7 months pregnant and have only seen him twice. The rest of my visits was with a nurse practitioner or another doctor that, who I believe, was just working that day and had some time to spare. I'm still not sure how things work.
I drive 30 minutes from home to for the following to occur: Wait in a waiting room full of people with whom knows what (10mins), pee in a cup (1min), wait in an exam room for a nurse practitioner to measure my stomach (5 sec), listen to heartbeat of my baby (5 seconds - the only exciting part), get none of my questions answered (2 seconds), told I might have gestational diabetes and yet when tests are done I'm no way near it (4 minutes), and waddle out - that's right about 15 minutes of awkwardness.
I can go on and on. It's too late for me to change plans now from work so I have no choice but to stick it out. But believe me I'm switching as soon as I have the opportunity too!!
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 elixirs. 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.