Kaiser Permanente has given the most frustrating and disappointing service I’ve ever received. And that includes phone and cable companies.
I’m a single male, 38-40 years old, with past medical history of diverticulitis, but otherwise no issues. I’m not one of those people who run to the doctor because I have the sniffles or a stomach ache. I don’t go see the doctor because I bumped my elbow and it still hurts after a day. I DO go to the doctor when there’s something wrong. Something that won’t take care of itself or that can be treated with OTC medications. In order words, I’m pretty much exactly what the medical industry loves – someone who pays for services that I don’t use.
Well, I’ve had Kaiser for over 2 years now and the three times I’ve wanted, or had, to contact them, have all been incredibly frustrating, angering and disappointing. So much so that I changed my coverage to a better option that my company offers. Good riddance Kaiser Permanente!
A few of the things that are frustrating is their phone service. When you call because you’re in distress and want to see a doctor, they dump you from one person to another, who each asks for your record number, apparently knowing nothing of what you just told the previous person. For being such a large corporation who has spent so much on software and technology, they apparently still don’t put notes on your record to make it easier for the patient calling in during times of need.
Once you do finally get ‘approved’ to make an appointment (the ‘emergency phone nurse’ has deemed you ‘not an emergency’), the person who makes the appointment doesn’t listen or care what your issue is – they either give you a date and time (sometimes weeks in the future) or they tell you to go to Urgent Care. But, good luck trying to find out how long the wait at Urgent Care is! They will transfer you from one person to another (again) saying “Urgent Care isn’t picking up” or “I can give you the number to the operator and you can try them.” Basically, they don’t care and they just want you off of THEIR call.
Two years ago when I was afraid I had broken my finger because the swelling and pain hadn’t gone down after several days, I couldn’t get an appointment to see my primary care doctor for almost a month. Instead, they kept urging me to go to Urgent Care.
Last year when I had a flare-up of the diverticulitis, I did go to Urgent Care and was treated in a reasonable amount of time – thankfully it was 3am on a Tuesday morning and there was hardly anyone else waiting. But getting out became one of the worst healthcare experiences I’ve ever had with any medical issue. I was in terrible abdominal discomfort and pain and they sent me to their famous pharmacy – where there was a 3.5 hour wait for my prescription – which they did NOT call ahead for to save me time or frustration. Another example of poor planning and lack of patient care or concern. Seriously – how hard is it for a nurse to send over a request for a prescription so it can be waiting (or at least take less time) by the time you get there? Every other non-Kaiser doctor I’ve had in the past 10 years calls ahead or submits the request to RiteAid for me. Yet Kaiser can’t do it to their OWN pharmacy?
Honestly, I picked Kaiser Permanente for two reasons: they’re huge and have been around for many years; they were the most expensive option on my list of available providers. Yes, as a single person it’s fair “inexpensive” to get healthcare coverage and the price difference was minimal, so I thought ‘the most expensive must be the best’ – I was wrong.
If you want fast-food-style customer service in your health services, go Kaiser. If you want to see YOUR doctor when you need to see him/her and don’t want to just be a “medical record number”, go with ANYONE ELSE. I’m so happy to be done with Kaiser and I’m looking forward to telling anyone that will listen to avoid Kaiser Permanente if at all possible.
Here are just a few more websites that support my claims of sub-par healthcare: