As a person who has survived skin cancer (malignant melanoma), I've been told by my so-called primary care physician as well as every dermatologist I've ever seen at various Kaiser offices in the Portland-Vancouver area, that I should have a skin check once a year.
So when I called the Kaiser appointment desk a few weeks ago to make an appointment to see a dermatologist, I was surprised to be told that I couldn't.
Why? I wondered. Because they don't have any dermatologists in my area any more, I was told. So I could drive more than an hour to one of two remote locations where they do have a dermatologist. Or I could wait until my "turn" came up on the long waiting list they have for people with "chronic melanoma."
I chose to drive more than an hour, and still I've had to wait another five weeks for the appointment. This is just one of many examples of Kaiser's actual dealings with patients, which I've written about before.
The contrast with the advertisements is astounding.
The person on the phone was nice. She explained as well as she could, but it wasn't enough, because the system is not really there to take care of people's medical needs. And there's no way she could explain that---but that was okay, because I already knew it.