• Report: #172012

Complaint Review: Kaiser Permanente

  • Submitted: Mon, January 16, 2006
  • Updated: Fri, July 31, 2009

  • Reported By:Sandy Oregon
Kaiser Permanente
19500 S.E. Stark Street Gresham, Oregon U.S.A.

Kaiser Permanente, Kaiser, KP Buying or Signing Up for Health Insurance? Read First for Terrible Customer Service Info RIPOFF Gresham Oregon

*Consumer Comment: wealth of information

*UPDATE Employee: A note to help

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First, I am a "member" of Kaiser Permanente, and pay over $300 per month for my insurance, plus more for my family. All told, I spend close to $900 a month for insurance, plus co-pays, etc. So, one might assume that a customer such as myself would be treated well, or at least as well as the average person who has Kaiser for their health insurance provider. If I am treated as well as the average member, let this be of warning to you if you are considering signing up through work with Kaiser, or if you are going to buy the insurance outright.

I have had numerous difficulties, but I will only relate those that have occured since Wed., November 23rd, 2005.

On the 23rd of November, I called Kaiser to set up an appointment with my primary care "physician" (most are actually nurses). I was told he wasn't taking appointments at this time. That did not sound correct, so I called his office directly (a no-no per Kaiser policy, but he gave me the number in the past if I had to reach him). There I was told that he is no longer seeing patients. He quit. I asked why I wasn't notified. I was told "he specifically requested that all his patients NOT be notified of his status.".

Apparently, primary care physicians, who are advertised by Kaiser of having such strong relationships with their patients can decide to take other positions within the Kaiser community but order that their patients not be informed first. It makes a difference for me as I have seen him and him alone for the last 4 or so years. I have a couple ongoing medical problems that I would have liked to address first, and would have appreciated a recommendation from him as to who I should now consider seeing as my new PCP. Alas, it is not to be. I have repeatedly called Kaiser, and know where he works, but cannot get any message to him.

This isn't good service, but it is just the beginning.

With Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Years, I did not make it back to Kaiser until January. I have a couple prescriptions that I pick up from the Kaiser pharmacy on a monthly basis. I called them in on December 22nd, to be ready to pick up on January 3rd. When I arrived, None of the prescriptions were ready. I had to wait for 30 minutes while they were put into bottles.

When ready, I realized that they had forgotten to fill 1 of the 3 prescriptions. My choice was to wait for another 30 minutes or pick up tomorrow. I own a business and was already about 20 minutes late to get to it and open it. I said I haven't the time to wait, please have ready this time and I'll be in at the same time tomorrow. After leaving the pharmacy, I went to "member services" in person to make an appointment with a new PCP. They found me one for the following morning.

January 4th I returned. First, I went to the PCP appointment. After waiting for about 20 minutes, I was taken in and had blood pressure and temp. checked. I was told my new PCP would be with me in a moment. 30 minutes later with no sign of the PCP or nurse or anyone checking in with me, I went to get dressed and go out of the cubicle.

As I was just opening the door, a nurse came in and said something like: "Sorry for the wait. Ms. ... is not taking new patients. They should have never made an appointment for you to see her in the first place. " Well, I went back to the "member services" area to get my co-pay returned. Then, I went to the pharmacy to pick up the prescription from yesterday. After waiting in line for 20 minutes, I waited another 10 minutes as they looked for the prescription.

Finally, the clerk came back and said there is no record of the prescription ever being written by my doctor. I said I know it is here, because I saw the actual paper yesterday morning, signed by a doctor. To no avail. I left to drive 1/2 an hour back towards where I came from to get my business open, again, about 15 minutes late.

That evening I called the pharmacy when I had time, and was told by a pharmacist that the paperwork was there, and had been there all the time. She said, the clerks are not the sharpest people in the building, and next time find a pharmacist to find the paperwork. Well, this morning, I had asked a pharmacist, but he had echoed the clerk's response. At least I knew it was there. So, my 3rd trip was made the following day, before work (20 miles from my business to Kaiser, btw). Of course, the prescription still wasn't filled, even though the woman I had spoken to the previous night said it would. The same clerk was working.

I reminded her of what had happened the day before, and complained, albeit nicely, about my time being wasted again today. No sympathy, no apology, just a curt "we are very busy here".

This is just the tip of the iceburg in dealing with Kaiser. I figured there would be an "ombudsman", a person who is employed by Kaiser to mediate problems that occur between the giant health care corporation and those who are clients of Kaiser. There is no such person that I can find, and I have called and written letters.

I have called the supposed "head person" of Kaiser Rockwood. I have yet to have a call returned. I will write a letter to the chief pharmacist, but I just don't have a lot of good time to throw after bad. When I joined Kaiser, I did not care that much about the insurance, because I was healthy. Now, for the last 3+ years I have had a bad back. Now I cannot get another insurance company to take me on, regardless of what I pay each month for health insurance.

SO BEWARE. Realize this type of "customer service" is pandemic with Kaiser. There have been AT LEAST 5 different times where I have made the trip to the office to be seen for an appointment, only to be told that my PCP is not in today. I got to the point where I called first, to make sure he was in. Even then, I was told, "yes, he is.", only to arrive and be told no, he is not in today.

If you wish to be treated like a giant pain in the a*s, then Kaiser would be a great place for you to give your health care money. If you expect to be treated like a paying customer, then Kaiser would be a bad choice for you. As a business owner, I shudder to think of what would have become to my business if I dared treated even a small percentage of my customers as Kaiser had treated me.

There is so much more that I could write here, but this should give you an idea of what they are like. I would love to see a response to this letter from Kaiser. If they do respond, I would be curious to know why they do not have an ombudsman. If they do, why do they keep him or her hidden in the layers of bureaucracy? Lastly, I have been philisophically opposed to national health care, because I am certain the service will be terrible. With Kaiser, I have a real good idea of what the service would be like. Since I spend so much money with Kaiser, and I can't move to another insurance company, I really don't care one way or another anymore whether or not we Govermentalize heath care.

Kevin
Sandy, Oregon
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 01/16/2006 09:27 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Kaiser-Permanente/Gresham-Oregon/Kaiser-Permanente-Kaiser-KP-Buying-or-Signing-Up-for-Health-Insurance-Read-First-for-Te-172012. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Consumer Comment

wealth of information

AUTHOR: Ripped off wife - (U.S.A.)

All anyone needs to do is to google 'kaiser kills' to hear a lot more about Kaiser care than glowing reports about JDPOWER AND ASSOCIATES and other $$ related data bases.

I did find out that one good resource for businesses that you have questions, complaints or problems with is the BBB.

Due to Kaiser's 'care' of my husband's last week of life I've spent the past 9 months traumatized and waist high in legal, law enforcement, probate business after having my husband's body 'given away' to those who had no rights to claim him. By Kaiser's head of ICU who got to use the 'privacy' card to deny me the information about what 'electronic communication' he received allowing him to do so.

It'll all come out in the wash or spin cycle but in the mean time AND I DO MEAN MEAN TIME-I've been where nobody should have to go due to Kaiser's policies and 'deciders'.

And the one who would be the best help in all of this is DEAD.
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#2 UPDATE Employee

A note to help

AUTHOR: Jj - (U.S.A.)

I am sorry about your experience. I have worked for KP for 4 years. I was heard many stories about how bad they were and experienced it once myself. But let me tell you the crap happens in the community too.

One thing about KP is that you need to be able to advocate for yourself if you think your not getting the care you should. We have evidence based, medical team approach to care. Check out the articles in PORTLAND MONTHLY magazine. Non-Kaiser Doctors would go see Kaiser doctors if they needed to see a doctor.

Just to be a KP doctor is not easy. We only pick the best. We only take 1 out of 8 applicants and even after they are "IN" they still have a 3 year path.

I have the "INSIDE" information now that I work there. They are VERY dedicated to their members. They are not about making money... we are a non-profit. It isn't just me that thinks so highly of Kaiser but JD Power Assoc. thinks so too.

Check out TIME Magazine for this week. Even President Obama likes Kaiser and is using our integrated healthcare model as the model for healthcare reform.

I know it is frustrating to wait for an rx. If you don't want to wait... use the mail order pharmacy. It will come right to your door and for maint. medications, for two co-pays you get three months worth of medication. That can equal four free months of medications delivered to your door!

Our docs don't get paid for pushing pills or for seeing so many patients in a day. Satisfaction is key. If you don't complain... we don't know the issues. Call membership services and tell them you want to make a complaint. All the calls are recorded so they can't tell you they won't log your complaint. It goes into a system and has to be reviewed.

If you have KP through your employer and have had no success with trying to get things resolved on your own... go to your HR department and ask their help. They will call the account manager at Kaiser and get things resolved.

I cringe everytime I go to the dr. myself and hear the employees state their opinions about co-workers. It is stupid. If they don't like their jobs they should not work there! As an employee I can assure you that we DO have your best interest at heart. I take pride in my work and I know everyone in my department does. I hate to hear stories like yours. All I can do is urge you to talk to the account manager who services your account. Being that this was posted a few years ago it might be a mute point... but maybe if anyone else reads this it will help them.
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