How was your experience with Joseph Whelan at REACH?
I'm so lucky that I was paired with Dr Whelan at my first visit to REACH! I honestly felt like I had done a ton of research on my PCOS condition before meeting with Dr Whelan, but he provided so much more information than I was able to find on my own online. I was so grateful that he was able to provide me with exact causation, through blood panels, to explain the physiological changes I had undergone since I had stopped taking my birth control . My regular OB wanted me to just keep trying naturally to have a baby, even after diagnosing the PCOS, but luckily I used my gut instinct and made an appointment at REACH because we found out that we also had a male infertility factor at play, and some of my hormones were so off the chart, that conceiving naturally just wouldn't have been an option. He has a great way of explaining things in such detail that you can tell he's really knowledgeable on the subject, but also isn't throwing jargon at you to make it confusing. I have had a pretty lengthy period of just getting from my first visit at REACH to the start of the stimulants for IVF, so I have seen Dr Whelan a decent amount of times, but not each visit is with him personally, which is okay because he doesn't necessarily need to be by my side for each ultrasound. Anytime we met with Dr Whelan, I never left feeling confused about our next steps.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Joseph Whelan at REACH?
He loves to talk. So make time in your schedule. Don't be rushed.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Joseph Whelan at REACH?
When you get your office time with the Doctor himself, he is very thorough with you and doesn't seemed rushed to get to his next patient. He covers everything in so much more detail than you could find online. His bedside manner is such that he doesn't seem like he's babying you too much, but will give it to you straight.
Describe the protocols Joseph Whelan used in your cycles at REACH and their degree of success.
IVF with Frozen egg transfer and ICSI
Prescribed Gonal-F (150units to start then upped to 225 for the last 3 days), Cetrotide (used 6 boxes), and HCG (20ml).
Ended up with 31 eggs retrieved, 15 mature, 8 fertilized with ICSI procedure.
Describe your experience with your nurse at REACH. (Assigned nurse: Two: Veronica and Melissa)
Dr Whelan had two nurses that I saw regularly, Veronica and Melissa. Veronica I saw more before we started the actual IVF procedures, as Melissa is Dr Whelan's IVF nurse. She always called when she said she would, always checked up when she said she would, provided great communication and assistance when needed (issue with billing).
Describe your experience with REACH.
Strengths - Dr Whelan, availability, location, good communication between Doctors and Nursing team
Weaknesses - BILLING DEPARTMENT! If you look up any reviews online, all the negative ones are related to billing. Honestly, I'm still so confused about my standings with this company's billing department. It doesn't help that their billing department is not located here for me to just talk to someone, and my Financial Counselor was little help. The put a rush on you to pay for treatments to begin, which doesn't leave any time for your insurance company to get squared away with their existing claims. They tried to get me to overpay by almost $1000 for my services because their information on how much of my deductible I had already met was severely off. So instead they just said, just pay the "non-billable" portion and we'll get started. So I did. Then I requested an updated bill for my IVF cycle and they said, we'll just bill you at the end. I've asked twice now for the total cost so I can just pay it outright and they won't do it. They double billed me for my first visit and I paid the portion it said I owed. Then the insurance company ended up paying it and we were supposed to get a refund check, which I told them was fine if they wanted to just put it as a credit on the account, but I'm not sure that even happened. After I hear back about my first egg retrieval I'll be calling them again to get a detailed account report to explain where we stand.
Describe your experience with your monitoring appointments at REACH.
The monitoring portion experience was really hit or miss. Sometimes I'd go in right when they'd open and have only a few people in front of me in line, and sometime's I'd go in and there'd be 25 people there. They only see people from 7-9 (sometimes I was quoted 8:30) to ensure they get same day results back (which I understand), but they should have more staff available to get people in and out. With my job, sometimes I didn't have the option to be at work past 8am, which made it difficult. My first visit I got there around 7:20 (as I thought they opened at 7:15) and didn't make it to work until 8:40am.
They do things so quickly that I wish they had a little more time to be more personable about your visit. On my 13th day of stimulants,I was greeted by the same limp-wristed handshake of a PA and her standardized questions ("How are you today? I'm ____ and I'll be doing your ultrasound today. How are the medications going?"), and at that point, I just felt like crying. I didn't feel like a person but a number, and I was already stressed and uninformed about why I was not ready for my trigger shot for egg retrieval, and the fact that she didn't even pretend to remember who I was, since I had just seen her less than 24 hours before, was frustrating.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Joseph Whelan at REACH.
My insurance coverage is 90/10 after a $1500 deductible.
I spent almost $1200 out of my HRA account for all of my visits before even starting the first IVF cycle.
I was originally quoted around $2900 for my out of pocket portion, including a $1K non-billable piece. However, what I was quoted as my coinsurance and remaining deductible was not correct. It should have been more around $1900. At this point, instead of correcting it before making the payment to start my treatment, they told me to just pay the $1K non-billable and they'll bill the rest, so I'll just owe a balance at the end.
I was encouraged to pay for my medications out of pocket versus using insurance as they'd likely jack up the price on the meds, and I only have a $15K lifetime maximum on infertility treatments. The total cost of my medications was $2400 purchased from SMP Pharmacy.
What specific things went wrong at REACH?
- Failed to send your chart to another clinic
- Provided conflicting information