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Small Ob/Gyn Practices
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Small Ob/Gyn Practices
I saw Dr. Ahsan for my last pregnancy, Dr. Thomas delivered my son, Drs.
Honneger, Foley and Mattlock visited me during labor. Today I waited 75
minutes to see RN Alice Cannan before I gave up, asked for my co-payment back
and decided it's time to find an OB practice that prioritizes that human
relationship between a doctor or doctors with the patient. I've always had to
wait a long time at the Sutter Telegraph practice but today's experience
really exposed how impersonal and factory-like that place can be. I'd really
like my next pregnancy to be mellower- I'm a low-risk, healthy person. Does
anyone see a doctor *NOT* affiliated with this practices who can still
deliver at Alta Bates? I have an Anthem policy if that helps. I'd love an OB
or Midwife who will remember my name, ideally, or at the very least let me
know if he/she is running late. Amanda
I recommend Dr. Kurt Wharton. He moved to a small practice for just that
reason. He and his staff are wonderful, friendly, and they definitely remember
their patients. He delivers at Alta Bates, though his office is in Lafayette,
but I found it surprisingly easy to get to, and well worth the trip.
970 Dewing Ave # 201
Lafayette, CA 94549-4260
love seeing just one doctor
You could try Kurt Wharton in Lafayette. I know it is not Berkeley, but it is
not that far. I would travel to see Kurt from Marin, his office is that good!
A real small office feel (he is the only OB) and he delivers all his own
babies. He is super personable and will know your name and remember you of
course. My husband and I both adored him and he absolutely put us at ease.
His staff is also fantastic. I am not sure if he accepts ANthem insurance
though. Worth a call. ANother option is Hsiao-Li Cheng (midwife) in Oakland.
Dr. Amy Huibonhoa
(wee-bin-wah) is GREAT. I love love love her. Even though I
moved 50 miles away, I kept her (just as a gyn now) because I love her so much.
When I was pregnant, she was wonderful. I felt like she was more of a friend
than a doctor. She was very responsive to all my concerns, called me back when
I called in with questions or concerns, and I felt like she provided great
care. My water broke just after 5pm on a night she wasn't on call but she still
stayed late to deliver my baby.
The only time I was kept waiting for long, she had to leave for an emergency
with a patient across the street (at Alta Bates), and I was told she was gone,
given an estimate for when she would return, and given the option to
I am expecting twins and though i have an initial
appointment set up at Dr. Ahsan's practice i am worried
about how large a delivery group she shares call with. Are
there any OB's out there, with twin experience, who have a
small group of on call Dr's?
My ob/gyn, Debra Levinsky has a small call group for around
here - 6 doctors. When I was pregnant she was on-call two
weekdays every week and then they rotated the weekends. I
don't know about her twin experience but overall she is very
experienced. The doctors I know she shares call with are
Streitfeld, Nishimine, and Lizano.
Does anyone have any opinion on whether a large OB practice
or a sole practitioner tends to work out better for
pregnancy and delivery? I currently see Dr. Honegger at
Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation, and I like her and the 2
other OBs at the office, but for delivery any one of the 12
total physicians from the group's 3 offices will be on call,
and I am concerned about a stranger possibly delivering my
baby. Also the staff at the office are a bit brusque and
impersonal. Any thoughts?
Having a sole practitioner will not guarantee that delivery will be
by him/her. I had a GREAT sole practitioner OB/GYN (Margaret
Cuthbert who retired after getting a book contract to write medical
mysteries but that's another story...!) But BOTH times I was under
her care, I ended up in delivery with Deborah Levinsky (also
excellent) a sole practitioner that had a mutual backup agreeement
with Margaret. To tell you the truth, the labor nurses are who
really are in the labor room with you (and the Alta Bates nurses
when I gave birth were just fantastic!). The doctor gets there
just in time for the main event unless there are complications. I
suggest that if having personal and continuous care is really
important for you, that you add a midwife to your ''team''. In
terms of your OB choice now, your confidence/trust/comfort in your
OB is what is paramount. But if having a warm office staff is part
of what will make/break your baby experience than that is a reason
i hear you about the dilemma. i'm also part of the disturbingly
large sutter medical which feels like a factory. the good thing is,
someone from the office will be there at all times. while i never
delivered with my sole-practicing doc in LA, he had two more
doctors to handle the hospital deliveries, so i'm assuming other
sole practitioners also have networks to help them and each other.
it's unreasonable to ask a doctor to be around for 40+ hours
straight when others can handle the task and less likely to be
so as long as you found some doctors you like, i don't think you
have to worry. my doc was on vacation when i was induced, and i
think i had at least 3 different docs throughout my hospital stay.
while i prefer some doctors over others, i know all the doctors are
doing everything possible to make sure that all births go as
smoothly as possible. i used to obsess about doctor issues, but
once the labor process began, i didn't care who delivered, as long
as it went well. good luck!!
less high-strung mom
Most smaller practices and solo OB providers will participate in a
call group with multiple providers. If you go to a solo provider,
odds are that someone else will deliver your baby. If you like Dr.
Honeggar and her partners, I recommend sticking with them. With
respect to the office staff, please keep in mind that people who
work in medical front offices are in near constant interaction with
the public - patients like you, family members, other doctor's
office staff, other providers, insurance companies... They are
constantly juggling multiple tasks at once. Their day is dynamic
and unpredictable - especially in a busy OB practice - and they
frequently must deal with frustrated, worried, stressed, or angry
people. They cannot be effusively friendly always with everyone,
day in and day out. It is reasonable to expect efficient
politeness, but anything more than that is not realistic. Put
yourself in their shoes, and cut them a little slack. I wish you a
healthy pregnancy and healthy baby. When you look back on it all in several
months, you'll know that all the other details are insignificant.
I had two children with Dr. Honegger's OB practice group. Dr.
Honegger delivered my first child when the practice consisted of
about 6 doctors who were all in the same office. I had the chance
to meet all of the doctors and Dr. Honegger was great. Between my
first and second child the practice changed considerably. They
incorporated the other offices/doctors as you explained. I was
given the option of scheduling appointments with the outside
doctors before delivering my second child but it was a virtually
impossible task. I was pregnant, working and chasing around a
toddler. Long story short, a doctor I did not know showed up for
the delivery and she had a terrible bedside manner. Really, truly
awful. The good news is that the delivery was complication free
and my daughter was/is beautiful and perfect. If I had to do it
over again I would have changed to a smaller practice. I didn't
realize how great I had it the first time around.
You are fortunate to have the choice as there are some medical
plans (I think Kaiser is one of them) that pretty much guarantee a
strange doctor at your delivery - and usually a resident in tow.
So feel blessed you have options.
Sorry to babble and best of luck on your choice.
i posted a couple of weeks to this, basically saying that at large
OB practice is fine, though it's more of a baby factory. but i do
have a couple of more gripes about that particular office.
when i wasn't pregnant and just wanted to schedule a simple annual,
they cancelled and rescheduled me 3 times. and it's not like these
were rescheduled on the same week - we're talking over a month
later. after getting delayed for several months, i finally asked if
i could see a nurse practitioner instead, and they said fine. you'd
think with a rotational system, another doctor in the office could
see you instead of cancelling you.
the front office is not good about returning calls - i've been
waiting for almost 2 weeks. i do like my doctor and several others
in that office, but maybe they have too many patients because i'm
quite annoyed at this point.
it's tough finding an ob-gyn in this town, so have your baby, and
stick with the doctor(s) since you feel comfortable with them. i
think i'm going to start looking elsewhere.
- been there, hopefully done that
this page was last updated: Jun 13, 2011
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