How was your experience with Joanne Kwak-Kim?
Dr. Kwak-Kim meets with patients on their first visit. The NP typically handles subsequent patient visits but keeps Dr. Kwak-Kim apprised of the situation.
One example of the excellent care and responsiveness from Dr. Kwak-Kim is as follows: I was taking Lovenox injections twice daily and one of my injection sites didn't clot. After 15 hours of bleeding, I called the after-hours number on a Saturday night and spoke to an answering service person. Dr. Kwak-Kim returned the call to me herself in less than 30 minutes. She was familiar with my protocol, knew what meds I was taking, and told me how to handle the situation. She also called in blood tests that I needed to have drawn the next day. I was so impressed with her attention to detail and the personal way she handled the situation. I was worried about bothering her or her staff on a Saturday night but she assured me that I did the right thing by calling in about the injection site not clotting.
What one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Joanne Kwak-Kim?
Dr. Kwak-Kim can be difficult to understand due to her accent, so be prepared to ask follow up questions and request a summary in writing.
During treatment, did you feel like you were treated like a number or a human?
Dr. Kwak-Kim's office took a very personalized approach to my situation. I feel like they left no stone unturned. I feel like the staff and nurses there really get to know their patients. The front desk staff knew my name when I arrived to check in, the nurses remembered the name of my older child who would accompany me to appointments, and I feel like the NP assigned to me was very familiar with my medical history.
Describe the protocols Joanne Kwak-Kim used in your cycles and their degree of success.
I was on low dose aspirin, claritin, metformin, and a variety of supplements for the duration of my treatment cycles and pregnancy. During the treatment cycles, I was on Letrozole, Follistim, Ovidrel for the trigger, IVIg, prednisone, Prometrium after ovulation, and Lovenox once daily. After pregnancy was achieved, I was on progesterone support (Progesterone in oil shots and prometrium), estrogen support (estradiol tablets and patches), prednisone, IVIg infusions, and continued the low dose aspirin, claritin, metformin, and supplements.
I had issues with high NK cells and inflammation levels. My blood clotting factor was also higher than normal, which had been undiagnosed by previous fertility doctors. Dr. Kwak-Kim also diagnosed with Hashimotos, which was missed by pervious doctors, as well. I feel like her tests are so thorough and her approach to treatment covers all of the bases. I felt like it was a lot of medication but each drug had a specific purpose for my particular situation.
Dr. Kwak-Kim made sure that I was monitored closely, with blood work at least weekly to check thyroid and hormone levels. Adjustments were made to my medication doses every week based on the blood draw results.
After a complicated pregnancy, we ended up with a perfectly healthy daughter born at 38 weeks.
Describe your experience with your nurse.
Michelle was the NP who followed my case. She was very thorough and did an excellent job of explaining why my medications were being adjusted. I feel like Michelle took a proactive approach to my treatment cycles and pregnancy and didn't wait until something was a problem before thinking about how to address it. She carefully considered my history and test results in making a treatment plan with Dr. Kwak-Kim. Even though I saw Michelle at every one of my appointments, I knew that Dr. Kwak-Kim was still involved in my treatment plan.
The nurses who did the IVIG infusions were excellent. They were so personable, friendly, and did a great job at placing my IV lines each week. I really cannot say enough good things about Dr. Kwak-Kim, her staff and her clinic. They are miracle workers in my mind and helped us get our dream baby after 4 miscarriages and 1 chemical pregnancy in a row.
Describe your experience with Rosalind Franklin Univ.
Strengths - the clinic feels small and personal to me. They were always able to work with my schedule, since I was driving 4.5 hours each way to my appointments. Michelle and the staff were quick to respond to my questions via the online portal. The staff were great about sending lab orders to me via email so I could have the blood drawn locally at a lab.
Weaknesses - it was sometimes difficult to talk to someone on the phone. I found that they were more responsive via the online portal than if I left a voicemail.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Joanne Kwak-Kim.
The billing staff were great at billing my insurance and coding the procedures as medical rather than infertility. Many of the appointments (except for the phone appointments) were covered, the ultrasounds were covered, the administration of the IVIG infusions were covered. We did the blood work remotely so it was covered by my insurance.
I had to send vials of blood via overnight mail to RFU labs for specific tests twice a month. None of that was covered by my insurance, so it ended up being around $250 twice a month for those tests.
Additionally, we ran into some issues with my insurance not wanting to cover the IVIG medication. At $3000 for 30 grams, that added up quickly. Laurie was great at helping me with appeals and we were successful at getting some it covered.