Founded in 1945 and headquartered in Oakland, California, Kaiser Permanente is the biggest of the non-profit managed healthcare insurance providers in the nation. They offer a generous array of programs and services in nine states as well as the District of Columbia.
The company employs almost 150,000 and their network envelops nearly 13,000 physicians, 37 medical centers, as well as 400 doctor’s offices, which serve Kaiser Permanente’s nearly 9-million subscribers. In 2006, the company saw revenue of over $31-billion, which means they have the financial strength to back up their subscribers in any time of need.
Kaiser Permanente prides itself on catering to the needs of the members first rather than those of the shareholders. This plan is well known for its strong, social purpose and the lasting sense of cooperation that exists between the Health Plan and its medical groups. The physicians in the hospitals take responsibility for providing the clinical care the members need.
The mission of Kaiser Permanente is to improve the health of its members by providing them with an affordable, high quality, integrated healthcare program. Through an integrated system of delivering healthcare, it provides for all of the healthcare needs of its members, including preventative care, immunizations, emergency care, prescription drugs, and many others. In this way, every member’s needs can be met through this plan.
In addition to providing for the healthcare of its members, Kaiser Permanente performs many community activities. These include providing assistance to those people who may be uninsured and in need of medical attention. It is also involved in training new health professionals and in bringing new methods of delivery healthcare to the profession and is always trying to develop and share new and better ways of caring for its policyholders.
HUGE Barriers to Seeking Treatment
Kaiser is great. They offer comprehensive care in a convenient one-stop-shopping experience. Despite this, their mental healthcare needs to improve drastically to meet the standards they've set in other arenas. As a mental health patient, I feel like a second class citizen. For example:
1) Limited Locations: There is a Kaiser walking distance from my employer, but this location doesn't offer mental healthcare. Instead, I need to go to one of 3 extremely inconvenient locations to see my doc. By bus, the closest one take 1.5 hours with a 10 minute walk (no sidewalks, during the winter it's a bitch).
2) Inconvenient Appointments:My old psychiatrist had Saturday hours a few times per month, extended workday hours, etc. not at Kaiser: M-F until 4:30 only. And setting an appointment takes months. Additionally, I can make an appt with my phone for everything except mental health. It might seem petty, but for people who already face stigma and barriers to seeking treatment, it needs to be as convenient as possible. Why can't I make an appointment on my phone app? When I need to make an appt, I have to call during the workday (and risk coworkers overhearing my call) to schedule an appointment. Half the time, I forget as a result!
I really think Kaiser needs to step up their game. They had to pay California $4M for issues relating to providing adequate mental health. Clearly, whoever is at the top is not setting this as a priority for the organization.
Great For Me
I have been to with Kaiser as long as I could be. I have tried other places and Kaiser works best for me. Yes they line you up and you have a number but it's a lot better than some other place where they look up your name and can't find you. I have never had an issue with the number. If you want personalized private care pay for it. Kaiser caters to a large number of people. The pharmacy is great. As much of a hassle as it is it's a one time thing online, over the phone or in person. I have my pills delivered every month. Just ask and they will send them to you no extra cost. Kaiser prescribes generic brands when possible to reduce the cost to you. These are not cheap less effective pills they are generic to the name brand and cost you little to nothing. If you want name brand ask and they will order it for you no problem. The doctors, if you don't like your doctor change them. Kaiser understands and will swap the doctor for any reason given. Yes most doctors will ignore your online research, that will happen everywhere because they are the doctor and they studied and passed all the exams on how to take care of various issues. Use online help as a guide ask about things but don't expect your doctor to use your research to cure you.
Kaiser Prescrption Services
For years my wife and I have enjoyed the Kaiser Health system which is a well run system. We have always thought of the prescription system as one of the best for ease of use and reordering.
In the last six months this prescription system has somehow gone south. At first I thought that the computer system was being reworked and so it should not take long for it to working great again. However, we are seeing worse and worse conditions. Pharmacy lines are long, long waits, and all the people in the lines are complaining.
In the last three prescriptions, I could not get through to reorder my prescription by phone and or on line. Thus, I have had to bother the doctor by email to please reorder my prescription. This seems to me as a waste of his time and also a big waste of my time.
Two major surgeries, slew of other health issues, never had a problem.
Highly rated by me.
I have switched from Kaiser to another health provider. Once you start getting sick, this is where the scary part comes. They tried to drop my insurance when I was being tested for breast cancer. They didn\'t do the right tests. I had to go to a private doctor a couple of times to read my films and get other testing. Things have just gotten worse and the doctors are really strange and creepy with their lack of concern or care. I had to pay thousands out-of-pocket for surgery that would have left me disabled.
I recently had a baby at the Kaiser Center in Fontana, CA. When I went in for my checkup, I was told I had no water surrounding the baby so they were going to induce me at 36 weeks. After I was admitted to L&D, the doctors checked and found lots of water, but they still induced me anyway. My baby was only 4 pounds. She had to stay in the NICU for 3 weeks. Most of the nurses were wonderful, but one nurse asked me questions that was out of line! Because my baby had very light skin, she asked what my baby\'s race was.
Frustrated With Lack of Good Service
Everytime I deal with Kaiser I get no where! All I get is very upset and frustrated! I would NEVER recommend to anyone... especially if they have major problems like I do. I\'ve been taking thyroid medicine for years not. They can\'t get it level, so they finally referred me to a specials because I\'ve been seeing a LNP since my doctor was about an hour and a half away. I had no refills on my medicine and I\'ve been waiting a week to get the medicine. They sent it over to a pharmacy that was an hour away. So they told me I\'d just have to go to my pharmacy and wait on it to be refilled. Pharmacy hours: 9-5. I work during those hours.
I can count at least three instances of Kaiser incompetence that led to the death of family members. From nurses who misjudge and mix up Rx to Kaiser removing somebody from one of the top Cardiac units in the US to their shabby hospital up in Portland (where the patient got even sicker)... I have nothing good to say about Kaiser. When I was covered with them, I had to explain to a nurse as well as a nurse practitioner what a BOOSTER SHOT was!
Unwilling To See Alternatives
I had researched treatments before going to see my doctor the second time for two separate issues. I did my research with the Mayo Clinics website, so I knew what I was talking about. I told my doctor, on two different associations, about the alternative treatments I had researched. She said that they don't use that treatment for this. She made similar comments on two different visits.
Kaiser gives you a specific time to get there for an appointment,and then they keep you waiting long time after your appointment hour. They over-book on all clinics.