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i'm with kaiser so cal in los Angeles. i've completed the options program and am now jumping through myriad pre-surgery appointment hoops in order to get my surgery referral.

i just wanted to give everybody with kaiser so cal a shout out to say THEY ARE NOT IN CONTROL OF THIS PROCESS. be aware that you will need to be extremely pro-active in terms of your bariatric journey or an already long and involved waiting process will be made even longer and more involved.

also be aware that kaiser is farming surgeries out to ancillary facilities because they can't handle their own bariatric surgery load. this adds further complication to an already overly complicated process. i was given two choices for my surgery venue: kaiser west l.a. and an outside partner facility. i chose the outside partner facility because they have their act together and they have a considerably shorter waiting period, at least as of this moment.

my experience so far with this outside partner facility is that they are much more in control of their process than kaiser is, and kaiser has no real idea about how their outside partner facilities operate, even though they try to provide this information (which is usually inaccurate). all you really need to know is what your kaiser doctor needs in order to refer you for surgery, and what the surgeon at the outside facility needs in order to schedule your surgical consultation. my outside facility is requiring me to attend a 90-minute seminar, in which i will be given instructions and paperwork to fill out. between this seminar, paperwork, and my kaiser pre-surgery tests, i should be good to go.

with kaiser, you're going to have to steer your own ship, if you know what i'm sayin'.

Edited by kristykreem

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here's an example of what i've been dealing with: kaiser told me the sleeve is an outpatient procedure. in reality, the sleeve is a three-day hospital stay.

i'm okay with kaiser in general, but this kind of thing, which has been unique to the bariatric surgery department, is extremely frustrating.

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Good to know what I may be into. I am in my fourth week of the "Options" program at Kaiser Permanente in Panorama City.

So far, everything has been going according to schedule, but I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I am scheduled for my Psych evaluation on July 28th at another Kaiser facility in Reseda. I was previously told that there were only three Kaiser Hospitals in Southern California where Bariactric surgeries were performed ... the closest to me being Kaiser West Los Angeles.< /p>

After the completion of the Options program, what kind of wait would I be looking at before obtaining an actual surgery date with Kaiser?

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i did options in panorama city, too. my classes concluded on july 8th.

after your classes are over, you'll be contacted by the office of your bariatric doctor (mine's dr. alskaf) to schedule your final appointment (the appointment in which he reviews your test results, psych evaluation, etc., and refers you for surgery). dr. alskaf ordered a bunch of pre-surgery tests for me -- labs, chest x-ray, everybody has to get a gall bladder ultrasound, etc. -- and my final referral appointment is scheduled on august 9th.

as long as all my ducks are in a row, alskaf will refer me for surgery on the 9th. the next step is the consultation with the surgeon and the scheduling of my surgery.

alskaf's office told me the wait time for surgery at west los Angeles is about five months. the outside partner facility in which i'm having surgery told me they heard the wait is more like nine months. in short, kaiser doesn't know how long the wait time is, which is why i chose the alternative facility they offered me. the wait time at the alternative facility is about a month for the consultation and a month after that for surgery.

i'll keep you posted about how this post-options phase shakes out because i guarantee you nobody at kaiser will be able to tell you exactly what the deal is because THEY DON'T KNOW.

a piece of advice about options: hand in your food logs even if you miss a class. you have to make up each class you miss, but moving forward is about your food logs and homework being turned in. if you miss a class, they are notorious for telling you to make up that class on a date that will turn out to be a repeat of a class you've already taken, but because it's their mistake, they'll credit you with the make-up. try to make sure your make-up classes fall within your current 12-week classes or else the time will be added to the back-end of your 12 weeks. same with food logs you don't turn in -- they hold off "graduating" you until you make up each week of food logging you haven't turned in. keep track of your materials, because they don't always keep correct track of it for you (aka, they don't always credit you when you've turned in your homework).

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i have to add: the panorama city bariatric surgery department and the options department have really great staff. the overall problem is that there's such a massive demand for bariatric surgery that both of these departments are scrambling to keep up with the expanding demand. also, it seems like communication between panorama city and the various surgical facilities isn't that great.

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Thanks for the info. It really helps to know what's in the future and what is expected. Dr Alskaf's office is also involved in my Options Class. I met with him (one on one) back on June 8th, and he scheduled me for the July 6th class.

Miriam and Kelly are conducting the Options class, and so far, I am impressed with their program presentation.

Dr. Alskaf told me on June 8th that I would have to loose 20 pounds. With all the enthusiasm I had for the procedure, I've been able to stick to the 2000 calorie program and have lost about 18 pounds so far.

Is it difficult to maintain that "enthusiasm" after the Options class and before the surgery date is given? I was totally unaware of the amount of time between the end of the Options class and when the actual procedure could be performed.

So far, I have been keeping up with my food and exercise diaries, and I have stayed current with the homework.

Any other suggestions you could offer? I appreciate anything you can tell me.

Thanks

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I'm sorry you're having such a hard time with Kaiser. I had surgery at Harbor City, (which I hear they won't refer to now since they're so backed up) and thought my case went thru pretty well. I think part of the problem started when they shortened the Options class from 24 weeks down to 12. It's as if it didn't occur to them that this would double their case load and now they can't keep up. I don't know why they don't have more of their own hospitals do the surgery. I thought it was bizarre that I had to travel so far for my surgery when there were so many Kaiser hospitals between here and there. Seriously, it must be one of the most in-demand surgeries they perform, yet so few facilities can do it.

I honestly love my Kaiser coverage. I am very impressed with the level of care I get everywhere I go and feel very fortunate to have it. Good luck with your journey.

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mb20mom, you're right -- it didn't occur to kaiser that shortening the options program would double the demand for surgery and they're overwhelmed. kind of retarded, but in general i'm happy with kaiser. it's just this particular situation that's been a little out of control.

mr_mason, just get through your options classes and things will start to fall together in terms of how everything will work. be aware, though, that the options staff probably knows the LEAST about how the medical and surgery aspect works, so you might not get accurate info from them. if you need somebody to spell the steps out to you with blocks, as dr. alskaf's office.

this is my experience thus far: after completion of the options classes, dr. alskaf's office contacted me to schedule an appointment with dr. alskaf as well as tell me about all the pre-surgery tests and appointments i needed to do. they then gave me a choice of two surgery venues: kaiser west LA and pacific bariatric (scripps in san diego). i was told the wait time for surgery at kaiser west LA is about five months, and the wait at pacific bariatric is about two months. when i called pacific bariatric, they confirmed that info, adding that they heard the wait time at kaiser west LA can be up to nine months. because of the wait time, i never considered kaiser west LA. that wait time, to me, is unacceptable.

in terms of pre-surgery preparation, things are definitely easier if you stick to a kaiser facility. pacific bariatric requires everyone to attend a seminar, in which they give a presentation as well as provide everyone with paperwork that must be completed and faxed to them before they proceed with your case -- they need this paperwork plus all the labs from kaiser before they'll schedule a consultation with a surgeon. that consultation includes their own psych evaluation and internal medicine exam and/or review, and they do all three appointments in one day, which means patients have to spend one day at pacific bariatric then, if all goes well, surgery is scheduled.

the seminar i attended was in bakersfield. i live in LA. other seminars are given in anaheim, riverside, encinitas and San Diego, but none of those locations offered a seminar on a date that wouldn't push my scheduling process back even further, so i hoofed it up to bakersfield as fires were erupting out there and got my seminar overwith. as a result, i'm now done with all my stuff and am now waiting to be called with my consultation appointment date.

i've been told it will take a few weeks for my consult to be scheduled, then surgery will be about a month after that. but kaiser is now referring more and more patients to them, so the wait time is starting to lag. this two-month scenario might not be the case by the time your options classes are over, so be prepared for that reality and be pleasantly surprised if your wait time is shorter.

in terms of staying motivated during a long wait time, i'd say everyone's different in this regard.

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off-topic and sorry if this is a horrible violation, but anybody in here have any idea why my profile picture isn't showing on my posts? my pic is well within the size guidelines. thanks!

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My guess is that the wait time varies depending on which Kaiser facility you use. In my case:

5/05/10 - Met with my Primary Kaiser Physician and got a referral to the _________Weight loss clinic in Panorama City. My Kaiser office is in Santa _________Clarita.

5/09/10 - Received my Bariactric Info package in the mail from the Health _________Education office in Panorama City. Per the package instructions, _________I called the office to arrange to be scheduled into an _________Orientation.

5/17/10 - Attended the Bariactric Surgery orientation meeting in the _________conference room in the Panorama City Kaiser Health Education _________office. I indicated at that meeting my desire to continue the _________process.

5/21/10 - Received a call from Dr. Alskaf's office to set up an appointment. _________Dr. Alskaf is the surgeon in charge of the Metabolic Department _________Weight Clinic.

6/08/10 - Met with Dr. Alskaf on a one-on-one basis. We reviewed my medical record,

my reasons for wanting to undergo the procedure, and discussed his

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Hello Fellow Kaiser members

I am with Kaiser Bellflower and began the Options program June 21. I'm doing well as expected, accept for the edema that continues to haunt me.

My classes are great. I've been reading the post and everything Kristy has mentioned is correct. I am also contemplating having surgery at Pacific Bariatric. However, it is easier to have the surgery with Kaiser because of all the extras with PB. But, Kristy, I am with you on not wanting to wait. Some may think what is the rush. Unless you're overweight, you will never understand.

I walk everyday. Complete food logs and be sure to calculate my minutes in walking.

It was mentioned in my class, that Pacific Bariatric is also turning patients away if you have gained any weight prior to surgery. Also, Kaiser Sunset is no longer a participant in this surgery. West L.A., Bellflower, HC are the only three facilities doing the procedure and the outside vendor. It was also mentioned that each facility has only 1 or 2 surgeons and the hiring of at least 2 per facilities is in process. So with this hopefully surgeries can be completed faster and after the 12 week course, it will not seem so long.

By the way, my name is Kristie too.

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thanks, PamelaAM! you're a genius!

kristie, i really did enjoy the options classes but, boy, am i glad they're over. that said, i've been watching a lot of youtube videos posted by people who've been sleeved and i'm astonished to see how many of these people are sent home after surgery with next to no knowledge about what to ingest and how to take care of themselves. it's scary. so, i appreciate kaiser understanding that this info is crucial to our success.

there were about 30 people in my options class and i'd say 30 - 40 people per class seemed average (i had to make up a class with another class, which was just as large as my class). so, it's no wonder that kaiser is backed up in terms of surgery. they're constantly graduating literally hundreds of people every couple of months kaiser-wide. i'm happy to hear they're adding surgeons.

one very pleasant surprise about pacific bariatric: everyone gets a private room with a full bath as well as free guest beds and amenities, so anyone who's staying with you doesn't have to pay for a hotel if they don't want to.

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I, too, am enjoying every part of my class. But to be honest I'm glad its for 12 weeks. The classes are very informative and I live in my folder. I count everything I put in my mouth.

There are a few co-workers that had the gastric bypass with Kaiser-their choice. I refuse that surgery years ago. however, now I believe this is the best one (sleeve) yet.

Have you heard of the gastric plicative? I think it where the other half of the stomach is folded instead of stapled off.

Good info on PB private room and guest and the amenities. All my husband needs now is a bar and a place with good food. He doesn't have a weight problem. Very solid and stocky at 5'11 and 220lbs. He exercises and lift weights 5 days a week. Well actually 7 because he walks with me on the weekends.

I am glad that I found people on here from the L.A. area and with Kaiser I can relate to.

Keep us posted on what's going on with you and I'll so the same.

Have a great Sunday.

thanks, PamelaAM! you're a genius!

kristie, i really did enjoy the options classes but, boy, am i glad they're over. that said, i've been watching a lot of youtube videos posted by people who've been sleeved and i'm astonished to see how many of these people are sent home after surgery with next to no knowledge about what to ingest and how to take care of themselves. it's scary. so, i appreciate kaiser understanding that this info is crucial to our success.

there were about 30 people in my options class and i'd say 30 - 40 people per class seemed average (i had to make up a class with another class, which was just as large as my class). so, it's no wonder that kaiser is backed up in terms of surgery. they're constantly graduating literally hundreds of people every couple of months kaiser-wide. i'm happy to hear they're adding surgeons.

one very pleasant surprise about pacific bariatric: everyone gets a private room with a full bath as well as free guest beds and amenities, so anyone who's staying with you doesn't have to pay for a hotel if they don't want to.

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hi blaqbeary -- just to be clear: the guest bed and amenities at pacific bariatric consist of a fold-out guest bed in the patient's private room, and amenities are fresh towels and bedding. the hospital is scripps mercy, which is a fabulous facility.

i, too, am happy to find other LA-area kaiser people! in the past, i've tended to isolate myself in terms of dealing with my weight and food issues, which i know now was a mistake. this time around, i realize a community of people who are dealing with similar issues will be part of the key to my success, so i'm thrilled that i found this forum.

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