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Archived Article
7/8/2005
Consumer Watchdog
Brad Brown still is scraping together enough money to buy health insurance for his wife and two children. But it is getting more difficult with every increase, and the relentless rise in costs - the most recent was 45 percent - is depleting not only his bank account but also his faith in the system. "You have to stay positive, but we are both...
Archived Article
7/8/2005
Consumer Watchdog
When I found myself between jobs last year, I knew I would go through rough times taking care of my health needs until I found a new employer. Nevertheless, I thought I could handle it, for a while at least. Today I can only look back in wonder and anger at how naive I was and how ruthless Kaiser Permanente is. I am now paying far more for health...
Archived Article
7/8/2005
Consumer Watchdog
When Pat Parker sorted through the mail she threw the envelope from Blue Cross on the pile with the other bills to be paid, without opening it right away. That's what she always did: After all, the amount never varied, and Pat had an efficient system for making sure she and her husband Dave paid what they owed. What Pat didn't realize when this...
Archived Article
7/8/2005
Consumer Watchdog
There is a lot wrong with the medical system in California these days - skyrocketing premiums, a lesser level of care, lack of accountability. Pat Pawlak has fallen prey to one of its most bizarre characteristics, a phenomenon she calls "the creep factor." Pat is dissatisfied with her agent, and has been for some time. The problem:...
Archived Article
7/8/2005
Consumer Watchdog
Kathy Locke, like so many other self-employed small business people, is feeling the pinch. She has run a successful small advertising business in Novato for 20 years. It is a labor of love, with Kathy's hours definitely not 9 to 5. Her husband is also self-employed, a contractor. Kathy and her husband have always taken care of their own health...
Archived Article
5/9/2003
Consumer Watchdog
Gary Rushford - San Jose, California The pain began in Gary Rushford's foot and slowly slithered up to his heel, then his calf and then his thigh. It moved with all the deliberate relentlessness of a python closing in on a cornered rabbit, and it was every bit as predictable. Yet for months doctor after doctor downplayed the pain, disregarded the...
Archived Article
5/11/2000
Consumer Watchdog
® Patient's Medical History: The dispute between Betty Woolfson and her HMO arose when the HMO's doctors recommended a course of treatment that world-renowned neurosurgeons at UCLA Medical Center believed would endanger her life. Betty's family had decided to get a second opinion because Betty's condition was so serious. The...
Archived Article
5/10/2000
Consumer Watchdog
® Patient's Medical History: Maureen Alexander was mistreated by her HMO neurosurgeon during a routine office visit. Among other issues, the HMO doctor physically abused Maureen, including taking her gown off and exposing her breasts without permission, and sticking her breasts and pelvic area with a safety pin, without medical purpose...
Archived Article
5/9/2000
Consumer Watchdog
® Patient's Medical History: "In May of 1996, our HMO refused an MRI and misdiagnosed our then 6 yr old son, Zakary. Eventually, the HMO agreed to perform a CT scan which an HMO radiologist and HMO pediatrician reported as "clear." Then in April of 1998, a CT scan performed on Zakary for a concussion due to an...
Archived Article
5/5/2000
Consumer Watchdog
® Patient's Medical History: "In January of 1993, when my 9 year old daughter, Carley, was diagnosed as having a rare and malignant kidney cancer, Wilms' tumor, we were running against the clock in dealing with the crisis. The terms of the HMO we had just recently joined, instructed us to use a surgeon within the medical group we...