What IS Kaiser?

From the comments to another post:

What is Kaiser? What does it mean? Why is that doc so limited in what he does? Does it make his job better? Are all docs in CA Kaiser? Does Kaiser make people healthier? Do Docs enjoy working with /for Kaiser???

Just trying to get up to speed on this real world stuff. thanks,

Well, now, what an opportunity to educate, but not to flame Kaiser (or Suzanne).

First, here’s their very nice website, and now it’s your turn, gentle readers, to tell us the good, bad and other, from whatever your viewpoint.


  1. OK, I’ll start. I have never worked for Kaiser, and I’ve never applied for a job there, so all this is secondhand from people who have worked there.

    For the docs, it’s a nice way to just practice. No billing, no collections, no worries about medmal insurance premiums. Also, the referral base is good to very good, so good that a lot of things I admit for workups can be done as an outpatient.

    The downside is not much pay for the work that’s done. I’m sure there’s something else that’s bad, I just don’t know what.

  2. Kaiser — well, the wonderfulness of Kaiser varies by locale — some are great some are not so great. The wonderfulness of Kaiser also depends upon your underlying health status, from what I’ve heard. Normal stuff = great; not so normal — it is hard to get referrals out of the system.

    The Palo Alto Medical Foundation is/was another group practice that was innovative (and may still be). Disclaimer: I’ve been a patient since 1955.