Here’s the long rambly explanation of how Kaiser sent me in to the ER for a BOGUS reason just to rip me off. The whole incident started on October 15 2017, when I went to after hours care because of a severe case of pink eye/ conjunctivitis. At that visit, I was told I had high blood pressure (a known condition to me since it runs in my family) and was put on Losartan. I was given eye drops that were as explained standard treatments, that “may or may-not work” and that when I get to see the eye specialist they’ll prescribe a more specific treatment The after hours nurse scheduled a follow up appointment for me with my PCP later that week, that I thought was for my eyes and blood pressure.

While at my October 20 appointment, I found out it was only for blood pressure which in itself was infuriating, because after two visits to Kaiser I was basically given over the counter/general treatment eye-drops. While at the Honolulu clinic, my Doctor had decided I needed to be sent to the ER because my BP was still too high. I wasn’t given a choice, and was sent to the ER. I had no other complaints that day other than my pink eye, and was off handedly informed that bp first, eyes second. While at the ER the staff continually had this “you don’t need to be here for this” or a “they sent you here for that?” attitude, and indeed after a few hours I was released with the instructions to just double my BP meds plus check with my PCP in a week or so. Something I feel my Doctor could have easily instructed me to do without the grandiose and unnecessary trip to the ER. In addition when asked how much all of this ER stuff was going to cost me, I was informed by the ER personnel that: “oh that’s not my department, I don’t know.”

Little over a month later, I receive a bill for $1659 for services that I again never asked for. I never asked to have my blood pressure “fixed,” the only reason why I agreed to go, was because I was under the impression that I would not be able to have my eyes treated unless my BP issue was resolved.

I’m lucky that I have jobs that let me work remotely, because if you saw me during those two weeks you would want to be near me. Heck Russ didn’t even want to talk to me. I was almost literally blind in one eye, I had to close one eye so I could see enough, to work on my computer. I effectively couldn’t go to work for 2 weeks because of the pink eye, and wasted ½ an afternoon sitting in the ER for a condition that I had not asked to be treated for.   To add insult to injury, my pink eye was never directly treated, after finally seeing an eye doctor for an additional $100, I was told “it’ll go away on it’s own, after a few weeks,” as I had already been past the phase where I could have been given the correct antiviral/steroidal medicines and now had to just wait for recovery. Also to confirm my initial suspicions I was told that I could stop using the eye drops if I wanted to because they were for bacterial infections, and I had what appeared to be a viral one. From my point of view, I feel as though I had gone to a (shady) mechanic to have my tires rotated, told to get my tires rotated I’d have to have an engine check, magically the engine needed to be replaced and here’s a bill for $1600 and we only rotated 2 of your tires. 

In December I wrote to their appeals and grievances department, and after about 2 weeks was told that I could have refused treatment at any time so I am still on the hook for $1600.  Anyway, I’m appealing that decision once again, and I’ve gone to actionline, unfortunately because it’s a medical issue actionline told me they can’t really do much to help because of HIPAA. I even asked what if I waived my HIPAA rights and was told by the person on the phone “I’m not sure how that would work.” Which to add to my mechanic analogy, when I went to complain to the manager, I was told, well you could have left at any time so you’re on the hook for $1600.

So at the end of the day, I’m screwed, and as I said in the video, DO NOT TRUST the white lab coats at Kaiser Permanente Hawaii, they’re there to make money off you when you’re at your most vulnerable. I needed my eyes fix because of the work I do, of course I would do whatever I was told to do, I was scared I would go blind and have to figure out how to make a new way of living. Can’t freaking believe pink eye, cost me $1600. 

Ricky’s pink eye ER visit


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