Comparisons of Bay Area Kaisers

Parent Q&A

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  • Kaiser male doctor - Oakland/Alameda

    (1 reply)

    My husband is ready to find a male doctor to get his health on track. Any recommendations for Oakland or alameda? A doc that doesn’t jump straight to prescriptions? 

    My husband sees Alexander Oparin, MD at Kaiser Oakland. He's not very warm/fuzzy, with a very straightforward and businesslike bedside manner, but he is responsive and kind and thorough. I think the care he receives is excellent overall. 

  • Kaiser Oakland vs Richmond

    (7 replies)

    Hi all, 
    We are newly enrolled into Kaiser and trying to decide between Kaiser Oakland and Richmond facilities. We are equidistant from both, in Berkeley. Our primary requirement is a good paediatrician (for 2 yr old & 6 yr old), and I see several recommendations for both centres. So are there any overall process/feature differences that make one centre better than the other? 

    I find both facilities to be stressful and overwhelming for routine care, especially with two young kids.  I would consider heading out a bit past Richmond to go to Kaiser Pinole.  Since it's not part of a hospital it's small, friendly and with easy peasy parking.  Whenever I go to Kaiser Oakland I have to build in an extra 20 minutes just for parking and finding my way through the huge maze of buildings/offices so it might not add too much time to your overall journey.  Also, an amazing pediatrician is located there, Dr. Elizabeth Bassett.

    I actually love Kaiser Oakland for pediatrics, though I agree with the other responder on the mazelike aspects for adult care there (which is still scattered across several buildings). But pediatrics is all in one building, except for speciality care, which is right across the street, so it feels very streamlined. We have been incredibly impressed with every pediatrician we've seen over the years for our 4- and 7-year-olds. Parking is a beast, to be sure, but I have learned to just pay for the garage. No experience with either Richmond or Pinole, so I can't compare, but my understanding is that much of the specialist care is in Oakland, so if you do need something beyond the basics, you will get referred to Oakland anyway. We have twice had situations where, at a routine visit, our doctor flagged something as an immediate concern and referred our child, once to a specialist and once to the ER. In the second situation, the doctor called the hospital (just across the street from pediatrics) with all of the information and we just took the elevator down, crossed the street, and were there. So there can be some pluses to being associated with a hospital.

    I second the recommendation for Kaiser Pinole pediatrics. Small and easy, and our pediatrician (Dr. Cherilyn Brunetti) is wonderful. If you need specialists, they can put in a referral and you can deal with the larger hospitals in Oakland and Richmond. Good luck!


    We also live in a Berkeley and my family is insured with Kaiser. I am 4 months PP and was seen at at the Oakland facilities for prenatal check ups and delivery. I loved the Oakland hospital but was not fond of the Oakland clinic facilities. Mainly because they are very busy and I found the care not to be as personalized, and also because of the there's different buildings which can make it confusing. So, after a great recommendation for a pediatrician in Richmond, I decided to visit the Richmond facilities for my son's well child appointments. So far, I have loved the personalized care. Everyone is very nice and professional (not always the case in Oakland), very understanding if I happen to be late to an appointment, I like that all departments are in one building, and there's a big parking structure. Our pediatrician is EXCELLENT. The only down side is that the facility is not close to a freeway exit and I have to plan my appointments to avoid peak traffic hours. 

    We love Richmond, and in fact when my daughter brought a friend with her one visit, the friend (who goes to Oakland Kaiser) said she wished she could go there. My daughter is 19 now, but that was only 3 years ago. We've found doctors there who we really like. Her Pediatrician was Dr. Desler (a woman), and I'd highly recommend her. 

    Why is it better? Free parking is a biggie. It's smaller, or more compact, so it's really easy to go from one department to another. And it has everything we have ever needed. 

    We chose Richmond, even though Oakland was closer, because the parking there was so much easier.  It worked out well for us.

    I prefer Richmond, because of the horrid traffic to get to Oakland and the pain of parking. Plus, I just find the front desk staff nicer at Richmond and have had very good experiences with the pediatricians. My own experiences with Oakland pediatric (admittedly over 10 years ago now) were much more negative. 

    You might want to use Google maps or similar app to compare drive times from precisely where you live to each facility at different times of the day. Whether you live in north or south Berkeley, how close the highway, etc. will make a BIG difference in your commute. Given that you have two kids and will presumably have to go to a pediatrician regularly - wellness visits, shots, the usual ear infections, etc. - deal with bad traffic really adds up.

  • Hello Bay Area Families,

    Our family is moving to Kaiser and I'm looking for some advice.  Thanks in advance for your time.

    Does anyone know of a good doctor who has a naturopathic approach - may use nutritional guidelines to improve health rather than medicine.

    Does anyone know of a good doctor for people who have Type I diabetes - both GP and an Endocrinologist.

    Who is your favorite Pediatrician?   We prefer female for two girls.

    Your favorite OB?  Particularly for menopause.

    Do people have opinions on the Oakland vs San Leandro facilities?   How do they compare.

    Thank you!

    For pediatrician, I love Dr. Roxanna Martinez Allen at Kaiser San Leandro. She's knowledgeable, personable, and just overall great with my little ones. I also really prefer the San Leandro facilities for convenience (free/easy parking) and good quality care. 

    Hi, I can answer some of your questions.  I have used both Oakland and San Leandro Kaiser so can compare them:  I find parking a hassle at Oakland and at San Leandro there's a great, large parking lot that is easy and safe: well lit, free, and open and it has exercise stations along the way if you're so inclined as you walk to the hospital from your parking spot. 

    The San Leandro hospital is brand new, beautifully designed, and I've had good care in each of the departments I've been in (ER, GP, pharmacy, OB/GYN). I prefer San Leandro Kaiser and just wish it had everything I need there! (Had to do physical therapy, urgent care, allergy elsewhere). 

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Kaiser Walnut Creek or Richmond?

Jan 2008

I'm seeking general advice about switching to Kaiser Walnut Creek or Richmond. I've had a number of extremely frustrating experiences with Kaiser Oakland, in several different departments (Prenatal, Neurology, Podiatry), that generally relate to administrative incompetence and ineptitude. Today's incident drives me to ask whether anybody had made such a switch from Oakland to Walnut Creek or Richmond, and whether they've found administrative competence to be any better there. I have no problem with the doctors in Oakland, but their good work is constantly undermined by lost appointments, incorrectly booked appointments, misplaced paperwork, unreturned phone calls, and other annoyances that are costing me hours of unremunerated time. A recent visit to Kaiser Sacramento was very eye opening (friendly! clean! competent!) and I'm wondering if I might find the same level of service closer to home at Richmond or Walnut Creek. Patient With No More Patience

A number of years ago I got fed up with Kaiser Oakland too and started looking around at other campuses. I went to Richmond for awhile and like its small town feel, found a great GYN, but couldn't find a primary there I was happy with.

What I've ended up doing is choosing doctors I like at different local facilities- I have a couple of doctors in San Rafael, I followed my GYN from Richmond to Petaluma, I have one doctor in SF, and one at Oakland (who is threatening to leave Kaiser because they overbook her so severely). I fill my prescriptions and do my lab work at Richmond, which is the quickest for me to get to.

I like it this way and find no disadvantages at all over staying with just one facility, but if I were to choose my favorite facility it would be San Rafael- friendliest people, easiest system to deal with, excellent doctors, pleasant environment. It's a very easy drive for me from N. Berkeley, and a much nicer drive than into Oakland. anon

Richmond Kaiser versus Oakland Kaiser ?

Feb 2007

I am just wondering if I should switch my GP to Kaiser Richmond instead of Oakland. Currently I don't have a very good GP in Oakland but I would like to keep my other Doctors. What are actually the pros and cons between Richmond and Oakland Kaiser ? It seems to be less busy in Richmond and it's closer to my home. I went to Oakland because my husband thinks it's better because it has more resources. Since I am not happy with my GP right now I am thinking to switch just my GP to Richmond. Also, can somebody recommend a good GP in Richmond ? I like to have somebody who doesn't rush me and actually listens instead of telling me after 5 minutes it's all in your head. My current Doctor also hates to give out referals and it would be nice to have a Doctor who is more willing to give a referal. anon

Kaiser Richmond is smaller and WAY LESS CROWDED than Oakland. Parking is free. I have never had to wait more than maybe 10 minutes or so...even in emergency. If you need treatment that they don't have there they will send you to Oakland, San Raphael, Vallejo, etc. We've been going there for over 16 years (since I became pregnant with my 16 yo. They have a great women's health unit, breast care unit, ob dept. with some of the greatest, kindest MD's and NP's. As far as their general medical dept. I have looked/asked around for a more wholistic minded MD...the ones that are recommended usually are not taking new patients. I see a NP, Marianna Philippek. She's somewhat wholistic minded, will listen to me, return my calls, give me whatever tests I ask for and discuss things with me....still she leans more toward western med. than I like but it's Kaiser....!!! Like any Kaiser you have to learn how to ''work the system'' sometimes to get what you want. The pediatrics dept. is FABULOUS. I have an eye condition that requires twice a year check ups. I go to Oakland for this because I like the opthalmologists there better than Richmond. Otherwise I think Richmond Kaiser is really good. anon

I had most of my childhood doctor care at Richmond Kaiser and I've had my past few years of care mostly at Oakland. Richmond Kaiser is nicer and less busy than Oakland. The only drawback I found was the sketchy neighborhood you drive through to get there. You can always go to Oakland if you need something they specialize in even if you get your primary care at Richmond.

I really like going to Richmond K. It's way less busy than Oakland. The pediatricians are great and it's relatively easy to get an appt., even same-day. I like my primary MD (Dr. Edson). The one time I went to Oakland's ER it was a zoo, with guerneys in the hall, etc. (I realize it was just one time...). Richmond ER usually is not so busy. Plus, it's less than 10 minutes from my home - main reason I go there. My wife recenly switched from O to R also. Michael

Walnut Creek vs. Oakland - Pedi and Ob/Gyn

November 2001

Does anyone have advice about pediatricians and gynecologists at Kaiser Walnut Creek? Does anyone have advice about whether Kaiser Walnut Creek is better than Kaiser Oakland? Are waiting times different? Sarah

Hi! I just want to say that I think Kaiser Oakland is terrific! My first son (who is 6) was born at the hospital there and I had a good experience. We have a terrific pediatrician there named Dr. Swati Mukerji. She is a senior member of the staff there and my boys like her alot. I used to work in Walnut Creek and had some limited experience with going there. It is a very nice facility, but I would not recommend it over Oakland... especially if you live in the East bay area. I think you will find that the staff at Kaiser Oakland is just great and you will have a good experience there. Linda

I do not have experience with Kaiser Oakland, but I have had a great experience with Kaiser Walnut Creek in Pediatrics (Dr. Hassler is great) and OBGYN (Lanka, Tucker and Probst are all great female MD's). The women's health clinic has some fabulous MD's and specialists. I used their health ed classes during my pregnancy and learned about the other unknowns Kaiser offers, like nurse midwives, lactation consultants and fabulous maternity ward nurses. In Pediatrics, I have never been given stall tactics and been seen quickly for unscheduled appointments by on-call Pediatricians (sick baby). I've heard the WC facility and patient care is better than Oakland. Like any healthcare provider, you have to be assertive in your requests for treatment or specialist referrals and learn to work the system. Allow at least 2 weeks to get in for non urgent appointments. They also have a good website that allows you to request appointments from primary care MD's. NancyD

I have gone to Kaiser Oakland for urgent care with my kids. The doctors and staff also seemed great, although it doesn't seem as warm to me as Walnut Creek.

I live in El Cerrito and have gone to Kaiser Richmond, Oakland, and Walnut Creek. I didn't like the Richmond ob/gyn clinic (but love the pediatric clinic). I found the Oakland clinic was OK, but overwhelming (didn't like the parking, etc.) I started going to Walnut Creek when I was pregnant because I heard they had a progressive maternity ward. I delivered two children there and had surgery there. The wait is good, and the staff is polite. I see Dr. Tucker. She is friendly and smart and answers all my questions in a respectful manner. She did my surgery taking a conservative approach that turned out to be warranted. Also, I saw on Frontline a couple months ago that Kaiser was rated top notch as far as speedy diagnosis and outcome and felt much better about it. It is nonprofit and I've never felt shortchanged. gerry