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Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star

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Kaiser customers say they too are required to go to NOVA for care

Kaiser’s office in Fredericksburg opened in 2009. It is located near Mary Washington Hospital.

Several readers wrote or called in response to Sunday’s story about Kaiser Permanente and its requirement that local customers go to Northern Virginia for advanced care.

The story described how Kaiser told Robert and Diane Clauson of Locust Grove that they’d have to go to Tysons Corner for a CT scan. The Clausons wanted to get the scan done in the Fredericksburg area.  Four readers said, in effect, “The same thing happened to me.”  Two readers said it was OK to reprint portions of their emails here:

From Arva Priola:

I experienced this myself last week. I had to travel to Tysons Corner to get an IV antibiotic and to Woodbridge the next night. If you’re sick and single, you don’t want to ask someone to go with you, because it’s so far. I hope the article will help change things in the area.

From William Davis:

I have been with Kaiser for over 30 years. Since Kaiser opened in Fredericksburg in 2009, I have used that office exclusively.

I suffer from a condition called ulcerative colitis and have had part of my lower intestine removed due to diverticulitis.  I have had approximately six colonoscopies in the last eight years, partly due to this condition and also due to polyps which were detected and removed during some of these procedures.

My last colonoscopy was performed here in Fredericksburg by an out-of-plan provider that Kaiser referred me to.  It was a God-send to be able to do this procedure so close to home.  I now fear that I will be forced to have my next colonoscopy performed by in-plan providers in Falls Church.  By MapQuest, this is 150 miles round-trip.  Two hours each way is not an unreasonable estimate.

The first problem is that I now live alone and have no family anywhere near. Kaiser demands that you have someone drive you as they use general anesthesia.  I have no such person.  With a local provider, I could use a taxi.  I am going to be 61 years in four months.  It would seem that Kaiser is now putting profit above patient safety, comfort and care.

(Sunday’s story about Kaiser can be seen here.) 

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