How to Choose a Kaiser Doctor

Questions & Responses:
Kaiser Oakland pediatrician for new baby(8 responses)
Seeking Kaiser Doc and Naturopath Referrals(1 response)
Fat Friendly Kaiser Doc & Switching Kaiser Docs(3 responses)
Kaiser Doctors- help!(4 responses)
Archived Responses: 


How to get in to a provider whose panel is closed?

Feb 2010

I have read a lot of great recommendations for Kaiser primary care providers in Oakland and Richmond. Unfortunately none of these providers have open panels. Does anyone know any tricks to get into a provider whose panel is closed. For our pediatrician, we were lucky enough to have a friend who recommended her and she sent an email to ask if we could make an appointment. Some providers I know aren't officially taking new patients but do still have openings. Does anyone know how to get around this? Stumped

The only advice I can give you is to keep calling the phone # for Personal Physician Selection of your Kaiser facility. I go to Richmond Kaiser and the person I talked to there in recommended that. I did this last year and it worked (this MD was recommended to me by my OB-GYN). Actually,the first time I called, the PCP had no openings.But, the person I talked to in the Personal Physician Selection dept. called me back the next day to tell me the PCP had an opening. Can you believe that!

Even though some MDs have closed their panel, patients drop out all the time. So, if you are lucky, when you call you may hit it just right. Also, if you have a specialist you see, you may ask them to put in a good word for you, but this probably will still not guarantee you will get in. Good luck! 24 yr. Kaiser member

I was confused by this process as well. Once I found a MD I was interested in, I phoned whatever phone number given to chose a doctor. I asked the person if they could send a message to that particular doctor to see if they would be willing to take me onto their panel. That was all it took, I got who I wanted and all went well. It is a strange system for sure and rather confusing as well. Many doctors listed on the internet as having open panels are actually full. Don't give up! anon


How to change to a different doctor

Feb 2008

I would like to change my medical doctor at Kaiser (Oakland). I have gathered some recommendations from this blog and from my OB/GYN nurse practitioner but none of these are on the ''choose your doctor site. Is there any other way to get a new doctor besides this online list? Is it possible to call a doctor directly or someone not in an anonymous call center? Thanks

I think you can ask for anyone you want when you call the call center to make your appointment, even though they default to booking you with your assigned GP. The website only lists doctors who have space in their ''practice'', but I'm pretty sure that doesn't mean you can only see those doctors. I used to have a GP that I really didn't like and if I recall correctly I just asked the call center staff to book me with someone else. I eventually made my GP switch official. Good luck! Oakland Kaiser patient

How to decide on a doctor from the website?

Jan 2006

I've been a Kaiser patient for decades but never had a personal physician, simply seeing many different docs on an ad hoc basis. Now I'm turning 50, my medical needs are increasing and not having a doctor is becoming a liability. I need to select a doctor from the ones currently available (from the Oakland Kaiser website). Aside from the personal statements the only other info is where they went to med school & did their residency & whether they are board certified. What I'd like advice on is this: How important are these considerations: which med school gave them their degree & whether they are board-certified in internal medicine? I'd appreciate advice from any knowledgeable people about this, and any other tips on selecting a doctor. Thanks. Monica

I've been a Kaiser patient for a long time also and have had 3 different primary practitioners along the way. One of them I finally left because the communication just wasn't working well enough for me, another went on to become an administrator, and another left Kaiser. I've had a GYN for about 10 years who I love, and I had a psychiatrist who was great for 6 years until he left Kaiser and I am now working with another psych doc recommended by him who I like so far.

I am the sort of patient who is assertive, actively involved in whatever my issues are (I do research and organize myself well before appointments), and consider my doctors as collaborators in my health care- so I'm picky. What I've done is to make appointments to meet different doctors until I found one I really liked. I've asked nurses and personal friends for recommendations as to who to check out. This is a time consuming process, but it's worth it to me. I'm in my 50's also and have several ongoing medical issues, and I want doctors who know my history. Where they went to med school is not as important to me as how smart they are, and most of all how well we can communicate. I take into consideration their experience also.

I'm willing to travel to any facility within reasonable distance (I live in N. Berkeley) for a doctor I like. My former prim practs have been in Richmond and Oakland, my current one and my ENT surgeon are in San Rafael, I followed my GYN from Richmond to Petaluma, my allergist is in Richmond, my former psych was in SF and my current one is in Union City. I don't happen to like Oakland- I find it rushed, the staff can be unfriendly, I hate the fumey parking garage, and I find it time-consuming to get there thru city traffic. All the other facilities I've mentioned (except SF) are easy and pleasant drives for me and I like the facilities and staff. Except for my former psych doc who was recommended by a psychiatrist outside Kaiser and my current one who was recommended by my first, I've found all the others by trying out different available docs.

This is the process that's worked for me. anon

In my experience, when you are looking at the page where it shows where they went to school, etc. there is a link to their personal home page which gives a lot more insight into their interests and manner. You can usually get a pretty good idea of the kind of person you're dealing with. I always appreciate knowing their hobbies, etc. It's kind of nice and helps to narrow down the selection process. Although, with Kaiser, trial and error is good too! Good Luck Sarah

How to choose a doctor at Kaiser

Feb 2006

Re: Kaiser Pleasanton Pediatricians
About the Kaiser choose your own primary care doctors--Internal medicine, pediatrics and OB-GYN. You can either do it over the web (see below) or when you are first seen in clinic. There is also a physician selection 800 number (which I don't know off hand). You cannot choose a physician when you call the call center for an appointment (for a number of arcane computer system reasons). I think the easiest way is to choose over the internet. Just Google the Kaiser Permanente site. On the home page, click on the ''members'' icon on the left (0nce you've chosen the northern california region). Once you get to the members page, you'll see ''A vital step: Choose your own physician'' on the left. After that, the program is self-explanatory. You can see which pediatricians at Pleasanton have open practices and you can check out each open panel pediatrician's home page so you can learn more about him/her. The site allows you to choose a pediatrician (or other primary care doctor). You can also link to all sorts of pediatric health information from the physician's home pages. I'm not sure, but I think the first time you get on the site, you might also be asked to choose a password. The Kaiser Permanente web site has a lot of interesting information--when you have a chance, you should check it out further.

One other thing...if you choose a doctor, and decide after meeting that person, you don't feel comfortable with him, it's okay to change again. You're not locked in. I have a closed practice, otherwise I'd offer to take you.

Good luck with your decision and welcome to Kaiser! madelyn