Jump to content
  • Sign Up

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

flxmanning

I Hate Kaiser!

Recommended Posts

Avoid Kaiser at all costs.

I say this as an ex Kaiser user.

I have the form of gluten intolerance that manifests as neurological symptoms and I have a secondary auto immune problem disease because of it, and I've got some really bad x rays and a past history of kidney problems to prove it.

I'd rather see my dog's veterinarian than attempt to get the Kaiser system to take any interest in attempting to diagnose, let alone treat, anything wrong with me. According to Kaiser, I did not have my secondary disease, which I had been correctly diagnosed with for almost 2 decades in another state under a regular insurance system. Therefore, I could not be having any cause for it. Therefore, the "rheumatologist" who saw me after waiting months for the appointment, the request for which they did not follow through on and delayed, totally blew me off and told me I was a head case.

I realized after I had severe problems negotiating their system during an asthma attack ( I survived ) that I could not handle them anymore if I wanted to live a few years longer. I'm now about 7 years out of their system, so far, so it's working.

I don't take daily medications, and I'm one of a very few people with the other disease that manages to cope without doing so. I do eat more fruits and vegetables than the average person, and almost no processed foods. I exercise regularly, and I don't drink and smoke. I have managed to make it to over 5 decades and have worked my butt off to stay out of a wheelchair.

But I'll be **** if I'll put up with some ignorant pathetic excuse of a so- called specialist calling me a head case to my face because they cannot comprehend that the patient has a relatively rare genetic make up and they refuse to listen to the patient's medical history, and current symptoms.

They're pretty clever. They usually have monitors on blogs at certain times of year posting scripted little stories about how great their care was at a Kaiser facility over an open enrollment season, or when they're about to lobby the state legislature to continue the fight against universal health care in the United States, which would force them to stop cherry picking patients. (they treat newer enrollees with chronic diseases poorly, in hopes that they will go away quickly so they can keep the healthier ones, just like any other insurance system).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Takala,

Thank you for posting. I can tell by what you typed that you experienced a lot of headaches with them. You sound like me when I talk about Bank of America.

My friend has Kaiser. He just recently needed to get treated for an ear infection and WOW, it seemed like he had to jump through hoops. Something called an advice nurse (?) actually canceled one of his appointments without telling him. One doctor (not his usual one) told him he had strep without a blood test confirmation, he actually put him on Penicillin without checking my friend's chart... well, my friend is allergic to penicillin and since the type of penicillin prescribed was a different name, it didn't dawn on my friend NOT to take it - long story short, he had a severe allergic reaction. Oh and that appointment that was canceled by the advice nurse, apparently wasn't canceled and because my friend didn't "show up", they charged him for the visit!

I don't know.. I've had my share of issues with my previous health carrier, but never any major issues with the service of the front desk. It's one thing to battle with the doctors, it's a whole other thing to be constantly battling with the front desk, secretaries or scheduling department.. I don't know if I could handle that.

How do the advice nurses work? I don't understand how they can provide advice? Or what have you..

Thank you again and I'm glad you got away from them :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

while I probably would avoid the public website of names of crappy doctors (liability over libel, I think, but I'm no lawyer), I would certainly call the facility where that NP worked and file a report against her. possibly for harassment, or maybe just really bad service. don't let her get away with her awful behavior.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sooooo, raise of hands, who LOVES Kaiser?

I do! I do! (Trident anyone?)

(Ever get the feeling that someone is reviving a thread because they are trying to get a rise out of someone? :P )

Honestly - it's the best HMO I've ever had but I'm sure plenty of people have had bad experiences with Kaiser, too (and with other HMOs). This forum is full of people who absolutely hate all doctors and HMOs so what else would you expect?

Since this is obviously a 'rant' type of thread I'll not get in the way of those who want to bash Kaiser and doctors and modern western medicine and vaccines and etc etc blah blah - just know that there are two sides to every coin. Peace to all. Kaiser fan, out. :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not really sure why the thought was that I would revive the thread to "get a rise out of someone". I really do need to weigh my options.

Please explain how my first post, that revived this thread, made it sound that I was trying to stir up problems?

Thank you.

If anyone is a fan of Kaiser or any other HMO, I don't see what the problem is with voicing the positive experiences they have had with that health insurance company. I really am just looking for facts. So, general statements of "I hate Kaiser" or "I love Kaiser", will be ignored. If someone takes the time to bullet some of the worst or best moments with their HIC, then I will take that into consideration.

My last comment to Takala (or anyone for that matter with Kaiser) asked "How do the advice nurses work?" <---- If someone loves Kaiser, I would hope they could explain this to me.

What I posted regarding my friend's experience, is to share my closest experience with Kaiser and explain some of my concerns. Again, if someone is in support of Kaiser, I would hope they would try to ease my concerns with some solid facts instead of posting something that makes it sound like I am starting drama.

Again, more detailed information in support of Kaiser would be appreciated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm not really sure why the thought was that I would revive the thread to "get a rise out of someone". . . . If anyone is a fan of Kaiser or any other HMO, I don't see what the problem is with voicing the positive experiences they have had with that health insurance company. . . .My last comment to Takala (or anyone for that matter with Kaiser) asked "How do the advice nurses work?" <---- If someone loves Kaiser, I would hope they could explain this to me. What I posted regarding my friend's experience, is to share my closest experience with Kaiser and explain some of my concerns. Again, if someone is in support of Kaiser, I would hope they would try to ease my concerns with some solid facts instead of posting something that makes it sound like I am starting drama.

Zella - I don't think you are trying to start drama. In the past I have posted about my good experience with Kaiser and I have been pilloried so I am somewhat hesitant. The problem with posting positive experiences is that someone here will feel the need to bash Kaiser as soon as they read what I post and I don't want to start some silly tit for tat waste of time. Since your friend had such a lousy experience will it really matter what I say?

Advice nurses: You can simply call in anytime when you are having an issue and you will speak with a registered nurse. This is helpful when you can't make an appointment or don't want to miss work. RNs are highly trained professionals and they can give you an idea of whether you need to come in for a visit or not. They do NOT attempt to diagnose over the phone and this is made quite clear when you call.

Some of my pleasant experiences: You can email any of your doctors and they are required to respond within 48 hours. My GI, in fact, has personally called me on my cell on several occasions. A record of your visits is available online - only to you - anytime you want. You can view your test results online and the system will also chart your current and past results so that you can see improvement. All of your doctors use a computer in the exam room to immediately enter into your record what you are telling them. They have immediate access to all of your other information and everything that any other Kaiser doctor noted in your record. If you are overwieight they tell you so that you can better take care of your health. They offer weight loss programs. If you smoke they tell you to stop smoking and they offer a stop smoking program. Kaiser has their own hospitals and pharmacies. They provide ophthalmologic as well as optometry services. They offer physical therapy. They offer counseling/therapy/psychiatry. I quit smoking with Kaiser's help through a free 8 week program they offer. They also offer nutritional and dieting information and programs to help those who are overweight or diabetic. They have an extensive addiction medicine program to help those suffering with drug addicition and it includes outpatient and residential treatment. You can make an appointment to see any of your doctors online, or you can call. If the lead time is too long they have after hours care, walk-in care, and emergency care. You can also make a same-day appointment if you call early enough. They are strong believers in preventive medicine. They do not overprescribe medications. You can ask your pharmacist if your meds are gluten free and they will note this on your record. Before my colonoscopy I attended as class warning me of the dangers. They offer free flu vaccinations (to the aged, young, or those with compromised immune systems) but before they poke you they warn you of the dangers and ask that you stick around to see if you have an adverse reaction. They even give you a flyer explaing what to do if you have a reaction. Same thing after I was shot up with that goop for my CAT scan.

So are some of the benefits I can think of off the top of my head.

My celiac experience: I do not have any symptoms and no family history. My cousin informed me that he had a genetic condition called Lynch Syndrome. Because I was a relative there was a chance that I had it. I told my intern and he referred me to a genetic counselor. The genetic counselor had a blood sample taken (through Kaiser's own labs - onsite). It was revealed that I also had Lynch so my intern referred me to a gastroenterologist. My gastro scheduled me for blood tests, urine tests, a CAT scan, an ultrasound, a colonoscopy, and an endoscopy. The endoscopy was negative for cancer but the pathologist thought he saw signs of celiac disease - even though they weren't looking for it and I had no symptoms. My gastro then had me take the celiac panel and also took blood for a genetic test - both of which were positive. After being diagnosed with celiac my intern scheduled me for bone density testing and performed a CBC to look for nutritional/mineral/vitamin deficiencies. It was discovered that I have osteopenia - probably due to celiac - so I now take vitamin D and calcium as well as exercise. My intern referred me to a dietitian who gave me some excellent advice about celiac and provided some good resources. I am scheduled to do followup bloodwork for celiac in 6 months.

When it comes to celiac I don't think you can get better service than that!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How much trouble do I get into for stating, based on my experiences with the same HMO, that the above reads like a fantasy that has no basis in reality ?

Kaiser can say they "offer" these services but they don't actually provide them.

The person you call on the phone is not a nurse, and may not speak your language intelligibly enough to be understood. They are working off a script to weed out people and discourage appointments. They don't have medical training. You must ask for a nurse. The state of CA is investigating the Kaiser call centers because of this.

The system assumes you have high speed internet access or you are completely screwed.

I never saw a physician take any notes during an office visit, which is the thing that shocked me the most. They were avoiding documentation.

they provide opthamology services

No, they don't.

They actively discourage appointments so people go outside the system.

I had vision anomalies. I was having trouble seeing much out of anything out of one eye, and lines were getting wavy, and there was a flickering and flashing going on. My eyes were crossing more and more.

I went out of the system to get looked at for this. This doctor wrote me a note and faxed it to Kaiser saying I needed an opthamologist's exam. He also told me that if I could not access their system, to come back and he would get me into a private doctor's, because Kaiser would likely balk at seeing me.

Kaiser said, when I called them to confirm this, they would contact me with an appointment. Within 6 weeks.

They did not.

When I didn't get the appointment, Kaiser was contacted. They then informed me that they had never heard of my request for a vision exam (!), that nothing was in the system about this, and that I needed to start over.

I started over. The original doctor was very concerned, their office clerks were incredulous, and they faxed the request to Kaiser AGAIN that I had to have an opthamologist's appointment because of these strange symptoms. They then made sure that Kaiser got the fax. I then started calling Kaiser to make them give me an appointment.

They said they'd contact me. It would be 6 weeks.

This time I eventually received the appointment.

I waited another 6 weeks for it.

In the waiting room, I had to wait for over an hour. No problem.

In the appointment room, a person who had no idea what any medical terminology meant what soever took my history after I filled out a form, and then gave me a short eye exam which consisted of reading the eye chart. That was it. She then took away my glasses.

I then waited about another half hour for the eye doctor.

He came in the room, and very sarcastically said, well, now that we have looked at you, it's obvious you don't have any vision problems so I don't see why you are here.

I don't take **** off of people, so I very quietly and very forceably went into AGAIN a short history of my vision anomalies.

He says suddenly, oh, you wear glasses?

Yes. As a matter of fact, without my glasses, I AM LEGALLY BLIND. I see less than 20/400. This arrogant idiot is lecturing a legally blind patient who is now having visual symptoms of either MS or some other neurological problem, who cannot see well out of one eye, that they don't need a vision exam.

He says, I'll check your glasses against your chart and come back.

He comes back and announces there is nothing wrong with my glasses. Dear God, I think, what is wrong with this person that he's so nasty.

He then announces he will dilate my eyes and have a look.

I then wait another 40 minutes before he comes back.

He quickly shines a light into both my eyes, and announces that THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH MY EYES. But I should go get my blood sugar tested at the lab. I am dismissed.

I ask him where the lab is, and he says, "I don't know" and he just walks out and leaves.

I stood there in the hallway, rather shell shocked, with my still rather blurry on top of legally blind and still messed up distorted vision and was eventually rescued by a very tall, kind, technician type of person, who gave me directions to the lab and asked if I needed any other help.

Yes, I said, please lead me to the waiting room so I can tell my husband who's been sitting there for hours that I haven't died back in here yet. He does this. Whoever he was, he was a good person. Wonder if they have broken his decency yet.

I get blood drawn. The test will show my blood sugar is okay.

I'm back to square one. Seeing distortions out of one eye, waviness, flashes, crossed eyes, double vision.

I did eventually get this figured out, but not through Kaiser.

When one has brain lesions due to gluten intolerance, it can do funny things to one's vision, mimicking the symptoms of MS.

Going on a gluten free diet, and sticking to it, can eventually GET RID of most of these symptoms over time.

I wish I had had a hidden camera on me, because this was one of several very negative experiences at Kaiser, over a period of about 3 years, which succeeded in getting me culled out of their system so they could cater to people who don't need appointments with specialists.

They say there is no rationing in this country with our so- called free market system. 12 weeks is 3 months. And then they pulled the typical Kaiser technique of denying the patient has a medical problem on the first visit.

No thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kaiser can say they "offer" these services but they don't actually provide them. The person you call on the phone is not a nurse, and may not speak your language intelligibly enough to be understood. They are working off a script to weed out people and discourage appointments. They don't have medical training. You must ask for a nurse. The state of CA is investigating the Kaiser call centers because of this. The system assumes you have high speed internet access or you are completely screwed. I never saw a physician take any notes during an office visit, which is the thing that shocked me the most. They were avoiding documentation. . . . .No, they don't.

They actively discourage appointments so people go outside the system.

Told you so! :lol:

Hi Takala - sorry that you haven't had a good experience. I believe Kaiser is being sued for other things as well. I can't think of an HMO that isn't being sued! :D

But you are incorrect, IMO, regarding the nurse - I have spoken several times with registered nurses - they provide their names - you can look them up in the Kaiser directory. Of course they actively discourage people who don't need to visit from visiting - that's how HMOs save money. I've been in to see my doctor when I had a cold and when I had the stomach flu. I didn't need to visit for either, as you know, because there's not much to do when it comes to viruses. At any rate, anyone can make an appointment so I don't understand your point. Who cares if some RN suggested you didn't need one - you can always make one!

MY coverage includes ophthalmology so I indeed did visit one (PATRICK CHI-HUANG YEH MD) who helped me with blepharitis probably due to rosacea - so you are wrong about that. Perhaps YOUR plan doesn't include this coverage?

The online stuff works if you can get online. Not sure what high-speed has to do with it. However, the ability to go online to check your prescriptions, your past visit diagnoses, your test results, is not something I am aware that many HMOs currently offer. Kaiser is leaps and bounds ahead of some other HMOs in this regard.

Too bad your doctors don't take notes. My intern does (Barriga), my gastro does (Bui), my ophthalmologist does (Yeh), my dermatologist does (Chrisine), even my stop smoking RN (Berman). Notice how I am providing doctors names that can be researched on the Kaiser site for any Kaiser customers who care to verify my claims. Takala, if you would provide names and dates I will complain on both your behalf and my own as I do not want to visit these doctors if they exist and as a customer I am concerned about the level of service provided. Please provide further info via PM if necessary.

Your experience with an ophthalmologist, frankly, reads as if you are actually describing a visit with an optometrist. I'm not sure if you are aware that they are two different things but an ophthalmologist will not 'check your glasses'. I am also legally blind (20-400, 20-450) but have never consisdered this to be much of a problem as eyeglasses can correct this to adequate.

I guess we all have differwent experiences and I know that Kaiser isn't perfect. I know they are being sued for dropping homeless patients off in the ghetto somewhere in LA ( :( ) but my experience, and my partner's, has been all-good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What an outrageously condescending post.

No, I am quite aware of what the difference is between an optometrist, who does eye exams for glasses or contact lenses, and an OPTHAMOLOGIST, who is a medical doctor who specializes in the diseases and treatments of the eyes. The culprit was an alleged OPTHAMOLOGIST who could not be bothered to do a medical exam nor could he be bothered to even read the chart or the notes on why I was "wasting" his time. I have no idea what he did when he left the room, it was obviously an excuse. This forced me to go outside of their system again. Preserving my remaining vision is more precious than screwing around with fake HMO insurance.

Registered Nurses DO NOT routinely answer the phone at Kaiser and did not when I was using their system. They may be asked for. Everything else I have said is true. You are pre screened by a non medically trained office clerk who is reading a script to discourage you from using the services of the HMO.

You cannot make appointments on the phone. An appointment will be given to you on a wait list basis. They will contact you, not vice versa.

A virus could kill me. A virus can kill anyone with certain pre existing medical conditions who gets the wrong virus, at the wrong time, and is refused medical treatment because they were turned away.

If Kaiser, as an insurance business, wants to cull and cherry pick their patients, on the basis of how they treat them, that's their right to do so, but as far as I am concerned, it's breach of contract to imply they are offering "health insurance", elicit people to enroll in what is supposed to be a plan that is top of the line ( hah! what a joke), have them pay premiums, and then refusing to provide exams, diagnosis, and treatment.

Most people will not say anything negative about them because if they are enrolled in a Kaiser plan, that is the ONLY health insurance they will have access to, and they don't want to be blacklisted. I'm out, and I'm glad I'm out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Most people will not say anything negative about them because if they are enrolled in a Kaiser plan, that is the ONLY health insurance they will have access to, and they don't want to be blacklisted. I'm out, and I'm glad I'm out.

Most of the places I worked at in California offered Kaiser or "another" HMO. You were always left with the "anything but Kaiser" option, which sometimes probably turned out to be worse.

Of course, I do have a bias which I hereby disclose: I worked closely with an attorney (former Masters prepared RN) who made a very nice living suing Kaiser for med mal. Maybe that is the reason they don't take a lot of notes any more :P --they don't have so many to go back and "doctor" for litigation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Zella - I don't think you are trying to start drama. In the past I have posted about my good experience with Kaiser and I have been pilloried so I am somewhat hesitant. The problem with posting positive experiences is that someone here will feel the need to bash Kaiser as soon as they read what I post and I don't want to start some silly tit for tat waste of time. Since your friend had such a lousy experience will it really matter what I say?

Advice nurses: You can simply call in anytime when you are having an issue and you will speak with a registered nurse. This is helpful when you can't make an appointment or don't want to miss work. RNs are highly trained professionals and they can give you an idea of whether you need to come in for a visit or not. They do NOT attempt to diagnose over the phone and this is made quite clear when you call.

Some of my pleasant experiences: You can email any of your doctors and they are required to respond within 48 hours. My GI, in fact, has personally called me on my cell on several occasions. A record of your visits is available online - only to you - anytime you want. You can view your test results online and the system will also chart your current and past results so that you can see improvement. All of your doctors use a computer in the exam room to immediately enter into your record what you are telling them. They have immediate access to all of your other information and everything that any other Kaiser doctor noted in your record. If you are overwieight they tell you so that you can better take care of your health. They offer weight loss programs. If you smoke they tell you to stop smoking and they offer a stop smoking program. Kaiser has their own hospitals and pharmacies. They provide ophthalmologic as well as optometry services. They offer physical therapy. They offer counseling/therapy/psychiatry. I quit smoking with Kaiser's help through a free 8 week program they offer. They also offer nutritional and dieting information and programs to help those who are overweight or diabetic. They have an extensive addiction medicine program to help those suffering with drug addicition and it includes outpatient and residential treatment. You can make an appointment to see any of your doctors online, or you can call. If the lead time is too long they have after hours care, walk-in care, and emergency care. You can also make a same-day appointment if you call early enough. They are strong believers in preventive medicine. They do not overprescribe medications. You can ask your pharmacist if your meds are gluten free and they will note this on your record. Before my colonoscopy I attended as class warning me of the dangers. They offer free flu vaccinations (to the aged, young, or those with compromised immune systems) but before they poke you they warn you of the dangers and ask that you stick around to see if you have an adverse reaction. They even give you a flyer explaing what to do if you have a reaction. Same thing after I was shot up with that goop for my CAT scan.

So are some of the benefits I can think of off the top of my head.

My celiac experience: I do not have any symptoms and no family history. My cousin informed me that he had a genetic condition called Lynch Syndrome. Because I was a relative there was a chance that I had it. I told my intern and he referred me to a genetic counselor. The genetic counselor had a blood sample taken (through Kaiser's own labs - onsite). It was revealed that I also had Lynch so my intern referred me to a gastroenterologist. My gastro scheduled me for blood tests, urine tests, a CAT scan, an ultrasound, a colonoscopy, and an endoscopy. The endoscopy was negative for cancer but the pathologist thought he saw signs of celiac disease - even though they weren't looking for it and I had no symptoms. My gastro then had me take the celiac panel and also took blood for a genetic test - both of which were positive. After being diagnosed with celiac my intern scheduled me for bone density testing and performed a CBC to look for nutritional/mineral/vitamin deficiencies. It was discovered that I have osteopenia - probably due to celiac - so I now take vitamin D and calcium as well as exercise. My intern referred me to a dietitian who gave me some excellent advice about celiac and provided some good resources. I am scheduled to do followup bloodwork for celiac in 6 months.

When it comes to celiac I don't think you can get better service than that!

That sounds good, I re-start full coverage with Kaiser July 1st. ... and none to soon I might add, Im pretty missable these days.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you so much for the support everyone!

When someone treats you like that, especially when you are concerned and scared in the first place, you start to second guess yourself and think that maybe you are really just some crazy hypocondriac or something. Maybe you are putting these symptoms into your mind and somehow manifesting them physically. Then I remember that I didn't research causes until AFTER the symptoms had already been going on for about 3 years and so how could I possibly have just got some "celiac" idea into my mind and created these problems because of it?

I got a lot of support from my mom and dad today when I called them crying after my appointment. I'm 5'3" tall and 96 lbs. I know that I'm very small, but at my same age (21) my mom was 5'4" tall and 98 lbs. and my dad was 6'2" tall and 140 lbs. (with a 22" waist BTW...smaller than mine even!)! They reassured me that doctors don't know everything and since my mom has experienced my same symptoms her whole life she offered to go to Chinese herbologist with me to seek some sort of alternate remedy to Western medicine.

Thank you so much again! I really can't tell you how much it means to me.

Oh yeah, I remembered later on today that the woman didn't even say, "hello" or "how are you" or anything. She automatically just said, "are you aware that you are GROSSLY underweight?" Talk about rude! Would she have said that same thing to a person struggling to lose rather than gain a couple pounds? No, of course not! Yet somehow she felt it was alright to say that to me when I have confidence issues with how thin I am anyways.

Find another hospital or doctor asap, I went through the same thing. They had me on Zoloft and was about to send me to a shrink. I weighed 135 at my worst and I am a bit over 6ft tall. Dropped 55lbs in about 6 months time. Zoloft put me in the ER twice in 3 days so I quit taking it. Went to the doc that put me on it and she was mad at me for stopping it. Are you freaking kidding me? you want me to start taking that garbage again? Have not been to that bigbox hospital again. Found a great naturopath and am on the right track now. Looking back, I should have got another doc way earlier than I did. I took the so called "experts" advice way too long when deep down I knew they were not helping me at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My so called doctors actually smirked at me, and told me I was a hypochondriac ! I didn't present as underweight, but way over weight.

I had to figure out I am healthy without gluten, in SPITE of the health care system.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...