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Old 10-30-2014, 04:12 PM   #21
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It was my mom's experience with ovarian cancer that convinced me Kaiser was good. True - they didn't diagnose ovarian cancer when she first presented with gut pain. But that is typical and common since the symptoms are similar to much more common GI issues. Once she was diagnosed, she had her regular oncologist as well as her "super doc". The regular oncologist managed her chemo and symptoms. The super doc was an MD/PhD gyno oncological surgeon who did the surgeries and look for treatments specific to my mom's particular cancer experience.

My dad's experience was also good. He was treated for and beat prostate cancer with a surgery and radiation. When he started getting shoulder pain his primary doc was aggressive about getting him in to see specialists - that's where they figured out he had multiple myeloma (which had caused some brittleness in his shoulder bone). While he was being sent to the various specialists (about a 4 week period of multiple docs and procedures) my dad was grumbling that his doctor was trying to pin a terminal disease on him. Unfortunately, the Dr. was right... It wasn't arthritis, or some other expected cause of shoulder pain in 76 year old man.... it was stage 2 MM.

Those experiences, and observing friends who have BC/BS and Scripps... Doctors in any insurance provider don't always figure out the obscure disease the first go round...

The one thing about Kaiser you should know before signing up with them. They are very proletariat. No private rooms, no concierge level service if you pay more. Everyone is treated the same... and it's a pretty non-fancy sameness. But they have excellent specialists and a solid team of primary care doctors. If you want the private rooms and pampered hospital experience - Kaiser is NOT for you.
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Old 10-30-2014, 07:50 PM   #22
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Every member is equal at Kaiser, I just look at members who frequent their Interstate Clinic and think there but for the grace of God go I. Their new facility in Hillsboro, OR has all the coffee service found at Providence St. Vincent. They do focus on preventative care and providing cost effective services.
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Old 10-30-2014, 10:34 PM   #23
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We have used Kaiser Permanente in Denver this year - a bronze HSA plan. We are very impressed. They are convenient to deal with & very responsive. We haven't had anything serious go wrong, but all the doctors we've seen have been very competent. And they respond to email queries withing 24 hours.
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Old 10-30-2014, 11:11 PM   #24
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Grew up with Kaiser--was born in Kaiser Oakland. My parents were on Kaiser all their lives, the last few my dad lived here in the mid-Atlantic where there was no Kaiser. I had to switch doctors here a couple of times--he was seeing a geriatric specialist who was basically did not treat him like a person but like one or two diseases. My parents care was excellent even through cancer and heart failure there. There was never a problem finding a doctor like I had out here. And I know with certainty that my parents' costs on Kaiser Medicare were practically zero. The premium was very low and the copays were maybe a dollar or two at the very end, when my dad moved in 2004.
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Old 10-30-2014, 11:44 PM   #25
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Had too many friends and colleagues with negative experiences with Kaiser, so if they ever come up as an option - they get crossed off the list immediately.
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Old 10-31-2014, 11:51 AM   #26
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I think some patients have difficult experiences with HMOs - even PPOs, not just Kaiser. Personally I have never had an issue with Kaiser but I do believe that each patient needs to select their health care providers in any program with care. Rarely is professional competence an issue, more often than not it is personality. Health care is a people profession.

A gal and her family moved into our area so I suggested she look at Kaiser. She came back with an 'oh no' type of response. Since I have gotten to know her better I am confident that both she and Kaiser are happy she didn't sign up.

The life of the son of a friend was saved by a Kaiser physician's diagnostic skills, the kid contracted a fungus in his lungs while in Central America months earlier. He was literally on life's edge when his parents brought him to urgent care. On another occasion a pediatrician seeing a patient in the exam room next to my child called an ambulance for a patient he diagnosed with meningitis - there was no hesitation or request for the parent to transport to a hospital. In that situation, today, the destination hospital would be determined by OHSU's emergency system - he would not necessarily go to a Kaiser Hospital.

There is no 'perfect' health care system.

Another Kaiser story: My OB had a mother who delivered quintuplets in the early 70s. His wife helped the new mother care for the babies. The families bonded so strongly they invited the then elderly OB to live with them after his wife died. They had lots of room in their house as the quints had grown.
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Old 10-31-2014, 12:32 PM   #27
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Anecdotal, but a year or so ago my heart decided it would go into hummingbird mode - not much blood gets pumped by a human heart cranked up to vibrate speed. Several ambulance rides and a defibrillator installation later I was released. That happened while we were in SoCal, out of area for the Kaiser group in Oregon we are members of. The two Kaiser groups sent bills back and forth. we got a few bills,; by the time all was said and done we paid a piddling amount. Much better than the ~$160k numbers the bills added up to....
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Old 10-31-2014, 12:34 PM   #28
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I don't have an issue with Kaiser care, as they are excellent in the SF Bay Area. My concerns are finding an allergist as good as mine as well as coverage during travel, esp. international. I do have some research to do. if there are good alternatives to travel coverage, DH could also go on Kaiser under their Medicare Advantage program. We like the idea of the both of us in the same network.
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Old 10-31-2014, 06:13 PM   #29
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Good to have information for what you do when you are out of town.
One thing I didn't like about KP is that specialists Virginia are only at certain locations. And that doesn't seem to be my hometown. I was disgruntled that I had to travel on the Beltway to see an ear specialist-even though I finally got to Eden Center for lunch. I would not want to make that trip if I were sickly.
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Old 10-31-2014, 07:26 PM   #30
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To me Kaiser is the source of much of the evil in healthcare. The Kaisers started the organization as a way to bring inexpensive health care to their employees. The HMO was born. Before HMO's, there was personal health care from your private physician with referrals to specialists s/he knew and trusted. HMO's destroyed that.

I grew up in the Bay Area. 50 years ago, Kaiser was a disaster. A lot of people I went to school with in the Berkeley area had it through employers, including UC. Every encounter with Kaiser with people I knew then was a disaster. They mis-diagnosed Hodgkin's disease as mononucleosis in one friend. The cancer advanced a stage while they treated it incorrectly for several months. I went there several times with various friends. Even in the 60's the Oakland facility was filthy and poorly maintained - dirty floors, stained carpet, missing light bulbs, filthy restrooms and the like. Dehydrated after vomiting for two days straight? Here, vomit in this bowl in the waiting room and maybe in a few hours someone can see you.

Fast forward 25 years to around 1990. Someone I worked with had a very high risk pregnancy and was supposed to be admitted at the start of labor for monitoring and a possible C-section. Instead, she was ordered home to wait until her contractions were closer by a nurse that did not read the chart. The baby was dead when she returned.

I could go on, but why? Kaiser has always been considered the private equivalent of the County Hospital by most people I know.

Today, it's supposed to be different. I'm not convinced. It's the culture of the organization and it's in the DNA. It reminds me of GM. Things may have changed, but I'm still not going to buy a GM product. The resale values tell the real story. I will never join Kaiser for the same reason.
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Old 10-31-2014, 09:58 PM   #31
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Actually 65 years ago I was a Kaiser insured in Portland Metro. I grew up healthy, delivered two healthy kids. No problems at all. Sorry your experience was unfortunate.
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Old 11-01-2014, 12:05 AM   #32
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DH & I have been with Kaiser in the SF Bay area for about four years now and we've been very pleased with the care and the service we've received. The facilities I have been in have been clean and well-equipped, and the physicians and staff I have encountered have been very professional. This is my own personal experience.

Kaiser may have sucked 25-50 years ago but imho it does not now.
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Old 11-01-2014, 04:35 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Another Reader View Post
To me Kaiser is the source of much of the evil in healthcare. The Kaisers started the organization as a way to bring inexpensive health care to their employees. The HMO was born. Before HMO's, there was personal health care from your private physician with referrals to specialists s/he knew and trusted. HMO's destroyed that.

.....
I happen to remember the Kaiser shipyards [yes, I am old enough], and my uncle was a Physician & Surgeon in private practice on the west coast. My parents and uncle were talking about the Kaiser health program one day. What I learned is that many/most of the shipyard workers were Blacks who came from the south and that they had difficulty finding medical care. The Kaiser program was instituted to address that need which may be why white folks thought is was for poor Blacks. Because many community facilities were not anxious to serve that population Kaiser had to quickly build them. The American Medical Association threatened to not enroll their physicians as it was the first step to 'socialized medicine'.

History lesson over.
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Old 11-01-2014, 04:44 PM   #34
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Here's one more reason to consider Kaiser (which DH and I have been using almost since the day we both were born, including the birth of our own children many years later) . . .

We just received our 2015 California Kaiser Bronze 60 HMO renewals, DH's premium dropped .8% (age 60) and mine rose 1.8% (age 52). Net, given his premium is higher than mine, is a 2015 rate increase of just $1.00.
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Old 11-01-2014, 06:06 PM   #35
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The shipyards did bring a lot of blacks to the area during WWII. The Kaiser I remember from the 1960's had a mix of patients, but mostly white. The Kaisers had a good idea, but it turned into a monster, thanks to the law of unintended consequences.

As far as premiums are concerned, you get what you pay for.
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Old 11-01-2014, 06:42 PM   #36
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As far as premiums are concerned, you get what you pay for.
Hey, by all means feel free to pay whatever premium you might wish. We, on the other hand, will continue to appreciate Kaiser's ability to contain costs, and enjoy the ER funds it frees up to do much more enjoyable things.
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Old 11-01-2014, 08:47 PM   #37
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Hey, by all means feel free to pay whatever premium you might wish. We, on the other hand, will continue to appreciate Kaiser's ability to contain costs, and enjoy the ER funds it frees up to do much more enjoyable things.

When I came to the Bay Area over 30 yrs ago I remember the Kaiser was talked about negatively. Now however its a different story. I have doctor friends that recommend it. Also, I'm told they get some of the best doctors because those docs want to do medicine not paperwork.


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Old 11-02-2014, 08:44 AM   #38
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When I came to the Bay Area over 30 yrs ago I remember the Kaiser was talked about negatively. Now however its a different story. I have doctor friends that recommend it. Also, I'm told they get some of the best doctors because those docs want to do medicine not paperwork.


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Our pediatrician loves working for Kaiser - I've talked to her extensively about this. She specializes in pediatric NICU cases and has published papers in this field. Kaiser lets her do 1/2 her hours in the NICU, and 1/2 her hours as a clinical ped. This is ideal for her. She gets to work in her area of passion but still gets regular hours (40/week). Because the way they structure the peds clinics as modules - if she is stuck in an emergency, or is sick, the other doctors in her module cover her.

She might make a bit less than if she had her own practice - but she makes enough to drive a fancy car and do adventure travel a few times a year. She says working for Kaiser gives her a great work/life balance. She lives in our neighborhood, so I see her in the 'hood fairly frequently...
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