Family Medicine Oakland

Editors' Notes: 
  • Previously known as East Bay Family Practice. 
  • Audrey D'Andrea and Caroline Schreiber are no longer in this practice - see Berkeley Outpatient Center

3100 Telegraph Avenue Suite 2109 Oakland, CA 94609

Physicians at this practice (Nov 2020): Janet Arnesty, James Eichel, Irene Kelly, Carolyn Le, Jennifer Lin, Amanda O'Hara

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Oct 2013

RE: Pediatrician in Health Net Blue and Gold

My daughters pediatrician accepts Health Net Blue and Gold. East Bay Family Practice in Oakland. Dr. Caroline Schrieber. She is amazing! The girls talk to her about everything. She grew up in Berkeley and knows some of my girls teachers. She is even on a soccer team. She has 2 young boys of her own. Both of my girls have been seeing her for 2 years now. Their 15 and10 now. I've been a patient of the practice for 16 years. The nurse practitioner is great too. Don't mind the girls seeing her when their doctor can't. Great practice and doctors. Shannon

Oct 2010

Re: Pediatrician with Hills Physicians & great office?
I recommend Dianna Ward at East Bay Family Practice around the corner on Telegraph. She's Med- Peds, which is a residency that is more typical on the east coast. I think she's just Wonderful! Anon

March 2010

Re: Good female prim. care doc in Alta Bates or Hill?
Try East Bay Family Practice in Oakland. They have several physicians on staff as well as PAs and NPs. My doctor is Audrey d'Andrea and she is very good. I have been going there about 10 year and have always been very happy with whomever I have seen. Anon

March 2010

Re: Family practive for mom and kids, 10 and 17
I love Deanna Ward at East Bay Family Practice. She is actually not a family practice doctor, but a Med-Peds doctor, which means she specialized in both Internal Medicine AND Pediatrics. Its more of a common specialty combination on the east coast. She is great, smart, easy to talk to. I can see a young girl loving her. There are other good doctors in the practice too, not sure if there is a man or not. But Deanna would be great for both you and your daughter. anon

Nov 2009

Hello, We are expecting our first baby this December, and have Health Net insurance - I'm with Hill Physician Medical Group (so that I could work with a midwife), my hubby is with Alta Bates Medical Group. Looking for great pediatrician recommendations in either group...we prefer someone open to a holistic approach. Thanks! S.

My son just had his second birthday. His pediatrician is Dr. Deanna Ward with East Bay Family Practice. It is located on Telegraph Ave in Oakland. In the shadows of Summit Hospital. She is a great great Doctor. More than once has she taken the extra steps to make sure my son is happy and healthy. I would highly recommend her! Plus the entire staff is very friendly. Lori M

Oct 2008

Re: Healthnet Physicians- Reviews pls.
Dr. Audrey d'Andrea has been my primary care physician for quite a few years (10?). She is great. At my annual physical, she spends ONE HOUR checking me out - physically, emotionally, etc. The office is good too. For urgent but not emergency care it is almost always possible to get a same day appointment with someone. Often that is a PA or a nurse practioner, but that is usually sufficient. Happy patient

Jan 2008

Hi, I'm at the beginning of my second pregnancy and just started seeing Dr. Arnesty. I had a midwife last time and had a natural birth. Dr. Arnesty describes her approach as 'midwife style.' I'm wondering to what degree she is supportive of natural birth. If you have experience with her, were you able to have an intervention-free birth? thanks, weighing my options

Dr. Janet Arnesty has been my doctor through two births (and is my kids' doctor as well). I would not go so far as to say she is exactly ''midwife like'', but she is definitely much more oriented toward natural, normal births than you might expect of an MD. I always figured that, as a family practitioner, she is less ''crunchy'' than a midwife but more so than an OB.

She does attend almost all of her patients' births herself, unlike many group practitioners, and while I do not know her ''statistics'' I certainly have the impression that a natural birth is at least the default goal for most of her patients.

Both of my births ended up being C-sections, unfortunately, due to breech position and various accompanying complications. However, during my second pregnancy, Janet was entirely supportive of my desire for a VBAC and, later, she helped me put off the perinatologist who wanted to do an immediate section and find a different one who was willing to try everything we possibly could to turn the baby and avoid a section.

I initially chose to go with her mostly for financial reasons -- my insurance did not offer as much coverage for midwife care -- and while in a perfect world I might have preferred a midwife, I've been satisfied with Janet's approach. anon

Janet Arnesty delivered my son almost 13 years ago and I had a natural birth. She did have a ''midwife'' approach. She was really great at that time. I have a different medical plan and haven't seen her in a few years but my child's birth was everything I wanted it to be. anon

Dr. Janet Arnesty has been my doctor for seven years. She saw me through two pregnancies and was present at the birth of my two youngest sons (My oldest son was born at Kaiser in San Francisco before I moved to Oakland). My births were entirely natural and intervention-free. Janet Arnesty was supportive, patient and really good at coaching me through the ''This hurts so much I think I'm going to die'' times! Dr. Arnesty helped me have the birth I envisioned even with my nearly 11 pound baby boy. She helped my best friend give birth twice, also naturally. Please e-mail me if you would like to hear more. kari

hello. due to my doctor being on vacation dr. arnesty delivered my baby last summer. i wanted to have a natural birth, although i was open to pain medication if needed. i ended up having an epidural (after 12 hours of labor) and then a c-section - totally sucky. i though dr. arnesty was very nice, although she wasn't very involved. maybe it was because she was just covering my doctor? good luck! anon

March 2006

Re: Primary Care and Family Practices
I can't speak to DeAndrea or Young but Janet Arnesty that is also in the East Bay Family Practice is great. I've worked with her as a doula and find her very respectfull of her clients wishes. She explains things well and is as non-interventionist as she can be without being unsafe. I ended up giving birth at home but would definetely consider this practice if I were to have a hospital birth. Good luck and congratulations! Stacia

March 2006

To the ''scared first timer'' who is a patient at EBFP, allow me to recommend Dr. Janet Arnesty. She treated me through my pregnancy, which was easy, and handled my son's birth, which was not! I found her to be extremely understanding, supportive of alternative practices, and, when things went wrong, very strong and competent. The best thing was that she stayed with me through a very long night - long after she was ''officially'' on-call. I felt almost like I had a midwife. When I needed an emergency c-section she was very comforting as the surgeon did her work. My son was born and had to be resusitated and her competent handling of the situation was both comforting and reassuring. She is now my son's pediatrician and he loves her! I did see both Dr. Young and Dr. D'Andrea during my pregnancy and liked them very much also. Hope this helps! Anonymous

March 2004

Re: Female Primary Care Physican Needed
You would probably be happy at East Bay Family Practice. Most, though not all, of the practitioners there are female, and the doctors do a good job, in my experience, of seeing their ''own'' patients rather than passing them around the group a lot. I have seen primarily Edie Silber, MNP and Janet D'Arnesty, MD. Both are friendly but pretty straightforward and businesslike (which can bother patients who'd prefer a more touchy-feely bedside manner, but I don't get the sense that describes you) and, while not exactly proponents of holistic medicine, are also not at all patronizing toward lay persons who ask questions about less-interventionist alternatives when appropriate. I can't comment on the cancer issues, but most of the practitioners at East Bay Family Practice have been there a long time and are certainly what I would consider ''experienced'' in general. It's a large practice and often busy; I've never needed a same- day appointment so I can't comment on how easy they are to get. But the staff is certainly friendly and organized; we've never had any hassles with charts, bills, or that sort of thing. They're located on Telegraph in Oakland near Summit Hospital, which is the biggest downside for me since moving to Albany, but it's reasonably close for you in Rockridge.

May 2003

Re: Pediatricians who take Cigna
Hi there, I have been going to East Bay Family Practice (telegraph avenue, oakland - near summit hospital) for the past 5 years now; we are expecting our first baby and our doctor is Dr. D'Andrea. She's extremely patient and caring. My sister in law takes her two kids (1 year and 3 years old) to the same practice, but they see Dr. Santiago (who also delivered the 1 year old). She's extremely happy with him. They (the practice) all take CIGNA.

Dec 2002

Re: Danielle Rosenman, M.D., of East Bay Family Practice. I want to say that my experience over 15 years with her has been good. I find her warm and caring, though maybe in an understated way, and never dismissive of my concerns or questions, though she is certainly straightforward when giving her opinion. And as one correspondent noted, she's definitely a sharp and competent doctor. There are other good doctors there, but she's my physician of choice. John

July 2002

I have been a patient of theirs for 5+ years and, though I have never seen the person who is listed on my insurance card, I have seen almost everyone else and like them - though my favorite doctors there have rapidly disappeared over the years. My current doctor and daughter's pediatrician is Dr. Audrey DAndrea..she has always been polite and proficient ( though she does not pronounce my or my daughter's name correctly) and I have never had to wait for very long in the waiting room. So I am continuing to go to them for the postnatal followup though I had what I felt was very poor support from them during labor. Though I was induced and the timing was planned and my doctor promised to be there, she did not show up through the whole 36 hour labor, the c section or even the following day. Records were not filled out fully for the hospital (Alta Bates which I cannot speak highly enough of...) so the evening staff physician came on shift and shut off the pitosin (spelling?) after 24 hours of labor. I was yelling obscenities that I didn't even know I knew. In the middle of the night, after 24 hours labor, I had to wait while Dr. Santiago- on call -was rousted from bed in SF and drove to their office to get the needed records and drove to the hospital. The c section was performed by Alta Bates staff and Dr. Santiago and fortunately turned out well. So in short, I think EBFP is ok but not the kind of place you would want to go to if you want personal care. I will not have another child with them attending. They are just so busy, they don't seem to have the proper attention to detail - like the assistant who referred to my daughter as he - even after weighing her naked...not a confidence booster....

I felt I had to add my comments to those already posted on East Bay Family Practice. We, too, left the practice after becoming increasingly frustrated with what felt like a business over patient mentality. I won't go into all the details - let's just say it was too many times of waiting too long, calls that took too long to be returned, and an attitude that I did not feel was accepting of moms like me who nursed past a year, favored alternative medicine, etc. The final straw was when I started getting bills for lab work I never had. I was never a patient, but my name was in the computer because my daughter was! If someone had apologized at any point, I would have understood - mistakes do happen. But it took several phone calls to straighten things out, and no one ever seemed very interested in fixing things. I will say the advice nurse was quite good, and I loved Karen, the front desk receptionist. We had Dr. Santiago - seemed like a nice man, but always was in a hurry. Good luck. Anonymous, please

I also feel compelled to respond to all of the comments and the inquiry about EBFP. I took my newborn daughter to Dr. Saper, who was great. I have now left the practice so that my children could be seen by a pediatrician. I was tired of the awfully long waits, particularly while I was with a restless toddler. They also kept making mistakes with obtaining the proper authorization for an ultrasound for my son. I am very happy that I left.

June 2002

Re: RN for Ob/Gyn
My guess is you don't actually want an ob/gyn office but a family practice or women's clinic, where the primary care is typically done by RNs and/or MNPs. I'm at East Bay Family Practice (on Telegraph near Summit Hosp.) and until my pregnancy my appts were with Edie Silber, the MNP there. I recommend her if you're interested in a fairly businesslike approach and don't mind a large practice; she's competent and caring, if somewhat ''corporate.'' She was my primary care provider and she, or other doctors there (most of whom are female), did see me occasionally for minor problems unrelated to the annual pap. I've also been to the Women's Health Clinic (or some such name) on Ellsworth in South Berkeley and had satisfactory experiences. It's smaller and has a more hippie-ish environment, if you know what I mean. It's been a long time and I don't recall the individual names of anyone there, but all the staff is female. Holly April 2002

I was perusing the UCB Parents Web site, since I am shopping around for a Family Practicioner. I noticed that many of the comments for East Bay Family Practice vary wildly, and that some of those comments date back to 1998 or so. Does anyone have any current pros/cons of this practice? Thanks in advance

We have been patients at this practice since 1995, yet in all that time, averaging about 2 or 3 visits per year, I have been seen by my primary care physician, Janet Arnesty, only once. At that visit she chided me for not having come in for annual exams, although I had no idea that such visits were encouraged by the practice. For all of my sick visits I have been seen by a physician's assistant, Steve Bryzman, whom I liked. I've found the staff to be somewhat impersonal but nothing I can't put up with. In short, I can't wax enthusiastic about the practice, but I find it perfectly adequate -- although I must say we opted for a separate pediatrician when our children were born. It's a bit far for us since they moved from their downtown Berkeley location, but the parking situation is very good at their Telegraph location. Pamela

I am pregnant and am being followed by the FPs at East Bay Family Practice, and have seen many of the providers there so far. I highly recommend my physician, Audrey D'Andrea. A newer doc, Dan Santiago was also very nice. Both have wonderful bedside manner and are well-trained. They've been my favorites so far.

I perused the comments about EBFP on the website, and found them to be pretty up-to-date, actually. I was *crazy* about Audrey D'andrea (nie Heffel), but had a lot of problems with the front office, and always waited an unbelievably long time to be seen. When I transferred my prenatal care to a midwife, I was told I had to pay a $25 fee to get my file copied and sent over (which was wrong). I told Dr. D'andrea to her face that the long waits were the reason I wasn't choosing her for my prenatal care. I loved working with her, but as I looked to the future and imagined all my well-baby visits taking 1-1.5 hours minimum, I just had to choose to take my business elsewhere. (Oh, and their current office is the 3100 Telegraph address on Pill Hill.) Hope this helps. Jennie

My family, which includes myself, my husband and my 2 and 4 year old have all been with East Bay Family Practice for 3 years. We are actually in the process of looking elsewhere at this point primarily because we are frustrated with their continuous focus on business over quality patient care. We actually like our primary treater quite a bit, Daniel Santiago, but he too is swept up in the clinic's managed care setting of packing the patients in which means on an average 1 to 1 1/2 hour wait in the waiting room to see him. The turning point was recently when I was late getting to an appointment (I had a dead battery) for my bronchitis with one of their nurses who was available on an urgent need basis and called them en route to explain to them that I would be 10-15 minutes late. Feeling quite feverish and with my two young ones along I was told that the nurse could not wait for me and I would have to reschedule. That did it for us. Good luck in finding a quality family practice and please let us know of their name when you do. Diana

I have been a patient of Dr. Polly Young at East Bay Family Practice for about five years and am very happy with my care. I find Polly to be caring and capable, interested in me and my wellbeing, and willing to make referrals if she or I deem it useful. She also cares for my husband and toddler and it's nice to be at a practice where it's all integrated and we're all known. I find the front office to be professional, if not terribly warm. Marge, the woman who handles referrals and provides phone advice, is very knowledgeable and helpful and kind. I have also been seen on occasion by other MDs or NPs there and have liked them all.

My husband and I had perfectly good though somewhat impersonal care at EBFP until our daughter was born. She had some problems in her first month or two and we were in the office frequently to check on her progress. That was a turning point: the staff all got to know us and showed lots of concern about the baby. Now when I take her in they make her feel special and marvel at how she's grown. And when I go on my own, I'm greeted in a friendly way. That makes me feel comfortable with things like pushing for a better appointment time or asking followup questions about confusing insurance matters, so I think I get better treatment because of it.

As with probably most doctors' offices in this era of managed care, there are time pressures. I sometimes wish my visits with Polly were a little longer, but if she's heading for the door and I tell her I have more questions she always stays. In addition, getting through on the phone can be a bit of a hassle, as I often have to wait on hold for a while. But I suspect these are common complaints everywhere these days.

As for the query about a lesbian-friendly practice, I don't have direct personal experience, but EBFP doctors seem to be openminded and have a generally feminist outlook and I suspect they would be fine.

I have been with EB Family Practice for more than 10 years and I can't say enough GREAT things about Audrey D'Andrea, Janet Arnesty and EBFP! Dr. D'Andrea is EXTREMELY knowledgeable, warm, funny, answers questions thoroughly and is just an excellent OB AND Family MD. I was seen by both Dr's Arnesty and D'Andrea with my second pregnancy in 97-98. My husband really liked how she was sensitive to both my needs, as well as his, during and after pregnancy and she always gave us many choices on how we could approach things that came up for us. I had a very uneventful pregnancy so I can only speak from that side of the fence. The best part about having either of these Dr.'s is that they handle pediatrics as well, so both my kids were seen by their pediatrician AS SOON as they were born. Both my kids (5 and 2 1/2) really like her and she really enjoys seeing them. I highly recommend her..... good luck with your decision. Trish

I'm glad to have the chance to recommend Dr. Audrey D'Andrea. She was my OB as well as my general family practitioner -- my son sees her as well. And in fact, I had my annual exam with her just yesterday. Dr. D'Andrea has always been totally present with me. She is caring and compassionate, and when there was a complication with my pregnancy and the Alta Bates docs were pressuring me to choose Option A, she was the only one who said, Of course, you have a choice, and here are your choices. I think the people at East Bay Family Practice are great. A hearty recommendation. Letitia

I would like to also highly recommend Dr. Audrey d'Andrea for OB care. She was my OB for my first child and now for my second pregnancy also. Audrey is very warm and friendly. She was very supportive during the pregnancy. She is open-minded about alternative medicines (e.g. she suggested I try acupuncture for nausea), but is also an excellent and clear-headed traditional doctor. Audrey is very flexible regarding the mother's preferences for how to manage labor and delivery. She was very positive about my hiring a doula (Erin Crowe - excellent), and they worked very well together. During labor and delivery, Audrey encouraged me to do things the way I felt would be best for me. After the delivery, which went very smoothly, I had some serious complications, and I was very impressed by Dr. Andrea's competence and dedication during this time. She remained calm and supportive, she clearly knew exactly what to do and remained in complete control of the situation. She came to visit me herself in the middle of the night, even though that medical situation could have been handled by the on-call hospital doctor.

I also really like East Bay Family Practice, and have been going there for 17 years for my personal care. My only bug with them is that they are chronically running late. However, if you make sure to get early morning appointments (ca. 9 am) you won't have to wait. Kathy

From: Deborah

Re: Internist I highly recommend East Bay Family Practice on Telegraph in Oakland (near Summit). Great practice. I've seen Janet Arnesty and Audrey Heffel there.

From: Laurel

I go to Dr. Audrey Heffel, who is a member of the East Bay Family Practice in Berkeley. She is a family practicioner and is the careprovider for my husband, me, and my unborn child. She is really warm, thoughtful, and caring. She followed through within hours when we had a question regarding a genetic disease being passed on to our baby, and she has always been helpful. Also, I have heard wonderful things about Janet Arnesty, who is in the same office. East Bay Family Practice is asssociated with Hills Physicians Medical Group and Alta Bates Medical Group.

From: Anita

Dr. Janet Arnesty at East Bay Family Practice (540-8200) delivered our daughter this year and I was very pleased with her warm manner and medical ability. She took a low- intervention approach to pregnancy and childbirth which is what we wanted. She and Dr. Audrey Heffel in the same practice are family practice doctors rather than ob-gyn's, but do deliver babies. (They and the other doctors in the practice all do regular gyne work as well).


From: Patricia

I just want to reiterate the recommendation of Dr. Janet Arnesty of East Bay Family Practice as a wonderful family doctor and ob/gyn. She uses low-intervention with delivery, has a very warm manner ....especially bedside, and is GREAT with kids. Not only will she be delivering our 2nd child, but she our pediatrician as well. The practice, in general, is wonderful.


From: Beth

We've been reasonably happy with East Bay Family Practice, but they've just moved to Oakland by Pill Hill, and thought we should investigate practices closer to home. We like the idea of a group practice so that there's coverage when your family practitioner isn't available. We also like their Saturday hours, the fact that they cover family planning, well baby visits, and the whole range from pregnancy to geriatrics. We've been reasonably happy with Audrey Heffel (within the limitations of allopathic medicine), and she's been great with our son Chris and my mother who has had a triple bypass and the whole gamut of complications post-op, including infections and a pacemaker. The reason I've given this much detail is to solicit references from you for a reasonably comparable, but more closely located to us (North Berkeley near Kensington) family practice, with competent and reasonably open-minded family practitioners (Nurse practioners ok, too). (I will use a midwife when I get pregnant with our second child, but would go to the family practice for well-baby care).

From: Cathy

I have been going to East Bay Family Practice for years. They are very good. All the doctors are women (I believe there are currently 5 in the practice). One of the physician's assistants and one of the nurses are male. They just moved from Berkeley to Oakland and are now located at 3100 Telegraph. Their phone is 645-9900. They are members of the Alta Bates Medical Group.

Reviews of James Eichel

May 2011

Re: In search of great family physician
Both my husband and I have Dr. James Eichler as our primary doctor. We are very happy with him, he is patient, thorough and seems to clue into the things that interest/bother/motivate/concern us. I think he is part of Alta Bates group. He also used to be my OBGYN, but he stopped that practice recently. angel

April 2010

Re: Primary care at Bayside
Dr Eichel is my family's primary care physician. We have only had good interactions with him and are happy with him as our primary physician. That being said, when we need same day appointments, we just see whoever at Bayside is available - and we think that all the doctors and nurse practitioners are great. Happy Bayside Patient

Dr. Eichel missed a major illness in my husband, in spite of several visits where my husband went with symptoms of the illness. If not for my insisting he be seen(he was then admitted to the hospital), things could have gone very badly. anon

We are happy to have Dr. Eichel as our family doctor. He's been my son's doctor since he was born and will be delivering our 2nd baby via VBAC this summer. We've never had a problem with billing and the office staff are always nice to us. I was surprised to read others' negative feedback... Anon

Feb 2006

Re: OB Recommendation Sought for Dr. James Eichler
Perhaps there is a misspelling here? I know Dr. James *Eichel*, at 2915 Telegraph Ave, 510 843-4544) Dr. James *Eichel* has been my primary care physician since '98 and has later followed me through my pregnancy and has also delivered my baby. I couldn't recommend him more highly. He's very knowledgeable, very attentive, and just nice to deal with. He always returns telephone calls. He's also very ''reasonable'', in that he doesn't overdo tests, worries, drugs etc. but never underestimates the problems either. I had a normal pregnancy and delivery but I would trust him again in any circumstances. Barbara

Jan 2004

Re: Doctor with After Hours
I am in the same situation and had to search high and low for an OB/GYN that could see me after work.

East Bay Medical Group usually offers extended hours. My doctor is actually a family practitioner who also does OB/GYN, Dr. James Eichel. He works out of offices in Berkeley and in Alameda, I'm not sure about Oakland. He is very calming and gentle. Sometimes it is hard to get a hold of him or his staff, but once you get in to see him he is very nice. Also, if you go see him, expect to be in the waiting room for a little while before you get in - this gives you time to write down all your questions and go in prepared.

I am a very demanding/high maintenance patient and want to know everything! My husband is different and he sits back more calmly and takes it all in, digests the information, then asks questions. Dr. Eichel seems to respond better to my husband's approach but has never shyed away from all my demanding questions.

Let me know if you have any questions about his specific personality/approach. I do however recommend you talk to a few OB/GYNs before you pick one that will be with you for the entire pregnancy and delivery. It's a relationship you really want to be comfortable with and not feel bullied into anything. mommy to be, sonia

May 2002

Re: Pediatrician who has time for longer appts
I had Dr. Eichel, a family practitioner in Berkeley, as my doctor until had to switch to Kaiser for financial reasons. Friends have him as their doctor and their children's pediatrician. He is a wonderful doctor. Great diagnostician. Thoughtful, doesn't rush you, concerned, takes time to explain. Social conscience. He has two young kids himself. He has one great nurse, Rhonda. The downside of someone who spends time like he does? He ALWAYS runs late - sometimes ten minutes, sometimes as much as an hour. It used to make me furious, until I had something scary happen to me, and he spent an extra 30 minutes. Then I decided that it was worth the tradeoff - I would just plan for twice the time I normally would and bring a good book. His office staff used to be terrible, seem to be getting better. Tim

I'm a big pain about people running late (especially Doctors) and I haven't found Jim Eichel to be bad at all. As Tim noted, he's a very nice guy, and very concerned. He's called me back after hours about things I've been worried about, looks stuff up, and recently called the department of public health to check on something. I haven't used him as a pediatrician,but as a GP, though I don't think I would hesitate to. He sees lots of kids. I like him a good deal and folks who know me know I don't like that many medical people.