Is there a pediatrician that WON'T allow unvaccinated patients in SF?
January 25, 2018 4:51 PM   Subscribe

About to become a first time mom, and I'm amazed at having spoken to three pediatrician offices now who said they promote vaccinations but won't turn away families who refuse them. Fabulous, so my kid may get the whooping cough in the waiting room as an infant. Any SF parents know of rational doctors out there who'll turn away this kind of stupidity? I'm in Noe Valley.

Pardon the crankiness, third trimester hormones. But I am not impressed.
posted by namesarehard to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
IANAL, but it may be against the law to refuse treatment to a patient - even in non-emergency situations.

Also, I completely agree with you. I'm sorry you're dealing with this. I'm almost a first-time mom as well, and exoect to be dealing with the same issue in the near future. Thank you for asking the question.
posted by onecircleaday at 5:00 PM on January 25, 2018

There are definitely peds in East Bay (including Berkeley!) who will only take patients who are willing to follow the standard vaccine schedule (barring serious medical needs otherwise). Sorry I can’t help you about SF, but I’m sure they do exist in the region!
posted by Jaclyn at 5:06 PM on January 25, 2018

I don't know of any (don't live in CA) but it is legal to refuse kids in your practice if they don't vaccinate (for non-medical reasons) AND reasonable to look for one. This isn't emergency care, it's primary care. My ped does have separate sick/waiting areas but I don't know how effective those are. However, they won't let kids with certain symptoms in the waiting room at all; they go in separate entrances directly to exam rooms. Some practices keep special hours for well-baby visits, suggest looking for this as even my fully-vaccinated kiddo could be in the waiting room with something contagious and no fun!
posted by john_snow at 5:25 PM on January 25, 2018 [3 favorites]

My Ped had a separate waiting room for babies under six month. When he moved he changed policy to immediately room anyone under six months. No waiting room time.
posted by tilde at 6:20 PM on January 25, 2018

Post this in your neighborhood parenting social media groups, but without commentary. Just something like "Hi all. We're looking for a pediatrician in the XX area that does NOT see unvaccinated patients. Thanks!" Those social media groups might be annoying at times, but I promise you that they will be a good resources for years to come.

In my large crunchy city parenting social media groups, these are questions often asked and it seems like the tide is moving towards being pro-vaxx in these forums - like, they don't attack people for asking such questions.

And I've been surprised to see that the majority of our neighborhood practioners refuse unvaxx parents, so there is that.
posted by k8t at 6:57 PM on January 25, 2018 [3 favorites]

It is not against the law to refuse to admit non-vaccinated patients into a practice. Most medical practices have a documented policy for dismissing patients, and most state medical boards have at least bare minimum requirements wherein physicians have to provide written notification to patients that they are being dismissed, have to provide a list of alternative providers, and have to continue to provide care for a specified period of time, usually at least 30 days.

In my experience, most places that have a documented, adopted vaccination policy on their website do not accept unvaccinated patients. Agree with asking your local parent group on Facebook for recommendations.
posted by honeybee413 at 7:10 PM on January 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

This is a problem we experienced too. Our way of dealing with it was to always book the first appointment of the day which is probably good practice for any diseases (flus, colds etc.). Honestly though I'd just keep asking the doctors until you find one that does.
posted by Toddles at 10:45 PM on January 25, 2018 [3 favorites]

Town and Country Pediatric Medical Associates describe themselves as a "vaccine only practice." I'm not super familiar with San Francisco geography, but the practice appears to be reasonably close to Noe Valley.
posted by charmcityblues at 4:44 AM on January 26, 2018 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Golden Gates Pediatrics has a policy that "require[s] our patients to vaccinate according to the AAP policy" and also appears to be close to Noe Valley.

A search term that may help you find more offices with robust vaccine policies is "San Francisco pediatrician vaccine policy." There were a number of practices with information on their support of vaccination but not an explicit confirmation that they are vacccine-only; it might be worth calling if those practices are more convenient or appealing. Some examples: Pacific Pediatrics, SF Bay Pediatrics.
posted by charmcityblues at 4:53 AM on January 26, 2018 [3 favorites]

I'm on the east coast, but it's pretty standard for major hospital outpatient peds practices to dismiss (as honeybee413 describes) patients that do not follow the vaccine schedule.
posted by WeekendJen at 8:23 AM on January 26, 2018

Seconding Golden Gate Pediatrics. My godmother is one of their doctors and I was a patient there as a kid. They're pretty serious about the importance of vaccinations.
posted by mollywas at 12:31 PM on January 26, 2018

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