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I Heart My Health Care Providers - Lindsey Kuper [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Lindsey Kuper

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I Heart My Health Care Providers [May. 27th, 2006|06:43 pm]
Lindsey Kuper

Last Tuesday the 16th I decided that maybe I'd better try and use my health insurance before it went away at the end of the month. Armed with lists from my insurance company's website, I started out by calling dentists. I hadn't been to any kind of doctor in a long time, but the dentist appointment sounded like the least threatening, possibly even fun. (I never understood why some people dislike the dentist. I like the dentist because they give you free stuff, and because some of the time, at least, you leave healthier than you arrived. Instant gratification.)

I'd sorted the lists in order of distance from my house, and the first one on the dentist list was only a 15-minute walk away. I called and explained what the deal was with my insurance, wondering if there was any way they could fit me in for an dental exam during the next two weeks. I was transferred to someone else, who, after a bit of checking, told me that not only could they do it, but that they had a spot for me the very next day! Nice. Emboldened, I decided to try calling optometrists next. I called the first one on the list and told the same story to the woman on the phone, swapping "dental exam" for "eye exam".

"Sure...um, you just called here a little while ago, didn't you?"

I looked back at the list. Sure enough, the number for the optometrist's office was exactly the same as that for the dentist's. Huh. They must share an office. She scheduled me for an eye appointment the following week, and we hung up. Five minutes later, she called me back -- she'd just talked to the person who'd scheduled my dental appointment, and it turns out that they could do the eye appointment right after that, if I wanted. Two with one stone! So of course I agreed.

When I came in for the appointment, I saw how it worked: one building, two practices, one big desk where both of the patient coordinators hung out. I immediately recognized Amy, the one who had sussed that I was, in fact, one person and moved my two appointments to be next to each other. She was the younger one with the cute shoes. I had a full set of dental x-rays done, which took a while, and then the dentist, who introduced himself as Ryan, had a look at my teeth. Maybe they do this everywhere now, but I was pretty amazed when he popped a tiny camera inside my mouth and live video of my teeth showed up on a flat-panel TV over our heads. It was really interesting. He showed me the results of my ortho work as a kid, and the places where I still had some sealant left in my teeth from years ago. The bad news, though, was that both of my remaining wisdom teeth had cavities. I'd never had a cavity before and felt kind of guilty about it, but he told me that considering I hadn't been to the dentist for three years, I was doing pretty well, and also that the topography of my teeth was such that it would have been hard not to get cavities in those teeth.

He said that he could do fillings, but that we might as well just pull the offending teeth, since they were my wisdom teeth and would likely have to be extracted eventually anyway. When he said that he thought he could do it before my insurance ended, that was all the encouragement I needed. The last time I'd had wisdom teeth pulled it wasn't too bad, and hey, might as well milk the insurance for all it's worth, right? Besides, I could tell that he really wanted to pull my teeth. Heh. So we made a couple more appointments, one for a regular cleaning and one for the wisdom teeth.

Then I went over to the optometrist's side of the office. The optometrist was awesome. She gave me a very thorough, professional eye exam. I had thought that an eye exam was an eye exam, but this was about a million times better than LensCrafters. I was interested in getting contacts, so she did some extra tests to make sure my eyes were suited for it, then gave me a free pair (!) to start out with. And to top it off, her assistant noticed that my old glasses were rather bent and fixed them up for me at no charge. They felt like a new pair.

Everyone at the office was sympathetic to my insurance situation. They made sure that my two additional dental appointments were scheduled before the end of the month, and they knocked something like $45 off the price of the eye exam. They even wanted to give me a discount on new frames. I had a moment of revelation: "Damn...these people really want to help me! They don't like health insurance companies any more than I do!" As I was leaving, several people from both sides of the office were there making sure that my new contacts were working out and that I had my unbent glasses and both of my appointment cards. It felt like the frickin' Coalition for the Improvement of Lindsey's Health. This is going to sound cheesy, but, well, it was just so cool. I felt so...cared for. Then they gave me a carnation from a vase they had on the counter, and it was just too much. "Why are you thanking me? I should be thanking all of you!" I said. "You guys rock!"

This week, I came back for the cleaning and the wisdom teeth. Keiko, the hygienist, got on my case a little bit -- and rightly so -- about not going to the dentist for so long. "You are still young; your teeth, still very good. But next time, if you wait this long..." Stern look. So, yeah, I'm going back to see her in six months. As for the wisdom teeth, it was really easy -- even easier than the first time I had wisdom teeth pulled, which was back in high school. I was awake the whole time. Didn't really hurt. Whole deal took less than an hour. Went home, took Vicodin for a few days, no problem. Now I never have to worry about wisdom teeth ever again. And they even gave me another flower. How awesome is that? The old one hadn't even wilted yet!

The pen they gave me (see? Free stuff?) says "Referrals Greatly Appreciated", so here you go: Powell Dental and Vision, on SE Powell and 75th in Portland. Dr. Ryan Blair and Dr. Christine Gebhardt and their ass-kicking staff. Go see them. They're great.

LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: cerulicante
2006-05-28 04:30 am (UTC)
MUSC has a huge dental school attached to it and the interning students and faculty run clinics there. I'm thinking of getting my teeth cleaned...I wonder if it's safe?

I might also ask about Invisalign; my teeth are even more crooked than before.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2006-06-01 11:31 pm (UTC)
I wonder if it's safe?

I dunno -- would you trust your fellow immunology students to diagnose problems with your immune system? (Because knowing how mice work is the same as knowing how people work...right?)

Personally, I'd probably consider it safe for a cleaning. I'd think twice about going for something like a wisdom tooth extraction, though.

A friend of mine is doing Invisalign right now. I don't think I'd have the patience for it, myself -- I'd take the thing off to have a snack, then not want to put it back on. The thing about braces is that you can't take them off. My friend likes it, though, and says he saw a difference after just a couple weeks.
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[User Picture]From: gawm
2006-05-28 11:43 am (UTC)
Cool :)
That gives me a little hope, as I've been putting off doing exactly what you're doing for the same reason. Sigh. Fuck losing insurance. Well, actually, just fuck the whole damn system whereby only people employed full time at selected companies have insurance.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2006-06-01 11:32 pm (UTC)
You should've heard my mom and her rant about the lack of national health insurance, as soon as I told her I might be losing mine. I love my mom.
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-08-06 10:32 pm (UTC)

vision & dental

Ryan (Dr. Blair the dentist) and I are both self-employed and pay for our own major medical insurance...which is very expensive. But neither of us have vision or dental coverage. We are very empathetic to those without insurance. I had no idea about this posting until a friend on myspace linked me to it. But it is true...we really try to help people out.

Christine Gebhardt, O.D.
503 777 5544
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[User Picture]From: phthoggos
2006-05-28 08:19 pm (UTC)
amazing! thanks.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2006-06-01 11:32 pm (UTC)
Sure!
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[User Picture]From: jes5199
2006-05-28 11:48 pm (UTC)
i've been to the dentist twice in the last 3 years ... the first one found a cavity, but i ended up moving to portland before my appointment to get it filled happened. then, much much later, i went to another dentist and said "yes, i know, i have a cavity" and the new dentist agreed, but pointed at a different tooth! i called him on it, and he eventually admitted that it was more art than science, and I said "well, in that case I'll wait to see if this one disappears, too". so far, it hasn't given me any trouble.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2006-06-01 11:18 pm (UTC)
Yeah. I found this article which says that, although true cavities can't repair themselves, a lot of so-called cavities are actually reversible decay. So, you know, I wouldn't just sit back and wait for your tooth decay to go away, but you probably don't need to freak out about it, either.
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[User Picture]From: leadsynth
2006-05-29 12:23 pm (UTC)
GAH! You are friggin' lucky. My wisdom teeth was the official worst experience ever. It was so painful, I cried. And that's why I dislike the dentist!
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2006-06-01 11:19 pm (UTC)
I know. I felt really bad for you. Well, if you ever come to Portland and need your other two pulled, I'm happy to refer you to these guys. They're good.
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From: (Anonymous)
2007-09-27 04:25 pm (UTC)

Just normal service

I'm approaching 70-yrs of age and I can assure you that Powell Dental & Vision has been treating patients this way for a lot of years. Two brother, Larry & Tom Rask (one Dentist, one Optometrist) started the clinic in the 1960's. My wife and I were one of their first patients. When they retired they sold the individual practices to Drs Blair & Gebhardt, who continued the excellent care and caring we have always taken for granted. Plus they have added a lot of new, up-to-date bells and whistles that you mentioned. On a recent visit, Dr. Gebhardt told me of her website and upon perusing, I found your posting/link. Thanks for reminding me just how special these people are - to you, to us and to all their patients.
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From: (Anonymous)
2011-02-01 09:18 pm (UTC)

Dr. Gebhardt's Office

I take my kids to Dr. Christine Gebhardt, she and her staff are wonderful!!!! I have been treated horribly being on Care Oregon and it is welcoming to be treated equal no matter what your insurance you have if any at all.
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[User Picture]From: Kamela Cook
2013-12-19 06:46 pm (UTC)

Dr. Christine Gebhardt

I took my 10 year old son to see Dr. Christine Gebhardt for the 1st time December 2013. He needed his eyes checked (and ultimately needed glasses)and because he was on the Oregon Health Plan (CareOregon) I was referred to her because she is a provider on that plan.

It was an awful experience.

Actually, it wasn't awful so much as it just wasn't pleasant. We walked in the first time and the receptionist greeted us...she was nice. Then we were led into an exam room with a woman (we had no idea who she was) who proceeded to run eye tests on my son...no personal questions...no commentary...no explanation of what she was doing. Then she rudely chided my son for touching the eye equipment which he WOULDN'T have done had she done a brief explanation of what she was doing...and what she could expect from him.

After about 10 min of NO CONVERSATION and me asking questions here and there, I finally asked "Are you Dr. Gebhardt?" to which she replied "Yes!"

WHAT???? She didn't even introduce her self!!! I was about ready to walk out but decided my son's eyesight was more important so bit my tongue and endured the rest of the "exam".

Fast forward 1 week - we received the call that his eye glasses had come in.

I went into the office with my son with a new attitude...I would just be friendly and see if MAYBE she would be friendly in return.

NOPE. She didn't even greet us. She walked out of a back room, looked at us, and said "oh, you're hear to get your glasses" she didn't greet myself OR my son. NO PERSONALITY!!!

She got my son's glasses. Fitted him...with NO commentary (not "you look so handsome" or "these look great") which would have been so nice for a kiddo who's getting glasses for the FIRST time and is unsure of himself! And then gave him a crappy case. Then my son asked "do you have a mirror so I can see what I look like?" and she pointed to a back wall and said, "you can go back there and look at yourself".

And that was it. No thank you. No "let me know if you have any questions" or "feel free to call me if I can help more" or "have a nice day" Nothing.

When we were done...she just walked away. What a terrible experience!

When we left my son said "can we never go there again?" and I said, "Don't worry, honey, we're never going back - we'll find someone with a personality AND the ability to interact with people...especially children"

AWFUL EXPERIENCE - I wouldn't recommend her to anyone.
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