I only met Dr. Kovalevsky twice in our 9 months of treatment, via teleconference. He seemed knowledgeable, aware of current research, and willing to answer questions at our appointments, but was otherwise seemingly uninvolved in my care...He never called us or sent us a message on the patient portal. I had other doctors perform tests and sign off on clinical decisions...
The two [Harvard Vanguard] nurses I met for my IUI procedures were both kind and professional. Otherwise, I only spoke to nurses on the phone or listened to the messages they left...I had so many instances of miscommunication or lack of proper communication which resulted in huge amounts of stress on my part, and breakdown in care..
How was your experience with George Kovalevsky at Harvard Vanguard?
I only met Dr. Kovalevsky twice in our 9 months of treatment, via teleconference. He seemed knowledgeable, aware of current research, and willing to answer questions at our appointments, but was otherwise seemingly uninvolved in my care. I believe he set a protocol for us of 2 medicated cycles and 2 IUI cycles, but never told us, which caused a whole bucketload of confusion. He never called us or sent us a message on the patient portal. I had other doctors perform tests and sign off on clinical decisions. I believe he had a very large patient load at the time, because were were told we would have to wait 6 weeks for another teleconference appointment after our second failed IUI before starting IVF. I would have trusted Dr. Kovalevsky with an IVF cycle, but not Harvard Vanguard. I was able to switch clinics, have all my records sent over, and see a new doctor 2 weeks before I would have been able to see Dr. Kovalevsky.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of George Kovalevsky at Harvard Vanguard?
Make sure that you fully understand your current protocol before you begin, when you need your medications, how to obtain them, and when you should expect ultrasound, procedure. and blood work appointments.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with George Kovalevsky at Harvard Vanguard?
Harvard Vanguard’s clinic was either horribly short staffed and harried due to COVID, or they had taken on too many patients. No one I ever spoke with on the phone or met in person (other than Jen, the amazing ultrasound tech) seemed familiar with my file, which resulted in errors in care. I spoke with a different nurse every time they called with results. The secretaries were brusque, unwilling to work around my work schedule, and did not pass on my messages to nurses. I had multiple incidences of terrible miscommunication, one of which resulted in us not finishing our first apparently intended IUI cycle. The only time I felt like a human and not a number was when I called one day during my second medicated cycle at my wits end and spoke with a very nice nurse who realized I had never received my protocol flow sheet. She apologized for the error and rectified it. In general though, I felt wholly unseen and unheard through the entire process.
Describe the protocols George Kovalevsky used in your cycles at Harvard Vanguard and their degree of success.
Medicated cycles included clomid for 5 days with an ovidrel trigger. IUI cycles also included clomid for 5 days with an ovidrel trigger. None of my cycles resulted in a pregnancy. I have since undergone one cycle of IVF which resulted in a healthy pregnancy.
Describe your experience with the nursing staff at Harvard Vanguard.
The two nurses I met for my IUI procedures were both kind and professional. Otherwise, I only spoke to nurses on the phone or listened to the messages they left. I got conflicting information from the nurses, not enough information, and no one ever told us we were switching from medicated cycles to IUI. Was that the nurses’ responsibility to tell us? No idea. No one seemed to be particularly interested in my care. I got the impression that it was all so routine that they were reading from a script.
Describe your experience with Harvard Vanguard.
I work in healthcare, and I generally expect to be treated as I would treat my own patients- with kindness and respect. I was not afforded that level of care at Harvard Vanguard. I had so many instances of miscommunication or lack of proper communication which resulted in huge amounts of stress on my part, and breakdown in care. In the continuum of fertility treatment, medicated cycles and IUI are small guns with relatively simple protocols, but they don’t feel that way to a new patient with no information. Harvard Vanguard did a horrendous job both educating me about my care and managing these simple cycles. For instance, we were told we were switching to IUI 36 hours before we were supposed to come in for the procedure. I didn’t know I had to get a blood test to check for pregnancy before 9am in the morning, so no one called me with results and I almost missed starting a cycle. It was difficult to schedule appointments around my own patients- on several occasions I was given a single appointment time in a three day window, 30 minutes away in the middle of the work day. I was never properly informed of my protocol, but it was assumed that I would know how and when to obtain medications. This resulted in me frantically driving to the pharmacy on a Friday after a busy work day to pick up a medication I was supposed to start that night. Infertility is lonely and stressful, and my experience at Harvard Vanguard only compounded these feelings. I have since transferred my care to a new clinic and realized just how wonderful this process can be if done correctly. If you aren’t forced to receive your care at Harvard Vanguard because your PCP is in the system, I would recommend saving yourself quite a bit of grief by going elsewhere.
Describe the costs associated with your care under George Kovalevsky at Harvard Vanguard.
We quickly blew through our $2000 insurance deductible but then only had to pay procedure copays of $40. I purchased the ovidrel through the pharmacy out of pocket since it was $53 a vial instead of $157 if we had gone through insurance. Clomid was covered by my insurance.
Describe George Kovalevsky's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at Harvard Vanguard.
We never discussed any specific IVF protocol since we did not pursue IVF at this clinic.
What specific things went wrong at Harvard Vanguard?
- Failed to call in prescriptions to pharmacy
- Failed to call with results
- Failed to order appropriate test
- Failed to inform you of changes in protocol
- Provided conflicting information
- Failed to convey critical information
Describe the specific things that went wrong at Harvard Vanguard.
As I’ve enumerated throughout this review, my treatment at Harvard Vanguard was littered with incidences of miscommunication. I was not given a protocol flow sheet for my first medicated cycle, so I had no idea I needed to order medication on a specific day, and got my blood test at the end of the cycle too late in the day and almost missed starting my next cycle when no one called me to schedule a baseline ultrasound the next day. I was once scheduled in Quincy for an ultrasound but was not told, and showed up in Burlington. A nurse called me and left a message with a negative pregnancy test result and thought I had just finished my first medicated cycle, when it was my second. When I called to clarify, no one ever got back to me and the mistake was not rectified, so we were not informed we should be starting IUI. When I finally asked them point blank during the next cycle what was going on, they told me I could do IUI if I wanted, and that the procedure would be in 36 hours. At the end of our second IUI cycle, we were told the next step would be to set up an appointment with Dr. Kovalevsky to discuss next steps. We were scheduled out 6 weeks with no further instructions. I called the clinic to ask if we could do a third cycle of IUI while we waited, and the nurse agreed but never put the order in, so when I called to schedule a baseline ultrasound, no one had any idea what was going on. This was the last straw, and I promptly found another clinic with much better patient communication reviews and switched my care over to them. Having my records sent over took 3 weeks and multiple phone calls to the contractor who handles patient records management, but they did send the notes before my first appointment with my new doctor.