Advice about Kaiser Oakland

Parent Q&A

  • Kaiser Oakland vs. Kaiser Pinole and Doctor recommendations

    (5 replies)

    Hi BPNers,

    My employer just switched to Kaiser and I am new to the system so thought I would reach out to this great community for advise.  We live in Albany- would you recommend the Pinole Kaiser or Oakland Kaiser?  If you have any recommendations for a General Practitioner for me (Mom) and our two boys (8 and 10), I would appreciate any advice you can share.


    Newbie to Kaiser

    If you don't mind paying for parking, traffic, Oakland has it all. But if you want a small, facility, free parking and no traffic, unless it's rush hour, I'd go Pinole. 
    We are in El Cerrito.

    My son's pediatrician is Dr. Leo at Kaiser Pinole and we couldn't be happier!  Dr. Leo is wonderfully attentive and responsive to questions.  In every visit with him we are just so impressed with his kindness and caring manner. 

     I love Kaiser Pinole! I moved from Berkeley to Richmond last year, and use Pinole for my pediatrician. I love how easy it is to park – free large suburban parking lot. Plus, if you have an early morning appointment you are going against traffic.  You can always see somebody in Oakland if there’s a more serious problem that can’t be addressed in the clinic setting. My baby sees Dr. Leo and we love him!  

    I would strongly recommend the Pinole Kaiser over the Oakland Kaiser.  I've used both, and Pinole is just so much less stress and hassle.  Kaiser Oakland is big and spread out, parking is tough, and it is much more of an undertaking.  Kaiser Pinole is small with easy parking and is very mellow because it is so small.  I can recommend my doctor, Dr. Shaw.  She's in Family Medicine so can see you and both kids.  If she's not available I would recommend choosing another family practice doctor, I've found them to be much better than the general practitioners I've used at Kaiser.

    I've been fairly happy with Kaiser through the years (with some caveats related to mental health services). When we moved to El Cerrito (and had a second child) we switched our pediatrician to one at Pinole, Dr. Mahar, and like how much easier it is to GET to Pinole & park, compared to the Mosswood building! However, ironically enough, I am about to head to Mosswood today with one child for a specialist appointment. Oakland is the "mothership" and you will still be there for various things, including urgent care & specialty care. I guess if you have a choice for your regular care, pharmacy, labwork, etc., try for Pinole (and I believe there are some docs there who are "family" meaning they will serve you and the kids), but don't expect to get everything done there all the time.

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  • Seeking Kaiser Doctor -- Oakland or San Leandro?

    (2 replies)

    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!

    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). 

    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. 

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  • Colonoscopy at Kaiser Oakland

    (6 replies)

    I had a colonoscopy 5 years ago with a private doctor and now have to have another one. Except now I have Kaiser for the first time and I'm kind of terrified of having to use whatever doctor they choose to do the procedure. I can live with randomly assigned doctors for most of my health care, but this is almost like surgery. I wish I had some way of interviewing doctors but there but they make that really hard. Almost impossible. 

    Any of you BPN folks have a recommendation for someone at the Oakland Kaiser gastro department who you loved?


    RE: Colonoscopy at Kaiser Oakland ()

    I had  colonoscopy at Kaiser Oakland last year.  the facility and staff are top notch.  I recommend it highly.  You can look on line and see their information a picture etc. 

    RE: Colonoscopy at Kaiser Oakland ()

    I had a colonoscopy done at Kaiser San Rafael. Like you, I didn't know who ahead of time, but the colonoscopy was performed by a specialist from the Gastroenterology department who has done thousands of these, so very very experienced.  That reassured me.

    I don't know if Oakland has the same procedure, but since this has you worried, your primary care provider should take your concerns seriously enough to point you to someone who can give you more information (probably an Advice Nurse or the Gastroenterology Department).

    RE: Colonoscopy at Kaiser Oakland ()

    You story was mine a few years ago.  I had some questions and had some very specific heath questions about the procedure,  diet, life style... things that were unique to me and how I have aged.  I wanted to talk to an expert, someone who was medically trained in the digestive system as in a medical doctor.  Best Kaiser could do was connect me to an advice nurse who just read so generalized BS Kaiser worthless propaganda about the procedure.  After getting now where with the advice nurse I was connected to the an RN who wasn't trained in digestive systems,

    I wanted the procedure so went forward with the appointment.  The day of the procedure I brought in my list of questions to ask the physician.  (Would have taken less than 5 minutes to answer.)  The nurses and staff were wonderful as was the doctor.  I asked if I could ask them a few questions before and I was told there was no time and to contract the doctor the next day to ask my questions and for the results.  I asked if they were busy or behind in there schedule and was told no they actually had a light load and a few cancelations that day.  So it's not like they didn't have time. 

    I've got to tell you once I was on the gurney I felt like I was in line at a drive through restaurant and the count down timer had begun to get me in and out.  They stated the procedure, no pain/discomfort and the next thing I remember is walking up in recovery.

    Again everyone at Kaiser was nice like staying at a five star hotel.  But I was there for a medical procedure and wanted to talk to someone who knew something about the medicine. 

    Next day called the doc.  Could not reach him, left a message.  A nurse/someone called and said the results of my inspection were negative.  Negative what does that mean?  She didn't know nor could she answer my colon questions .  She said she would have the doc call me.

    The doc did call back, and I have to say was terse.  He said I'm looking at the results and they are negative what do you want?  Again I felt like a timer had begun and he only had a few minutes to talk to me before Kaiser would doc his pay or something.  I asked my questions and although he was a doctor he didn't seem to have answers.  It was like he was a technician and not a doctor.

    Things I wanted to know were if some of the things I am experiencing or just part of normal aging or something I might want to be concerned about and pay attentions to.  A couple of questions about food sensitivities, hemorrhoids, etc. They were all questions I would expect a doctor who has specialized in colons and have seen hundreds of patients to know or have an opinion about.  Here I am the patient and customer of Kaiser paying them for healthcare and I can't get answers to simple medial questions from an expert in the filed answered.  I think he wound up referring to my referring physician.  But my referring physician isn't an expert in that area of the body and he didn't know.

    This is where Kaiser is frustrates patients.  I feel like Kaiser treated me like a side of beef and not a patient.  Why they refuse to allow patients to speak to a trained knowledgeable heath care professional is beyond belief.  They are no better than Comcast.

    Best of luckl


    RE: Colonoscopy at Kaiser Oakland ()

    Hi.  Dr. Stephanie Santos is great.  She's on the younger side (to a 50 yr old), but most of my doctors are at this point.  Super responsive, smart, and I've had 2 (maybe 3?) lower and upper procedures with her already and have no reservations about her.

    RE: Colonoscopy at Kaiser Oakland ()

    Dear Jean,

    I've had 3 colonoscopies at Kaiser Oakland with three different doctors, and they have all been fine.  My most recent one was a few weeks ago. The experience as a patient undergoing this procedure at Kaiser is quite impersonal but I still felt very safe and I had no concerns about my medical care.  You are escorted to a curtained off "cubicle" in a row of other patients in similar cubicles.  This is where they have you dress in a gown, they ask you some questions, get your consent and take your vitals.  You are then moved via gurney to the private procedure room where you meet the doctor, and after you are given light sedation you will be comfortable and not really aware of what's going on.  After the procedure, you are wheeled back to another curtained cubicle row of people to recover.  The entire process takes a couple of hours.  Good luck to you.


    RE: Colonoscopy at Kaiser Oakland ()

    I don't have a name to recommend.  But, for what it's worth, I had my first colonoscopy at Kaiser about a year ago and felt very well taken care of, even though I did not even know the doctor's name.

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  • Looking for a great Kaiser Oakland or Walnut Creek doctor or Osteopath? Someone with knowledge of Autoimmune issues, thyroid, allergies, etc?

    (4 replies)

    Hello all,

    I am seeking advice, reviews of Kaiser doctors (Oakland or Walnut Creek preferably (I'm in Berkeley) but I can drive further if needed), or even specialists in other HMOs/independent. I am looking for doctors who have a knack for difficult cases. I need a diagnosis detective! I'm willing to pay out-of-pocket for someone outside of Kaiser if I have to.

    I'm 33. Eat healthy, have always tried to take good care of myself. But I have ongoing chronic health challenges that I have spent literally the past 13 years trying to understand and conquer. After many years, many doctors and many questions (and many lab tests), my doctors seem to have come to the end of the line. We do know a few things. I have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, both wrists, moderate to severe. Had this since I was 19 with NO reasonable explanation as to WHY (No repetitive typing or clerical computer work, very diverse activities at work (nothing repetitive or overly strenuous on my wrists!), I'm very conscious of my health and activities). I now have permanent numbness and weakness in some of my fingers, and very bad weakness and pain in my wrists and hands. I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome years ago (I had Candida overgrowth that one of my previous doctors treated me for successfully) many years ago, I control this *mostly* effectively with a clean, mostly organic, mostly Paleo, dairy-free diet. Tested for Celiac but the tests came back negative. Tried Gluten-free diet anyway for many years. I have cysts in my hands (had an MRI, it came back "inconclusive"), calcification in my shoulders (causes pain and impingement in both sides), arthritic changes in my shoulders and hands. Eczema-like rashes on my fingers on both hands, with sores that get infected (no matter HOW HARD I try to keep them clean, and I do EVERYTHING including avoiding water, wearing gloves most of the day, etc.) and don't heal for days or weeks. Tried every cream, lotion, oil and ointment I can get my hands on from prescription steroids to natural/organic options (nothing works). I test with high blood phosphates and *almost* high calcium (at the highest end of normal for my age group), tested positive for a few antibodies including Anti Scl-70 and ANA. My weight fluctuates. I am constantly exhausted. My period is irregular, with WAY too heavy bleeding (I've had 2 kids). Low blood iron anemia even though I eat TONS of iron rich foods. Migraines, headaches. Rashes. Cystic acne. Chronic Dry Eye. Too many symptoms to list them all.

    If you go here:  ... I have many, many of them.

    My doctors have considered various diagnoses including Hypothyroid, Sarcoidosis and Scleroderma. They say I don't fit all the criteria. My TSH and T4 test low to normal, and my T3 tests normal. I have asked them to test Reverse T3, but they say Kaiser will not order this test.

    After years.. the answer I'm getting is basically different variations of, "well, you have some kind of autoimmune issue.. but we don't have enough to diagnose you."

    I need answers. I want my life back. I'm considering going on the AIP (AutoImmune Protocol) diet. I want a diagnosis first, I want to know what is going on, and want to make sure I'm not missing something really serious.

    I would appreciate any and all advice and recommendations. Thanks!

    Hope someone responds with a Kaiser recommendation but I'm doubtful. KP tends to view the parts not the whole. My adult daughter saw 4 KP specialists for a panoply of symptoms from migraine to IBS to congestion but got nowhere. She finally paid out of pocket to see Myrto Ashe MPH MD --an integrative medicine practitioner who made a thorough assessment of her health and all of her symptoms and she's doing remarkably better under Dr Ashe's care and treatment plan. You might want to get an initial consult. Hope you get relief. 

    There is an expert on Scleroderma at UCSF.  You could request a referral to see her because your doctors are questioning the scleroderma diagnosis.  It is a rare disease and hard to diagnose.  You could have more than one disease so all your symptoms may not perfectly match one diagnosis, but it sounds like you have an autoimmune disease.

    I am wondering if anyone ever suggested the possibility of CFIDS (also know as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), or Fibromyalgia? Check out and see if anything rings true. CFIDS is know for fatigue, muscle pain, insomnia, digestive issues, post exercise malaise, etc but it can also cause unusual symptoms like yours. I have CFIDS and I have quite a few of the symptoms you listed. I’d also like to suggest seeing my holistic doctor, Marcey Shapiro on Solano Ave in Albany. I’ll tell you up front she is expensive, doesn’t take insurance and is hard to get in to see - with that caveat I really recommend her. She is a very experienced doctor and is very knowledgeable about alternative medicine. I use her as a consultant to supplement my traditional medical care. I have found her much more helpful than traditional doctors. She’s kind, smart and very competent.  Good luck!

    I would suggest a completely fragrance-free lifestyle. Most people don't realize how their fragranced cleaning and personal care products affect the. Also, stay away from new carpet, fresh paint, etc. 

    You might want to try crowd diagnosis. Sounds weird, but has worked in some cases.

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