AHH! Chicagi, IL

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Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 326
   Posted 12/7/2007 4:10 AM (GMT -6)   
hey guys,

so i just found out that i got a really good job in Chicago, IL. The job provides medical benefits--which we all know is important. Here is my question---does anyone know of a good GI in the Chicago area? I have to choose a health plan based on "in network/out of network" doctors and I'd like to be able to know which doctors accept which insurance before I make that decision. Does that make sense?? It's complicated to me, so I wouldn't be surprised if it came out sounding like gibberish.

anyway, any thoughts on this situation would be greatly appreciated. for the record--the primary insurance carrier is blue cross.


diagnosed with cecal volvulus, 2006; two colon resections in the same year
diagnosed with colitis 2007
malrotated colon
no cecal valve, removed during surgery

VSL #3
Amitriptyline to slow gastric emptying

UC Dude
Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 438
   Posted 12/7/2007 6:50 AM (GMT -6)   
Blue Cross generally has a huge provider panel.  I am sure you will be in good shape finding a Dr. you like.  I would go to the BCBS website and look for a list of providers in the area of where you might live and go from there.  See if any of those Dr's are listed on the Crohn's/Colitis web page etc....

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 3238
   Posted 12/7/2007 8:04 AM (GMT -6)   
www.ccfa.org has a list of GIs per area. I found mine there! Congrats on the new job!
Tabitha (Tab)

100mg Azathioprine, 2 Fibercon, Colazal-9 a day, Acidopholis Pearls, Nexium

Co-Moderator UC Forum

Elite Member

Date Joined Mar 2003
Total Posts : 10407
   Posted 12/7/2007 9:21 AM (GMT -6)   
Birdiem, I'm sure there are members here from Chicagoland who can give you recommendations. Please note that the only criterion for a doctor to be listed on the CCFA website is that they pay their dues. In my area, for example, there are only three doctors listed, althought there are a lot of GI's here. None of the docs in the practice I go to are there, even though they are a research site and very proficient with IBD. Probably the practice manager decided to cut that expense this year.

Good luck with your relocation!
Moderate to severe left-sided UC diagnosed 2001.
Current meds are Colazal, Azathioprine and Remicade. Completely off steroids for more than a year now! In remission since April, 2006. Remicade has been my wonder drug.
Now tapering Azathioprine, please pray for me.

Another UC wife
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 2111
   Posted 12/7/2007 9:46 AM (GMT -6)   

Hey there Birdiem.............good luck. 

With Blue Cross as your provider just be sure to verify not only with the physician but your plan that it is in the network and you should have very little difficulty.  I say this as every once in awhile I will get a notice from Blue Cross with a note unable to pay the claim due to "out of network" and every time it is just a billing snafu where the wrong code was input by the Dr's office,  Lab or whatever when it was sent to Blue Cross.  You may find from time to time you need to call your customer service line at Blue Cross to get it straightened out.  Keep good records of your appts and what was done and dates etc.

I am very pleased having Blue Cross overall and I am sure you will be as well.

61 yr old male~Colitis 1st diagnosed Jan '05-cleared up within a few wks. Flared again in May '06 (now UC) & hospitalized 5/07-currently heading towards a remission. Osteopena of spine from prednisone DX 8/07  Oct 07 feeling quite normal most days.  150mg Imuran 15 mg prednisone & tapering, 12 Asacol, Lidocaine Hydrochloride Jelly 2%,multi vitamin, iron 1X day, DanActive, chewable calcium, Prilosec 20mg, enalapril 10mg, glipizide 5 mg, zocor 20 mg, baby aspirin, (Fentanyl pain patch 50mg 72 hrs  Morphine Sulf 15 mg twice daily)Cortifoam enemas AM & PM, folic acid 1mg, Fosamax 1x month

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 1015
   Posted 12/7/2007 9:51 AM (GMT -6)   
I have been with Northwest Gastrointerology for ten years. Dr. Gerrold Schwartz is fantastic as are those in his practice. It's in the suburbs but well worth the trip. I have seen several members of the practice at times when my Gi was out and each was great. Dr. Cohen of the same group especially. I have blue cross as well so I know they are in my ppo.

Chicago also has great hospitals downtown (i'm a suburbanite so i don't know any downtown, hopefuly someone will chime in)

Chicago is a great town. If you move here you will have a great time! Good luck. Let me know if I can help out in any way. I am a born and breed chicago girl.
Kelly, 29

Left sided UC diagnosed 1/98 age 19, Pan colitis diagnosed 1/07
Currently on 4x3 Asacol, Rowasa every other night, 15 mg pred. until immuran kicks in...
75mg Imuran starting 8/23/07---bumped to 100mg 10/8/07--bumped to 125 11/14/07
Prontonix once daily for acid reflux, zofran twice daily for nausea

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 486
   Posted 12/7/2007 9:55 AM (GMT -6)   
University of Chicago Medical School is one of the top schools in the country. I would check out the University of Chicago Medical Center and browse the doctors in their GI department. Then I would call and check what kind of insurance these people take. If they all take your insurance then you don't have to make a choice about a specific doctor right now. If they are all on different plans, you could call (or use their website) to find which of the doctors have a specialty in your particular issues. They are also in different locations, so that could narrow it down as well.

Another way to choose a good doctor is to find an internist/general practitioner first and ask that person for a recommendation. I usually like to ask "Who would you go to if you needed a colonoscopy?" Doctors are demanding patients, so if someone tells me X is the best, it's likely to be true! In fact, you can ask this question without being someone's patient. Call a few internist offices and try this:
a) say you're moving to the area. Are they accepting new patients?
b) ask how long a wait for a check-up or any other questions you might have.
c) ask, by the way, who is the GI your office refers to?

Good luck!
UC for the last ten years
Current Meds: 6MP
Past Meds: You name it; I've tried it.

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 135
   Posted 12/7/2007 11:49 AM (GMT -6)   
Hey Birdie,
Congrats on the new job.  Chicago is an awesome place.  I love it here.
Two hospitals you should avoid at all costs, Jackson Park Hospital and Saint Benard.  Two of the worst hospitals in the country, if you ask me.  Both are located on the southside.
Some good hospitals to check out are Weiss (I think that's what it's called) Hospital, Illinois Masonic and Swedish Covent, all on the northside of the city.  On the southside, Trinity, Christ and Holy Cross are great hospitals. 
Check out those places.  I'm sure they will have a good GI doctor for you.
Take care

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 339
   Posted 12/7/2007 1:51 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm in Rockford but grew up in Chicago.  I have heard wonderful things about the GIs at U. of Chicago.  The only negative is their use of house staff (residents) because they are a teaching hospital but that also has its benefits.

Prescriptions: Lialda (on a study) asacol, hycosamine, protonix, synthroid, zyrtec, avalide, nasocort, Miacalcin spray and Trazadone for sleep.
OTCs:  Usana multivitamins and multiminerals, Usana Procosa, Usana Mega Antioxidants, Omega 3, Vit. E,  Healthy trinity probiotics, Calcium Citrate

Colon Pow
New Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 15
   Posted 12/7/2007 6:54 PM (GMT -6)   
Birdie, congrats on your new job offer!!!! I highly recommend University of Chicago Hospital (south of the city). That hospital is ranked 5th or 6th in the whole country for Gastroenterology. They are tops in research and technology. I'm a registered nurse and I'm quite familiar with both the city and suburban hospitals (worked in both). Weiss Hospital is affiliated with the University of Chicago and is located on the lake, on the north side of the city, but I've heard both good and bad about Weiss. You may also want to consider which hospital/doctor after you decide where you're gonna live (or vice versa?). Where is your job located?

Northwestern Memorial Hospital (near Lake Michigan and Michigan Ave.) is also good, but isn't quite "up there" in G.I. like Univ. of Chicago. The G.I. reputation at Univ. of Chicago has been tops since the 1950's. So as julee mentioned, access the website and go directly to the Gastro department and read the profile for each doc. You can then call up and sort of do a phone interview with the secretary (that is common, they're used to that) or you can request an appointment online and someone will contact you.

Good Luck!
pancolitis first diagnosed 2002
remission for 5 years
Recurrence/Major Flare Jan 2007 with no let up
+ C.Diff (rt colon), Nov 2007 (tested neg all prev. times); left colon-severe u.c.
Asacol 1600mg three times/day
Prednisone 40mg every am
Mesalamine Enema (1000mg) @ bedtime
Librax, 1 caps b4 each meal and @ bedtime
Calcium/Vit. D
Starting Remicade December 7, 2007! Yippee!

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 326
   Posted 12/11/2007 11:21 PM (GMT -6)   
I just want to say thank you to all of you. I have only been in Chicago two days and things have been far better than I expected. At first I freaked out because you have to use a key to get into the bathroom at my office, but they have a spare one in the hall that no one every uses (in other words, no one knows when i am there). anyway thank you so much for the advice on the doctors--as soon as i get setteled a little bit more (or unpacked!!) i plan on contacting someone. I honestly don't know what I would do without this forum. I hope you are all doing well and, if not, I hope you take the time to vent here!!

Much love
diagnosed with cecal volvulus, 2006; two colon resections in the same year
diagnosed with colitis 2007
malrotated colon
no cecal valve, removed during surgery

VSL #3
Amitriptyline to slow gastric emptying

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