I won’t ever get justice for all of the times I have been treated poorly by Kaiser Permanente but I will celebrate the small wins because that is just the positive person I am. (Giant laughing emoji)
One gloomy night a few weeks ago I noticed my phone was alive with an incoming call from none other than the Kaiser number I feel such a dread to see. Memorized yes. 1-800-813-2000. My mind flies through the possible reasons they have to be calling me. None really. I can’t think of one reason. Maybe a reminder for a well check for my daughter or something stupid. I answer sounding as annoyed as possible to be receiving a call from Kaiser at 7pm. Don’t they know I go to sleep early?
I am clearly jaded. But it’s okay. I didn’t actually think that it just makes my story more comical. I mean, I do think they are idiots but not for that reason. And by they I mean the giant systemic entity that is Kaiser Permanente. It’s no one person and again…it’s leadership from the top trickles to the bottom. So, it’s not all personal. Some of it yes but not all of it.
Back to my point…the phone call. I answer extra unenthusiastically. It’s a doctor. He says he’s a doctor working in the records department. I don’t really believe him because I can’t figure out why a doctor would take the time to fix a mistake that no one seemed to care about before. I move forward in the conversation hesitantly, waiting to be berated and argued with. He doesn’t. He hadn’t so far. He asked about my complaints and specifics regarding a mistake that was put in the notes about me by a psych who was currently ignoring my messages. I explained the situation and what she put in my chart that was an outright lie. Something she put in that was a mistake she wouldn’t apologize for or change because she couldn’t admit she messed up.
This psych never wanted to help me. Her only judgment of me was that I had used street drugs 20 years ago and she was sure that because of that I couldn’t possibly be using my prescribed medications as directed by the doctors I have been seeing for years. She noticed a discrepancy in something I had said and instead of asking me about it with genuine curiosity she labelled me a drug abuser and refused to fill my medications. Her INCORRECT NOTES in the chart stating I had used methamphetamines in 2020. When I initially saw the notes I FREAKED OUT! How did she misread the information to that extent?
I messaged her directly to let her know of her mistake. I gave a week for a response. Nothing. I messaged her again, this time involving a more professional, direct letter hoping it would help motivate her response. Still nothing. At that point I messaged her and everyone in her department several times so that I had witnesses. I emailed my GP also. I physically went and left her a note after speaking to the receptionist and being guided to do so. I was told it was not acceptable for a psych to avoid responding for weeks.
I gave up trying and just moved on. I found a new psych who at least doesn’t treat me like I’m trash.
Back to the phone call with the doctor who seemed to want to correct my file…. I explained what happened and why it happened. I explained my frustrations with Kaiser as a system and my knowing that much of this isn’t personal but that due to the way Kaiser is run, this is the way many of the psychs treat clients. He understood why it was important to me that my notes didn’t say I was using methamphetamines recently and had no problems changing it. He saw where the psych had read incorrect information from previous doctor’s notes and he had all of the evidence he needed to make the changes.
I appreciated him taking the time to listen to my frustrations and complaints. He was willing to listen about several complaints I had regarding Kaiser psychiatry. I asked him if they are trained to have a growth mindset? Are their counselors and psychiatrists trained to believe people can change? If that isn’t their belief then why are they doing the job they are doing? If they are going to continue to see me as someone who abuses drugs because I did 20 years ago why should I see myself any different? They hadn’t even asked why I used or how much I used or how it made me feel. This is the difference between psychs who are in Kaiser’s system and psychs who are not under their control. What a relief it was when I found a psych who was curious about how using meth helped me because he wanted to understand my difficulties so they could be treated. It turned out I was just using meth back then so I could function better and could feel like a healthier individual. Do life without wanting to die. Being able to focus and make better decisions. I was self-medicating but Kaiser doesn’t care. Once an addict, always an addict.
I don’t even identify as an addict. I have had an addictive personality when it comes to some things but at the end of the day I was only ever addicted to self-destruction and preservation. I know it seems odd for those two things to go together but for me they do co-exist. They do help to meet the needs of the other. As frustrating as it may be this is the system I have designed for myself.
So that’s it folks. I won 1 battle out of about 20 with Kaiser so far. I almost want to have a giant party. But on a more serious note it was a huge gift to have this person listen to me and actually take the time to do research and make the proper changes necessary to have the truth be told. He also connected me with a Kaiser doctor who understands SUDs and the truth that people with a history of SUDs do not get the care they need often because of judgmental doctors and systems.
I am not hopeful about the new Psych as I have not yet met him but it doesn’t matter because I already have a good Psych I can stay with if needed. My only reason for ever wanting to change was to save money by using my insurance like I should be able to.
SO I GUESS MIRACLES DO COME TRUE PEOPLE. HOLY SHIT. JUSTICE IN THIS WORLD HAPPENS ABOUT 1/20 SITUATIONS. HA.
Stay tuned for more exciting and purposeful jargon from my most inspirational life moments. I know you cannot wait.
In love and sarcasm,