Consumer Complaints and Reviews
My wife has severe back pain and has been waiting months for surgery in order to even stand up straight, but Kaiser refuses to even return her calls or set up a date for surgery. Her pain is so bad that any other plan would have had her in that very week.
It has been one year now that they are trying to process an address change. This means, even though I pay my premiums, when I go in for care, they tell me I am not covered. I have spent days of my life now trying to deal with this. Yes, they cost less, but you will pay for it in the time you lose with them. And I am reluctant to go in for care, because of all the horrible bureaucracy involved. I am now waiting until the end of the year to leave.
I had Kaiser insurance for 7 months, I was honest with all the drs I saw and found none of them would treat me for anything since I admitted I used **. They would not treat me for high blood pressure or diabetes. They all told me to go to emergency until I could test clean. I have used it for 50 years and my side has nearly won the battle and I do not plan to quit now even if it kills me. It has been my experience that If you use ** do not count on any care from Kaiser at all.
I've been with Kaiser for about three years because of its relative affordability in the health care marketplace. Kaiser is competent when it comes to routine, mechanical, procedural health care operations, such as prescribing drugs or taking labs. Kaiser utterly fails, however, when it comes to treating illness beyond pill dispensing or truly caring for its patients. Kaiser doctors are brainwashed to serve the money machine and patients suffer as a result. If you are with Kaiser and you have any real illness, God help you because Kaiser sure as hell won't.
I receive feedback surveys after every clinic visit and feel the surveys are used to deceive people. My appointments have been in Mental Health and the feedback surveys are for Medicine, therefore misleading by my providing answers to my experience with other Kaiser services as being excellent and access to services as excellent after being seen in Mental Health which is the only department within Kaiser that I have experienced that provides inadequate care and access to services are beyond poor. I feel that the surveys can only be used to mislead potential subscribers, especially those who suffer from mental illness and require weekly or bi-weekly therapy, and will also hinder the department's possibilities to grow because the mental health patients can't leave feedback that speaks directly to our experience with their department policies.
They created phone appointments to fill the gap when a patient is in crisis which is good, but no patient should have to tell a psychiatrist or psychotherapist that a patient suffering from mental illness isn't the best judge of whether they're in crisis or not and the need for regular appointments is detrimental to our lives. I am bi-polar and live within 10 miles of three Kaiser offices but have to drive 20+ miles away in order to see a therapist more than once every 60 days.
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Thanks to the not Affordable Care Act, and my husband needing a surgery, I had to have my husband on a separate insurance plan last year. For 2017 I wanted to switch him back to the plan the rest of the family is on. On December 13, 2016 I faxed a letter, signed by him, cancelling the policy he was on effective 12/31/16, because he would be on my policy for 2017. Kaiser does not inform customers that they have to cancel the policy they are on when they switch policies. I just happen to know that - that's a whole other issue.
So in late December I receive a bill for my husband's old policy for January 2017. I call Kaiser, go through their whole "system", spending at least 45 minutes on the phone. I am assured that his policy will be cancelled - not to worry about it. Something else came in the mail that led me to not feel to trusting about the policy really being cancelled, so I called them again, spent another 30 to 45 minutes on the phone and was again told it would be cancelled and that I didn't need to worry.
January 3, 2017, my credit card was billed for not only the new policy that we are all on as a family, but it was also billed $872.01 for my husband's old policy. Now I don't know about you, but to me that is a lot of money and it seems like their system should be able to see that he is being billed for two policies, but no. I called and talked to JoAnna **. I was livid and demanded that they refund that amount to my credit card. I was on the phone with her for 48 minutes and the issue wasn't resolved. She asked me if she could call me back. It took several hours before she called me back and she said they would refund my credit card as I had requested. She said it would take a week.
On January 17th, I called, because I had not seen the credit on my credit card. I was told it takes 5 business days and I should see the refund by January 24th. On January 26th, I had not seen the credit on my credit card yet, so I called and spoke with Candice. She told me that it takes two weeks, so I should see the credit by February 2nd. On February 6th I had not see the credit yet, so I called and spoke to Lolita, who couldn't help me and transferred me to Karen. Karen put me on hold a long time. Came back on and then put me back on hold a long time again. Came back and put me on hold a third time. She told me she saw the request for a refund was put in and would be going back to the credit card. She saw that it was requested on 1/17/17 and she said it shows it is being processed.
At this point I was really frustrated. The dates kept getting pushed out of when I should see it by and I never saw it when I was told I was. I was on this particular call for 1 hour and 6 minutes. On 2/15/17, I still had not seen the credit on my credit card, so I called the credit card company and disputed the charge. On March 1, 2107, I received the email bill I get each month to let me know that Kaiser was taking their money from my credit card and the amount was not what it should be - it was a lot lower. In fact it was lower by the amount they were supposed to credit my credit card for. So I called them.
Would you believe this? They credited my account, not my credit card, on 1/23/17. I called several times after that date and NO ONE told me that. It is not how I wanted it done. I wanted it credited to my credit card. But I called several times after 1/23/17 and no one could see that was done? The person who told me this told me that their system is really messed up. It is pretty bad when the employees tell you the system is messed up. He actually told me that the least messy way to fix all of this was for me to leave the credit on my account and call my credit card company and cancel the dispute. If I continued with the dispute, there would be no telling in what ways my Kaiser account might be screwed up.
I am amazed that a company as big as Kaiser can operate like this. You know, if we didn't pay our premium, we would get cancelled. We have to pay it on a certain date. Yet, they can keep money they owe to us as long as they want and they don't have to accurately account for it. Kaiser billing system is an absolute disaster! I am amazed. If I had a choice, I wouldn't be with Kaiser.
My husband and I am a new members at Kaiser, nonsubsidized. I choose a primary. When I showed up for my appointment I was told I didn't have one. The call center confirmed that I did have an appointment but they refused to see me. I then made an appt. online a week later (first available) with a gynecologist. I am 62 have been on hormone pellets for two years and now am experiencing vaginal bleeding and pain. The Dr. did not examine me or do any test but ordered a pelvic ultrasound. 5 days later I had the pelvic ultrasound which showed the density of the lining and fibroids. 5 days later I met with my primary physician for the first time. I explained some problems I was having, he couldn't address the female concerns but did order blood tests.
On Friday I went to Florida, my other home in pain. I made an appointment and was seen immediately by my ob-gyn that I went to prior to Kaiser on my dime. He said the ultrasound was useless, it did not show the location of the fibroids, interior, exterior or in the wall. Bleeding would only be caused if they were on the interior typically. He then did a urine. It came back positive for bacteria and blood. He put me on ** and ** for the pain. I was scheduled this Thursday for a uterine biopsy.
The Gynecologist in Georgia said if there were fibroids she'd remove them. I should have had a hysteroscope which could have detected cancer and the location of the fibroids. I received a bill from Kaiser for over $300 for the worthless ultrasound. The blood work came back. I am anemic and my white count is high. I am still bleeding and still in limbo and do not feel comfortable with this gynecologist. I emailed Kaiser and asked to be seen asap by another gynecologist. The auto response was that they'd get back to me within 14 days.
I visited KP on Fair Oaks Blvd Friday for an appt. The women who checked me in at the station had half her boobs exposed and she was robust. Shirt was so low-cut. It stopped short of exposing her nipples. Don’t they have to wear medical attire? Sleazy, unprofessional and inappropriate.
I'm not one to write reviews very often, but after reading so many negative reviews about Kaiser, I felt compelled to create an account and write a positive review. I have been a member of Kaiser off and on (mostly on) for the last 32 years. I have had the same primary care physician for 14 of the last 15 years, and she is amazing. She has always listened to my needs, and under my previous plan, she would order tests, blood work, MRI's, anything that might be beneficial to my treatment, without hesitation. My insurance covered 100% of these costs. She once had me come in on her lunch on a Friday to make sure I was seen before the weekend.
Last year, my insurance changed to a high deductible plan where I ended up paying 100% of my medical costs, she listened and understood when I wanted to hold off on some tests and treatment due to the high out of pocket cost. Over the years, I have emailed her and received an out of office that she was on vacation and would not be able to respond for a couple weeks, and then received a response later that day from her while she was on vacation! I have always felt like I am in control, but she is there to advise, counsel, and make recommendations. She actually listens to her patients!
In 2000, I had a new job that did not offer Kaiser, so I ended up on a PPO plan. I had an accident and hurt my shoulder, I thought it was broken. My doctor thought I had frozen shoulder and referred me to physical therapy. The physical therapist did not agree and was finally able to talk my doctor into referring me to a specialist for an MRI.
I went to the specialist and because I could not reach behind my back, he said it was Frozen Shoulder and would not give me the MRI. It wasn't frozen shoulder, it was torn ligaments like my physical therapist thought, and now I will have a messed up shoulder for the rest of my life because they were too cheap to give me the MRI. I could have had a simple surgery that would have made my torn ligaments heal correctly, but instead I will have pain in my shoulder for the rest of my life. This never would have happened at Kaiser.
When searching for a new job, my number one criteria is that they offer Kaiser. The last company I worked for with the amazing plan that paid for everything took our Kaiser away. I found a new job that offered Kaiser within a year so I could have my wonderful doctor of 15 years again. My only complaint is that on the high deductible plan, their billing is untimely, confusing, and often inaccurate. It's not much fun having to call member services. They are nice, however the wait times are ridiculous (up to an hour) and depending on who you are speaking with, you may end up getting inaccurate and/or conflicting information.
I feel it's still worth it because their doctors are amazing and they truly have my best interests at heart. It is so easy and convenient having a one stop shop for all of my medical needs. Once I have seen a specialist, they are added to my list and I can contact them on my own. I only need my PCP for the initial km referral. My advice to anyone not happy with Kaiser is to find a new primary care physician, keep trying until you find one that is a good fit for you. Once you do this, I believe you will be happy, and like me, will never want to leave Kaiser.
I have had Kaiser for 10 years through my employer. I use it only when it is an absolute must as I have gone through 4 different doctors. They don't stay long. I have been misdiagnosed 4 different times with the same thing that I never had. The Gay doctor I had assumed that because I'm a gay Man I am automatically HIV Poz. I'm not. I filed a complaint against him after the blood work came back. Now, I will admit they are pretty good with taking care of physical injuries. I.e. Sprains and fractures but that's about it. They have been incorrect on 99% of the other stuff to the point to where I had to shell out thousands of dollars for a second opinion.
This is my first and last year to use this medicare insurance. Everywhere they want to send you is much too far away. This is very inconvenient. Tests performed are at a high price.
Kaiser is totally a minimal care “medical” facility on all levels. Mike’s pulse was approximately 30 bpm and he was unable to move his extremities or speak; however, he was conscious. We called 911 and shot of ** to increase his heart rate was given to him on the way to the local hospital. He was at the local hospital for several hours, and they were prepared to have him see the cardiologist if Kaiser would agree to allow him to remain there. Kaiser refused to allow Marshall, the local hospital, to keep him and said they would be sending an ambulance within two hours. Long story, short, it took 8 hours to get him transferred to a Kaiser facility. Kaiser said they did not have enough ambulances, so Marshall had to send a local ambulance to the Kaiser facility.
The Kaiser staff was rude to say the least--so many examples. The first ER doctor we saw—close to 8 p.m.—said that there it was possible vagal nerve fainting. Mike never fainted—the doctor wasn’t listening—he couldn’t control his arms and legs and he couldn’t speak when 911 was called. Doctors for the next several days told him that a 30+ bpm heart rate was just fine and referred numerous times to the high altitude vagal nerve fainting as a cause.
After a two-day nightmare, Mike was released. He was asked to walk to the medical building from the hospital to get a heart monitor. We walked there, got the monitor, and on the way to the car, Mike almost fell. I had him sit in a wheelchair that was nearby, and I went to get the car. Today, his blood pressure and heart rate seem normal, but we don’t know whether or not to anticipate another episode like the one he just experienced.
I strongly feel that Kaiser did absolutely nothing except add stress to an already scary and stressful situation. The doctors were absolutely uncaring and judgmental. I do not have one nice comment to make about the experience. It was a nightmare. There was no outcome. His symptoms and discomfort were dismissed. It was a waste of time to go to Kaiser. I plan to change health care providers as soon as possible.
I have been had Kaiser for 3 years since moving to Colorado and have numerous problems with my insurance premium bills. They has it correct for about a year and then I and see on Social security and it has been messed up since. I advised them as of the SS dollars I received and they just stopped my billing and never reinstated it. I had a medical procedure done during that time and figured there was no problem with my account and then a year later I get a bill for the services, because they say I didn't have insurance. I have called them at least 5 different times on these issues and whoever you talk to, they can't fix it and they give you a ticket number and never get any follow up with them at all. I can't count the month until I am finished with Kaiser.
I discontinued my Kaiser Permanente Health Insurance through California Covered after a year as I was being added to my girlfriend's plan. I continued to receive health insurance through Kaiser but through a separate plan. After discontinuing in December of 2016, I continued to receive a bill for that month. Upon calling Kaiser's billing department, I was told that I needed to cancel officially through California Covered. I then called California Covered whereupon I was told that my plan would be canceled and was issued a reference number to contact Kaiser with if I continued to be billed.
Cut to January 2017 and I am still being billed with the bill being compiled to include January. I called Kaiser and gave them the reference number with the billing department telling me that it was never canceled and that it will now be canceled along with the charges for December and January. It is now February and I just received a payment notice for the months of December, January, and February. Why?! I can't tell if it is basic incompetence or negligence on the part of Kaiser. Either way, they need to fix their billing department.
I have been using Kaiser for 40 years and they constantly improve their services. You as a consumer need to learn how to be a patient. Manage your doctor. When a doctor tells you "Oh, you have this, and you need to take this". DO THE RESEARCH TO FIND OUT. That is called cookie cutter medicine. The Doctor should research your family history and your medical history before making a diagnosis. My sister died of Multiple Myeloma Bone Cancer. If you feel you are not getting what you need, kick it up the food chain. You can ask for a 3rd party Eval. Yes, you can get an Evaluation from another hospital and Kaiser will pay for it. I thank Kaiser for my new Titanium Ankle which removed years of pain. They helped me prevent Diabetes, and kept my Cholesterol in check.
At age 18, I developed proteinuria and was diagnosed by Kaiser Santa Clara urologist as having benign proteinuria. I had urine protein tests every six months to a year, and diagnosis always remained the same. At age 33, I developed severe right flank pain and was diagnosed by Kaiser Santa Clara ER doctor as having kidney stone. Was told, "I can see the stone on the x-ray and you should pass it in a couple days". I never passed a stone.
Over the next year and a half, I had multiple episodes of "kidney stone pain" diagnosed by x-ray and saw the urologist. I have been through childbirth, and this pain was much worse with severe spasms. I finally demanded to see a nephrologist. Looking at my previous x-rays, the nephrologist reported I never had a stone, that the x-rays clearly showed a congenital defect on my right ureter that had now caused right kidney nephrosis. I was scheduled for stent insertion to decompress the kidney.
On the day of stent insertion, after waiting six hours on a gurney for the procedure to start, I was told the doctor had a family emergency, had left the hospital, and the next soonest date the procedure could be done was 6 weeks away. I could not take the pain for another six weeks and arranged to see a nephrologist at Kaiser Santa Teresa.
Over the next two years, my right kidney function continued to decline, despite multiple stents, and when it reached only 15%, I agreed to an elective right kidney removal to eliminate the pain. I also had a child cousin who died at Kaiser Santa Clara after being given an adult dose of medication, so I got rid of Kaiser.
Now, at age 63, I broke my leg on 12/4/16 and was placed on disability until 3/4/16. My employer sponsored insurance expired on 12/31/16. I had to get insurance through Covered California, and could only afford Kaiser. My insurance was to start 01/01/17 and I had appt to see new PCP in first week of January. I could not get an appt to see the orthopedist, without first seeing the PCP. On 12/19/16, I received bill from Kaiser for January, with payment due by the 26th. I sent in the check. The day before my appointment, when I called to confirm because I had not been called, I was told the coverage had been terminated on 12/21/16, for non-payment, with no reason given. I had to re-apply through Covered California for coverage to start 02/01/17.
In the middle of February, I received a letter from Kaiser that my check was denied because the handwritten line gave the cents as 93, and the other line looked like 98. I have had several people look at the returned check, and they all say they both look like 98 (the correct amount). I have never had payment denied for a supposed five cent discrepancy. Also, if Kaiser denied the check on 12/21/16, and payment was due 12/26/16, they could have called me and I could have immediately made a payment over the phone. Why did it take six weeks before I found out why the check was denied?
When I called to schedule my PCP appt at Kaiser Modesto, I specifically explained I was establishing as new patient yearly preventive exam, which is supposed to be no co-pay. The new PCP was very kind and called me before the appt to discuss my need for immediate referral to the orthopedist. At my appt, my history was obtained, the doctor arranged for the referral and ordered labs and x-rays. My heart and lungs were not listened to and I was told the appointment had not been scheduled as my yearly preventive exam, but as appointment for referral, and I was charged a co-pay. I now have to make another appointment for the yearly physical.
When I saw the podiatrist (Kaiser uses podiatrist for lower leg fractures, not orthopedist), I explained I was currently on disability, with return to work date of 03/04/17. He verbally approved for my return to work on that date. On a Monday, when I brought in my return to work approval form to the forms department to be filled out, I was told there was no notation in my chart that I am on disability and they refused the form. I went to the podiatry department, was told the doctor was at lunch, that when he returned a note would be placed in my chart that I am on disability, that I would then be called later that afternoon to return with the forms. I received no call. The next day, I was told that the doctor would place the note in my chart on Thursday, that I would be called when it was done, and that I could turn in my forms on Friday (today).
After again receiving no call, I called and was told the doctor would not agree to fill out the forms, which are due on 2/20/17, and that the forms must be filled out by the doctor who filled out the original disability forms in December. I now have to cash pay (I no longer have insurance with that doctor) full price for an office visit to see that doctor, with them not being able to tell me how much an office visit is. It could be as much as $900.00. I applied for an extension for the paperwork with my employer, and have now been told that if the forms are not received by 2/28/17, I am fired. The Kaiser podiatrist said he is willing to fill out the paperwork, after I have another appointment with him, with soonest available appointment on 03/07/17. I have explained multiple times that if I do not return to work on 03/04/17, I am fired, and that work will not let me return without the return to work papers turned in by 02/28/17.
I will cancel any future appointments with this podiatrist, who lied to me when I spoke to him in person at the visit. I understand there is no legal requirement for doctors to fill out papers for your work, so there is nothing I can do, but when I can change insurance next January, I will again get rid of Kaiser and absolutely will never use it again! I will somehow come up with the money for the higher priced insurance.
I've been with Kaiser since 1986, as I see it they train the Dr.'s not to care anymore. My recent issue is making an Appointment to TALK to a Dr. & I need to re-up some meds. I was denied to speak to a Dr & I have to call pharmacy to get meds that have expired & out of refills. So easy to talk to a Dr & @ the same time have a script called in. But now I'm not allowed to talk to a medical person at all.
My experience with Kaiser has been exactly like Nicole. From hip to knee. Nothing done after years of complaints, unable to sleep at night from pain, and bouncing back and forth from ortho to PT to ortho to PT. Spent 3 1/2 years doing my own Pilates which was very helpful. Tried shots, acupuncture, deep tissue massage, electrical stimulation, etc. Finally sent to Physical Medicine Rehab. The doctor's first solution was to prescribe ** for the pain so I could get some sleep. That was over five years ago and I can sleep at night as long as I take the **. No one seems to care about finding the source and fixing the problem and I have to keep taking the drug. I now have a pacemaker (that went well) and can no longer get an MRI.
Last year when I was scheduled for gall bladder removal, no one foresaw that I because I have a pacemaker, I needed to have surgery in the hospital, not at the clinic, so they sent me home the morning of surgery. Second time, no one had scheduled a pacemaker tech to be with me, as required, but they went forward with the surgery after the tech said they would check in on me after surgery.
In addition to that, I have had ongoing problems over the past year with getting prescriptions forwarded when we are traveling in the winter months. I find out today that the Mail Order Pharmacy puts very little postage (lightweight parcel select which is less than Junk Mail) on the packages and they cannot be forwarded. The computerized records and online capability (second star) is excellent and I will miss that, but on Jan. 1, we dropped Kaiser and went with United Healthcare.
I have gotten progressively sicker dealing w/ KP. They will ignore documented evidence from my current & prior physicians that show I have fulfilled the requirements for more expensive prescriptions. They deny auto-immune related dental issues as not medical, draw out the appeal process, then get sign off on the denial from someone who has never examined my teeth, is like 80 and apparently collecting checks for rubber stamping KP's greed. I have lost count of how many rude people I have dealt with administratively. The medical pros are OK, but they can't really fight for the patient because the insurer is their boss.
This is the most horrible website. WTF! Can't actually log in because they have to spend 7 days mailing me a password! Really! My son could design a better website. WTF. Mailed so far a half a pound of useless mail. They never sent me Health care cards. Seriously! 30 minutes to an hour on phone to get anything done. Really hard to make online payments.
I always thought Kaiser was one of the best facility to go to, I had Kaiser growing up, move state and came back and went back to Kaiser, but this time around is not the best, it just feel like a animal hospital now. Nobody ever wants to HELP. It just never felts. Each time I go in for my appointment its never scheduled for the right stuff, and lets not even mention the horrible phones service they have. Its so hard to get ahold of your provider or nurse. Honestly if I had a option with my job I would switch ins to be able to go to a private facility.
Kaiser is so screwed up and is quickly becoming the worst health care provider I have ever had. I have been in pain for weeks trying to get an appointment for an MRI, both in CA and in GA. It is a joke. I get appointments that are set and no one tells me. I get hang up on while on hold, so many times. I have service people not call me back after saying they would call me back by the end of the day. I have the West Coast unable to see what is happening in GA. It is frightening to think that doctors in California cannot see what doctors in GA are doing. How can I feel comfortable about trusting Kaiser with my healthcare when your right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing?!!!
It would be comical if it wasn't my health you are putting at risk. It's like dealing with a company who doesn't know how computers work!!! It absolutely hurts my head. You would not believe how many phone calls I have made and still no appointment. Just a short while ago, I was told that the service person would stay on the phone with me until Radiology picked up the phone. The call was dropped and she never called back. This was after she ask my number in case we were disconnected. What has happened to Kaiser??? A TRULY DISAPPOINTED CUSTOMER IN PAIN!!!
I have always had good test results on my annual checkups. 2 months after I began heavy bleeding I asked if I could get myself a ** from a health store. They said that cream is not strong enough. I told 3 other doctors same thing in between my testing and checkups. They ran test and ultrasounds. Said everything was normal but had me stuck on toxic birth control pills. I wanted off. They said that birth control was my only option or a hysterectomy. I found out on my own I could get a endometrial ablation. They said I needed to see surgeon first. He said tie my tubes first and I said fine... I already completed the class for it. So let's do this. He said “No let's give you the **.” I said why would I want to keep these synthetic chemicals in my body?? I said “Can't I do the ** on my own? It has helped to Christian sisters of mine. He said no. Not strong enough.
Then I seen 3 family doctors to check my thyroid because I got so fatigued and 1st one ignored me, said lay off the salt. On previous checkups I was being told I had extra white blood cells but they didn't know why. I asked for further testing on that. They said "No. Only if you feel sick and pain." Anyways so here we are a year later and I'm fatigued with weight gain and constipation, swollen legs and ankles... Doctors not checking my thyroid saying stop eating junk and salt. So the 3rd doctor finally listens to my demands and fully checked my thyroid with the 2 antibodies and sure enough I have hypothyroidism/ hashimoto's! No wonder I was fatigued and bleeding so bad. At this point I was on iud and a pill a day turning into a real witch at home... and severe brain fog. My Christian sisters told me that cream will help you balance your hormones.
So I got the iud removed, started the cream a couple days prior to removal and a week later all my bleeding went away on its own. No more toxic birth control. 4 days ago I told my doctor from Kaiser, that all my bleeding was all gone from the natural cream the best on the shelf... $33.00 took it all away. She said I should not try to fix things by myself and should of stuck with what the ob-gyn said, the birth control! Wth??? Holistic care seems to be so much better than these band-aid fixes these doctors are giving us that can make us more sick. Just do your research. I had to take matters into my own hands or I'd of had a hysterectomy by now. Why don't they really help us??
The doctors who work for Kaiser are OK, but the customer service system they have in place is the most incompetent I have ever dealt with. They have lost paperwork more times than I can count, overcharged me, and refused to cover services that should have been covered under my plan. Do yourself a favor and find another company.
I am writing this review concerning my experience at Santa Clara Kaiser. The reason for the review is that, after talking with someone who had to escalate their concerns for lack of treatment for arthritis, I realized that I am not alone in my experience. In 2014, I began to experience increasing pain in my groin, back and knee. I couldn't lift my knee very well and consequently, kept falling. I saw my doctor and received an x-ray. I was told that I had some arthritis and was given anti-inflammatory meds. It didn't help and the pain worsened. In 2015, I fell and the pain increased. I was told by my doctor that I probably had hip bursitis and was sent to an orthopedic doctor. He didn't see me but an assistant came in and gave me a shot that didn't help.
My doctor then recommended a physical therapist. The therapist told me that she felt that it was my back and not my hip. By this time, I could no longer place any weight on my leg. I walked with a limp and my hip joint clicked and made grinding noises when I tried to dress. The therapist recommended that I tried a stationary bike. I told her that the pain of getting my foot into the pedal was too much. I went back to my GP who sent me back to the orthopedic doctor. He told me that he agreed with the therapist that it was my back and I was sent to a back specialist and an MRI was performed. (I did look at the orthopedic "specialist" sideways when he said that he agreed with the therapist. He's the doctor for goodness sakes.)
I went to the back specialist and on two separate occasions, I was given shots into my back area and told that 80 percent of people who have what I have are not in pain. The last time I saw the back specialist he explained that he was only giving me the shot so that the orthopedic doctor would not send me back to him. January 2016 came around and I had just turned 61 and by now I could barely walk from my car into a grocery store. (I used to hike 10 miles at a time and went to the gym 3 times a week..) I had been laid off from my job but couldn't work and so I asked for temp disability and my doctor allowed this while reiterating that 80 percent of people with my issue have no pain.
I changed insurance companies. In March, I found an orthopedic surgeon out of Stanford who had an x-ray machine in his office. Inside of 30 minutes, I was diagnosed with hip dysplasia that he said, I had all of my life, severe arthritis and bone spurs and was given a date for surgery a month later. After a total hip replacement, I now feel so much better and I am so glad that I changed my insurance. The problem is, I had spent so many months compensating for that pain, I now have chronic back pain and arthritis in my other hip.
I am trying to figure out how Kaiser missed symptoms of severe arthritis and hip dysplasia. I can't help but think that they want people like myself to go away. Orthopedic surgery is costly and I am sure that there is a message trickling down from the top to keep those costs down. In other areas of Kaiser, I have received very good care but that was a low point and I could never trust their orthopedic department again.
The staff at Kaiser that I have met have all been nice, competent people. However, Kaiser has created a system that makes it as difficult as possible for the patient to get health care. Yes, it is highly efficient - for the administrators and accountants, but not for the consumer. I was never given any follow-up appointments. No single health care provider seemed to know who I was. Every attempted contact with Kaiser requires dealing with many layers of automated phone prompts and extended waiting. To be told by a machine (each and every time) "your phone call is very important to us" is an insult. If the call were important I would be speaking to a human.
I rarely go to the doctor because I'm pretty healthy. I chose Kaiser because it was the cheapest option and I have never had issues with any healthcare professionals. I thought that with my minimal visits with the doctor and past healthcare experiences it would be the best option but the cheapest option with Kaiser was not worth it. I had doctors rush me out of their office because they were being timed. I was misinformed on charges that I was going to receive. I have a minor rash under my eye that was misdiagnosed 2x which I have had since May (8 months ago). The rash cost me over 400$ in doctor's visits alone. I made numerous requests to compensate for the charges and get rid of the rash to no avail and eventually opted out of the insurance for a slightly more expensive option. Like I said, I have had very few medical issues in my lifetime.
I spent 3 years living in a developing country with no serious medical issues (saw a doctor 1 time the entire time) and was surprised with how poor the healthcare was with this particular organization. I think our healthcare system is headed in the right direction but it's a shame encountering organizations like this one. From a financial point of view I believe it will be much more advantageous to pay a little more for better quality healthcare to avoid some of the fees that you will encounter with routine medical problems with Kaiser.
I have been a Kaiser Permanente patient for over 20 years. We have always found Kaiser to offer the very best in healthcare. As a Senior on Medicare, I do not understand why Kaiser supports the YMCA which does not and will not offer accept the SilverSneakers program. Kaiser continually stresses exercise to their patients for good health, which benefits us, Kaiser and the government. The YMCA is one of the only places that offer water aerobics. This is a good way for seniors to exercise and does not stress the joints. The Kaiser and the Northside Hospital as major sponsors should be speaking out for the seniors. The Florida YMCAs take the SilverSneakers program which helps those on fixed incomes.
I have had Kaiser insurance since September 2016. I started looking for a doctor in October 2016, and I have been referred to a couple doctors so far. The first is really busy and has trouble scheduling appointments due to being booked up. The second has not yet returned my 2 phone calls in 10 days. Her answering machine did not indicate she was on vacation, and it said she returned calls in 2 business days, but I have not heard back from her. So now I need to look for a THIRD doctor in my area. Kaiser also outsourced my doctor visits to another insurance group, so I have to make multiple phone calls to get an appointment.
I am not writing now about the care, but about the difficulty it is dealing with Kaiser. Whether it be obtaining records, or even trying to pay my bill, as I am now, this place is impossible. I have now been waiting 40 minutes - to pay my bill!
Joseph BurnsHealth Insurance Contributing Editor
An independent journalist, Joseph Burns is the health insurance topic leader for the Association of Health Care Journalists and contributes to AHCJ’s Covering Health blog. He has also written about health policy and the business of health care for a wide variety of publications, including Healthcare Finance News, Hospitals & Health Networks, Managed Care magazine, Ophthalmology Management, TaxACT.com, and The Dark Report.
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