View Full Version : Help! Need Progressive Physiatrist in the San Francisco Bay Area
07-05-2005, 02:20 AM
Bear with me, this is my first post on the CareCure forum.
I'm currently looking for an SCI physiatrist that I can build a good working relationship with. I suffered a T3-T4 level complete spinal cord injury about 7-months ago and am still figuring out all annoying complications of my injury. I've been working with the same physiatrist from my inpatient rehab, however am not entirely happy with his care.
For Example: Recently I've developed many of the symptoms of HO and through what feels mostly like my own research, talking with my outpatient physical therapist, and asking for referals I've managed to get an x-ray to start the process of identifiying what is going on with my hips. Even when I was finally able to bring this to the attention of my doctor, I've felt that he was barely interested in the topic and not entirely able to give me a complete answer.
I realized that I probably should find a doctor (if possible) who is both knowledgable about current Spinal Cord research as well as willing to more actively help me diagnose and understand my condition. Also, as someone who is willing and interested in developing and alternative therapies, I'd like to find someone who hopefully won't just simply help me learn how to "accept" my current situation.
I have no idea how to find such a doctor. I've asked the various people I know who might have insight into the scene with not much success. If anybody has either general advice on finding a good physiatrist, or can suggest specific doctors that may be above average, I'd be grateful for the information.
Thanks for your help,
07-05-2005, 03:20 AM
UC Davis has a model SCI systems center. You should check them out. Wise.
Google has a wonderful service which I used... searching for spinla cord injury rehabilitation in sacramento:
07-05-2005, 09:59 AM
UC Davis is not a Model System SCI Center. That is at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose. You can find the entire current list here:
UC Davis does have a SCI program, but I cannot vouch for any specific physican there. They are not specifically CARF accredited for SCI rehab. The following in the Bay area are:
California Pacific Regional Rehab Center (Website: www.cpmc.org/rehab )
Kaiser Vallejo (www.kaiserpermanente.org)
You can call these programs and get a list of physiatrists who work there and specialize in SCI.
I am moving this to the Doctors and Clinics forum.
07-06-2005, 02:47 AM
Dr Marc Wakasa, Bay Area Rehabilitation Medical Group,2250 Hayes St. SF, 415-750-5762.
Their office is adjacent to St Mary's Hospital on Hayes at Stanyon.
07-06-2005, 05:55 AM
Ooops, I am sorry. UC Davis was one of the NASCIS (National Acute Spinal Cord Injury Study) Centers. I was getting the two mixed up. On the other hand, a center does not have to be one of the Model System Centers to have good SCI rehabilitation. I know a number of excellent spinal cord rehabilitation facilities that are not model systems. Wise.
07-06-2005, 04:53 PM
Thank you Dr. Young, SCI Nurse, and Kaprikorn1 for the advice. I will follow up with this information.
I have another question (please forgive me if this is obvious or in another section). What defines a "model" system? (or where can I find more information?) It sounds as there can be excellent doctors (as Dr. Young points out) that may be outside of such programs that may be appropriate for someone like me having already gone through inpatient rehab (I was at the California Pacific Regional Rehab Center (Davies), however, on the other hand, perhaps there is more information in those systems that would still be useful?
Thanks again for your help,
07-06-2005, 05:12 PM
I looked into it a little bit and Dr Marc Wakasa is only working with inpatients at St. Mary's currently. Oh well, thanks again for the lead.
07-06-2005, 05:13 PM
I have a WONDERFUL physiatrist through the UC Davis system... but I'm unsure if the commute to Sacramento in order to facilitate therapy is something you're up for, lol.
If you would like any information regarding UC Davis physiatrists, feel free to contact me.
07-06-2005, 09:57 PM
The Model SCI Systems Centers receive federal money...grants, and must reapply every 3 years. These are through the NIDRR (National Institutes of Disability and Rehabilitation Research) which is part of NIH. you can read a little more about this here (http://www.ncddr.org/rpp/hf/hfdw/mscis/about.html).
While many other centers have excellent physicians and care, because of the criteria used in selection of Model Systems Centers, the emphasis on research and professional training, community outreach, and development of a "model system of SCI care in their region/community", Model SCI Systems Centers are nearly always a reliable source of excellent physicians and care that meets the current state of the art. Model Systems centers also have the volume of SCI patients to maintain expertise in this specific specialty, not just in general rehabilitation which may include stroke, TBI, amputation, joint replacement, etc. etc. Some centers that take SCI patients into their general rehab program may see only 1-2 SCI patients a year. It is nearly impossible to be expert with this little experience.
There are also excellent SCI centers that are not CARF accredited for SCI rehab, but the CARF standards are stringent and difficult to meet unless you have a high quality program, so they are an indication of the program meeting a certain standard. It is a voluntary accreditation though, so some centers choose not to bear the expense of application, survey and having to meet all the stringent standards. Some insurances will only cover care at a CARF accredited facility though.
07-06-2005, 10:09 PM
Another group that may provide some leads is the American Spinal Injury Association. PM&R physicians who are members usually have a special interest in SCI. Here are a few in the Bay area:
Nathan Cope (Concord): (925)677-4774
Maureen Miner, M.D (Morgan Hill): (408)842-9296
And at Santa Clara Valley in San Jose (408) 885-2000:
Michael Berlly, M.D.
Suzy Kim, M.D.
Kazuko Shem, M.D.
Agnes S. Wallbom, M.D.
Peter Werner, M.D.
07-07-2005, 02:36 AM
Feisty, thanks for the offer. Yeah, sacramento is a bit far, but then again so are Concord and San Jose, depending on transportation. :) I think when it comes down to it, if it makes the difference, I'd rather find somebody that I work well with. I'll probably try a little closer to home first, but will definitely send you a note if I can't find anybody.
Although, now that I am thinking about it. I'm curious what your thoughts are (or anybody's are) on what makes a good physiatrist. Or what things specifically work well for you. I suppose I'm asking as I try and define that for myself (and set a criteria that I can think about when I speak with someone new).
SCI-Nurse, Thanks for the added references and information about model systems.
07-08-2005, 02:19 AM
I see a Physiatrist in San Mateo at the Mills Pennisula Hospital...Lefkos, Aftonomos, 650-696-4300 Or his office may be able to refer you somewhere else.