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Lack of Kaiser Permanente Facilities
updated: Feb 04, 2013, 1:39 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

Why is there absolutely NO Kaiser Permanente healthcare facilities, plans, etc. anywhere in Santa Barbara or San Luis Obispo counties? I have ofter heard it due to the massive lobbying arm of the Cottage Healthcare System in S.B. They are in Ventura county though. Any ideas or verifiable proof?

Many years ago, especially in the San Diego & L.A. areas, they were considered the "bottom of the barrel" for healthcare service. However, the past five or so years, they have led the country in utilizing the latest medical technology, first to use digital patient records system wide, allow patients to email their doctors, etc.

My brother has Kaiser in the S.F. Bay area, had a heart valve procedure, and a number of other serious conditions treated and he crows about the speed of getting into see a specialist, receiving online, immediate follow up, & the low cost compared to most other plans his friends use.

Thanks for any & all constructive comments.

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 370700 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-04 01:49 PM

Kaiser isn't really that great. Consider it a good thing we don't have it here. If they are good at all, it is in really large cities, not areas like ours.

Cottage is very powerful and probably does keep competitors at bay. Have you noticed the monopoly yet? If someone had proof, it would only be that they are the only hospital ranging from Carp to SYV and have purchased the only other viable hospitals or clinics.

It would be nice to have some competition since that breeds expertise and choice. But Kaiser aint it.


 COMMENT 370705 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-04 02:02 PM

Stop blaming Cottage for everything for Pete's sake. Kaiser acquires it's way into communities. They are a large organization and thus have heavy overhead. To make their model work they need to own a nearby Hospital and then affiliate medical providers who become part of their HMO. As an HMO doctors acquire patients on a capitation basis. Most in Santa Barbara Have insurance which affiliate with a PPO (Preferred Provider Network) that allows patients to see their own MD's. In Kaiser, you see Kaiser MDs who refer to Kaiser specialists and Kaiser Hospitals. Personally, I prefer choice.


 COMMENT 370707 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-04 02:11 PM

Kaiser is vastly superior to anything in Santa Barbara right now, but the problem is that Kaiser's system requires a large member base to work. SB is just too small of a town to support a Kaiser facility.

Maybe someday, as LA creeps north, we'll have access to Kaiser's superior system and be able to dump these local yokel doctors. For now, I travel to Ventura to use Kaiser's facilities because I don't want to be butchered by some incompetent local provider.


 COMMENT 370708 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-04 02:11 PM

Historically there has never been logging in the area (Kaiser started from a logging company) and we are not a major metropolitan center. Why would they come here? Too small of a market.


 COMMENT 370709 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-04 02:15 PM

Seconded 700, Kaiser is nothing to swoon over.


 COMMENT 370712 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-04 02:19 PM

The Cottage monopoly is relatively new. Even a few years ago, Sansum/SBMC were independent and there were three hospitals in Santa Barbara /Goleta. Cottage has gobbled them all up. Had Kaiser wanted to buy the Catholic hospital (can't remember which saint it was named for) a few years ago when Cottage bought it and tore it down, presumably they could have. One reason we have fewer HMO's in Santa Barbara is the high cost of real estate here--space costs more so they can't make enough of a profit.


 COMMENT 370714 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-04 02:29 PM

Kaiser really needs a hospital to be successful, and Cottage and Sansum have teamed up to keep Kaiser out of the area. I think Kaiser was at one point in negotiations to acquire Sansum but it fell through.


 AUNTIE S. agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-04 02:49 PM

Cottage is the giant, mega-octopus in town. What a shame to have lost St. Francis and looking like we're losing Goleta Valley Community Hospital too.


 COMMENT 370726 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-04 02:54 PM

What do you mean we are losing Goleta Valley Hospital? It is owned by Cottage and they are adding on to it.


 COMMENT 370733 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-04 02:58 PM

Boy, hard to believe that anyone would trust Kaiser's doctors over Sansum's. Look at the credentials and then judge for yourself. Kaiser is a medical mill...they bumped my uncle out before clearing up a serious lung infection (tubes and half dead) out before time and he died two days later. The other doctors couldn't believe it. Nor could the nurses who are even better judges of when a person is really ready to leave or not!!!


 SUMMERTIME agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-04 03:01 PM

I was on Kaiser for 30 years before I moved back home to SB - I loved it! But, I do find that Samsum is very similiar to Kaiser....


 COMMENT 370739 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-04 03:14 PM

@726, Cottage is rebuidling Goleta Valley due to new seismic requirements. They will be tearing down the old building once the new one is complete. The new hospital will actually be smaller than the old one, but provide more acute and specialized care.


 COMMENT 370744 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-04 03:36 PM

Those who say that Kaiser isn't great don't have experience with the system or at least recent experience. I was so sad to lose Kaiser when we came to SB and drove to Ventura for a year before switching plans. I miss the efficiency, standard of care, extensive wellness course offerings, wellness coaching (free), and of course, my doctor. It's not for everyone and if you have difficulty taking personal responsibility for your health or advocating for your health it is probably not a good fit. I was told that Kaiser bought some land in Santa Barbara last year, but couldn't find anything about it online. Will keep crossing fingers.


 COMMENT 370751 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-04 03:52 PM

744, I have recent experience with Kaiser (and I've got a background in medicine) and I disagree completely with the idea that Kaiser is good at all. I also completely disagree with your dismissal of their problems as being people refusing to take responsibility for their own health.

Kaiser's very objective shortcomings don't boil down to personal responsibilities. Also, Kaiser buying land in SB is an urban legend dating back to the early 90s. Sorry!


 COMMENT 370753P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-04 03:55 PM

Kaiser did not start from a logging company. Jeez, of all the misinformation here, I don't know why that one bugged me.


 COMMENT 370758 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-04 04:04 PM

Actually, 753P, while you're absolutely right that they were never a logging company, they did start as a shipyard building and a dam making company - not strictly as a hospital or health care provider. They later split up into a bunch of different companies that partially formed a consortium that gave the first HMO "style" heatlhcare to dam builders and contracted union members in the building trade.

I'm guessing the person who thinks they are a logging company originally got confused while briefly doing a google search. Their headquarters are in Oakland (or used to be) in an old logging mill building. It's like playing that old kids' game telephone for some people on this site!


 COMMENT 370852 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-05 05:11 AM

Want Kaiser, move to LA.


 COMMENT 370856 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-05 06:50 AM

744, your reasons argue for the opposition. The thing is, you should NEVER have to be your own advocate for your health. You are glorifying a very scary thing! I what happens when you lose consciousness and can't advocate for yourself anymore?? Nothing I ever want to know about, no thank you kaiser.


 FLICKA agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-05 07:12 AM

Kaiser is the Walmart of health care, a for-profit outfit, bottom line is money. A friend lost his eyesight because he went to his Kaiser optomitrist every year and the fool missed glacoma. For complaints about Cottage, a non-profit, "gobbling up" St. Francis and Goleta Valley, they shut down because of lack of business.


 COMMENT 370870 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-05 07:19 AM

The Kaiser model is (partly) the way of the future. Healthcare costs necessitate how it is delivered. We need more walk-in clinics and we do need healthy lifestyle eduction. Cigarette taxation and regulation provides a successful method to wean folks away from dangerous and costly elements. We all pay. JMO.


 COMMENT 370892P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-05 08:08 AM

Consumer Reports surveys put Kaiser at the top of most Southern California healthcare providers. Of course, now I've started a rant against Consumer Reports....


 COMMENT 370907 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-05 08:30 AM

I understand that the standardized insurance payments paid to doctors in SB County are significantly less than in Ventura County. This is a result of the fact that when the rates were setup, SB County was considered a more rural place and the cost of living was less. Google "medicare reimbursements lower in santa barbara county".


 COMMENT 370911 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-05 08:34 AM

I used Kaiser when we lived in Ventucky, and I loved it. The doctors were great and they could prescribe any medications, not just the ones they were told to prescribe. Also, the online tools were easy and convenient. Now I am here in 'Paradise on the Pacific' and have switched to HealthNet which uses Sansum. I think they look very much the same and are both great for health care.


 COMMENT 370928 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-05 08:57 AM

@884. I'm with you. Why is the question.
Why because Santa Barbarans want to look all weathy and hip but ultimately a majority of them are cheap. They settle for HMO/Sansum cattle drive healthcare and then they complain about it all the time yet don't do anything about it. They still sign up for HMO or some IPA that gives the doctor all the power to choose their care. But like my sister-in-law, she signed away all of her own power and signed away her acupuncturist and chiro who were helping her more than the medical doctor. Now she is complaining 24/7 about her back pain but is too cheap to pay her massage therapist/acupunturist and chiro herself. Apparently, Sansum doctors won't let her see these even though her insurance says she has it.


 COMMENT 370950 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-05 09:36 AM

Thank God for Kaiser as my parents have had multiple major procedures and would have been bankrupted by now without their virtually no-cost system. They also have had many 'out of network' visits when traveling and Kaiser has totally covered it. Hope they come to Santa Barbara but it's unlikely since they're in Ventura.


 COMMENT 370956 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-05 09:42 AM

We have Kaiser in town. It's called Sansum, though. It's the exact same standard and model of care, based in the beginning on basic HMO style medical care and evolving to what we have now, which is...kinda still like that. Need a specialist? Get bounced around within the Sansum system over and over until you get the right one. Then be told there's not a whole lot you can do if the problem you have isn't within their scope, you'll have to start all over elsewhere.

It's the same exact way with Kaiser. The reason they come out best in large hospital surveys is just that....large hospitals have different standards. If they came into town they wouldn't BE a large hospital, people.


 COMMENT 370975P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-05 10:22 AM

Got Kaiser in LA when I was about 12. What a difference it made to me and my family. We had access to medical care and pharmacy services without bankruptcy or use of the emergency hospitals. Stayed on Kaiser until moved to SB where it was not available. Missed it then and now. My mother and father stayed on Kaiser in the LA and then Ventura area and are always full of praise about the considerate and competent nature of its service. My sister is a nurse and vouches for the quality Kaiser provides. Kaiser is a remarkable service that should be emulated nationwide. Those snobs who want to believe "you only get what you pay for" need to understand that what you are paying for with many medical providers and services is huge profit or very large annual incomes.


 COMMENT 371031 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-05 12:23 PM

Kaiser's model relies on multiple large employers offering the Kaiser HMO to their employees. It relies on having a large number of young employees who do not need as much medical care as older ones or retirees. That model does not work in Santa Barbara or SLO - there are neither large employers nor a large number of young employees.


 COMMENT 371098P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-05 03:09 PM

Kaiser began as Kaiser Steel, got massive contracts to build ships on San Francisco Bay during WWll, imported thousands of workers to work the shipyards and found it cost effective to provide their own medical care to their workers... workers were in short supply then, it was good to keep them healthy. After the war they kept the medical thing going and expanded it to other big employers.

My parents got in through my dad's employer, UC, and my brother and I were born in Kaiser Oakland and Kaiser Vallejo in the 1960s.

Recently my mother received excellent surgical care at Kaiser Richmond and through the Kaiser Hospice in Alameda. I think like everything else in medicine it depends on where you live and exactly what you need. In her case, she found a great lung surgeon in Richmond, which was close enough to where she lived. And several years later she found wonderful Buddhist hospice nurses at home in Alameda. Kaiser's treatment of medicare patients was superb, in her case. I am very thankful. I know it's not the same for everyone.


 COMMENT 371163P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-05 04:58 PM

Kaiser is in Ventura and south. I for one recently switched (2 years ago) from a 'good' PPO to Kaiser and I absolutly love it. My doctors at Kaiser are fantastic, responsive and caring. I have seen everything from primary care, dermatology, pediatrician, to psychology for both me and my children. I couldn't be more surprised or happier at what excellent care I have received.


 COMMENT 371230P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-05 09:45 PM

A very wise, old, and reliable professional in the medical field, and good friend of mine for many years warned me about KP...after his daughter was treated there with a very sad and dismal result. In his own words he said, "There are dead people there they don't even know about." The message he was conveying I remember to this day - minimal attention to the patient with little if any concern for the outcome. Very recently...my sister-in-law's father was told by a KP physician that there was no hope for his melanoma cancer. Her family has since received a secondary medical opinion outside of the KP system which is positively different (UCLA).


 COMMENT 371568P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-06 04:36 PM

too small a market


 COMMENT 604599 agree helpful negative off topic

2015-04-11 04:05 PM

I have had spectacular health care from Kaiser since 1990 at various of their locations. They are very innovative: their EMR has been up, running, and effective for years for both providers and patients; they were the first to incorporate midwives and hospice into their services; they have been a model for providing language services for their many patients who were limited English speakers and in training their providers to work with patients from different cultures, especially important in California. They have several research facilities and cooperate in cutting edge research themselves and with various universities. They practice evidence-based medicine. Patients get to anonymously evaluate their doctors and doctors are definitely made aware of their patient ratings. For all of this and more, I drive to Ventura/Oxnard but I wish I didn't have to!


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