I had my annual check up yesterday. Believe it or not, I got to see my Doc early. I did the routine with her nurse, my vitals looked good, got my pneumonia shot booster, then I had a nice chat with the Doc.
I've never had a woman doctor until Dr Patrice Ferguson. I couldn't be happier. She is the best doctor I've had in years, at least since old Dan in Boston. He is the guy with the office manager named Rose. Rose kicked ass and took names. Rose got over 3 thousand dollars knocked off my bill when I was hospitalized for 5 days with a minor stroke in 99.
I'm a member of Kaiser Permanente, it's a non-profit. My co-pay for the doctor visit was $10.00. No charge for the booster. She sent me to the lab for a complete set of blood tests. My co-pay, $20.
KP has sophisticated, computerized medical record keeping, when Dr Ferguson sat down in the examining room with me, she had all of my records in front of her, on a computer, at her finger tips. I can log in right now from home and see the same records.
I had my blood test yesterday at 12:30. I ran some errands, when I got home a few hours later there was an email from Kaiser. I logged in and had the results of my blood test, everything except the cholesterol results, I got those last night around 9. No waiting, no calling. Guess what? It's easy to understand too.
I've been a Kaiser member since 2011. I can log in and see the results of every visit, every test. I can pull up a test, let's say for cholesterol, there's a graph I can use to track my levels. I have a health management file too. Later today I'll get a follow up, personal email from Dr. Ferguson.
There are three Kaiser clinics within a 20 minute drive of our house, there's a Kaiser hospital less than 30 minutes away. If I had a problem in Santa Cruz, Fresno or Lake Tahoe I can go to a Kaiser clinic or hospital and get treatment. I can do that anywhere in the 8 states where they operate. If I'm in Boston, I can go to Mass General or any other medical facility, with one phone call Kaiser handles the problem and the billing. I can do that anywhere in the country and Canada. If I travel out of the US, I can get additional coverage from Kaiser for short money for the length of my travel.
Kaiser has pharmacies at every clinic and the Kaiser hospital down the road in Woodland Hills has a 24/7 pharmacy for emergencies.
What does KP cost? $5.00 a month for the Medicare Supplement. Dental and vision add another $20 a month. I'm going to have a corneal transplant in Woodland Hills, my cost $10. The transplant I had in Boston in in 95 cost me $1100 out of pocket. 20% of the total bill. They have plans for as low as $299 a month for younger people.
I have my choice of Doctors in the system. I like Ferguson. One of the reasons I like her is she told me yesterday to quit whining about getting old. She said, "Didn't you take a look around the waiting room? Most of those patients are younger than you are." Then she gave me a pat on the back about keeping my weight down. Then she turned around and kicked my ass for not exercising more and sent me on my way with a smile.
I truly believe this is the way our medical system should work in this country.
I wonder why every insurance plan and doctor/hospital system doesn't operate like Kaiser, oh that's right, how could I forget, KP is a non-profit.
Here's more on Kaiser. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaiser_Permanente