Are you having back pain with any of the following?

  • Severe pain, weakness or tingling in your leg(s).
  • Difficulty stopping urination or loss of control of bladder or bowels.
  • Unexplained fever, nausea or vomiting.
  • A history of cancer or unexplained weight loss.

We understand that you are experiencing one or more of the health issues that might be impacting your back pain.

We recommend that you discuss these health issues with your doctor before proceeding with this program.

Once you are cleared by your doctor to do this program, we hope it helps you find relief from your back pain.

Provider photo for Yi-Fen Chen

Yi-Fen Chen, MD

Internal Medicine

As your physician, I value my relationship with you. And I know that maintaining a good relationship means being able to communicate with each other. My colleagues and I have developed My Doctor Online so that we can stay in touch more easily. I believe a strong physician patient relationship is important in guiding you through health care decisions. Together we can team up to help you find healthy living.

My Offices

Santa Clara Homestead
Appt/Advice: 1-408-554-9800

See all office information »

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Common Questions About Internal Medicine

Here are answers to some common questions you may have about the Medicine department.

What is Internal Medicine?

Physicians in Internal Medicine provide comprehensive care for adults ages 18 and over. This includes preventive care, care for acute illnesses, and ongoing care for chronic conditions. Some physicians in Internal Medicine have a subspecialty such as infectious diseases or geriatrics.

What specialists work in the Internal Medicine department?

Internal Medicine physicians, family medicine physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants may practice in the Internal Medicine department. Internal Medicine physicians specialize in treating adults 18 and over. Family medicine physicians are trained to provide care to people of all ages. Nurse practitioners are nurses with advanced education and licenses that allow them to diagnose and manage medical conditions within their specialty. Physician assistants are licensed to work under the supervision of a physician.

How much training do physicians in Internal Medicine have?

In addition to graduating from medical school, our Internal Medicine and family medicine physicians have completed a 3-year residency training program in internal or family medicine. If they decide to pursue further specialty training, then they complete an additional fellowship. After training is completed, an Internal Medicine or family medicine physician takes an exam in order to become "board certified." This distinguishes the physician as a true specialist in his or her field. Continued certification is achieved through periodic exams and specialized classes throughout the physician's career. All of our internal medicine and family medicine physicians are board certified or are in the process of achieving this designation.

We also have nurse practitioners (NPs) providing care to our patients.  In addition to graduating from a 4-year nursing program, NPs have considerable hands-on work experience and specialized training.

How do I choose a physician in the Internal Medicine department?

You can browse through the professional and personal profiles of Internal Medicine clinicians on the My Doctor Online website. Our Choose your Doctor page will allow you to find clinicians in your area. You can also see whether they are fluent in your primary language. Talk to your friends or to other practitioners you see at Kaiser Permanente as they might  be able to recommend an Internal Medicine doctor  in your area.  Some people choose to have a nurse practitioner as their primary care practitioner.

How often should I come in for a visit?

How often you come in for a visit is something you and your personal physician can discuss. Depending on your age and whether you have a chronic condition, you may need screening tests or immunizations. We feel it's very important to get all the preventive care you need.

How can I contact my doctor?

For any medical emergencies, you should call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Department.

You may reach us by calling our 24-hour Appointment and Advice line or by sending us a secure nonurgent message through your account. I will respond within 2 business days if I am not away from the office. Please e-mail nonurgent concerns only. For urgent concerns, call the 24-hour Appointment and Advice line. You can also fax information to the clinic, if needed, to the following fax numbers:

Medicine Module 260 is 408-851-2159
Medicine Module 272 is 408-851-2009
Medicine Module 360 is 408-851-3392
Medicine Module 372 is 408-851-3209


Will I always see the same doctor?

Usually, yes! However, you may not see your own doctor if you want a certain day and/or time for your appointment and your physician is not in the office at that time. You may also see a new doctor if you need an urgent or same-day appointment.

How do I make an appointment?

You can make or cancel routine appointments and view future appointments anytime at You must be registered to access these secure features on our Web site. To register, visit To schedule routine and urgent care appointments by phone, call our 24-hour Appointment and Advice line.

Do I need to call you first to see a specialist? Which specialists can I contact directly?

You don't need a referral for Health Education, work-related injury/Occupational Medicine, travel clinic, Ob/Gyn, Optometry, or Psychiatry. In addition, if you have seen another specialist within the last 13 months, you can contact them directly by phone or e-mail.

How do I get information and screening for HIV and Sexually Transmittable Diseases (STDs)?

HIV and STD Tests (For members 13 years and above)
HIV Antibody tests are available to all Kaiser Permanente members through our Health Education Department 182. Testing is scheduled by appointment by calling (408) 851-4242. Test results are delivered in personal follow up appointments. Testing for other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can be ordered at the same time; including Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis and Hepatitis B and C. All test results are confidential and are recorded in the member’s medical record. Information regarding HIV and STD testing is available via a recorded telephone message at (408) 851-4253.

Standard Hours:  By appointment (408) 851-4242

Health Educator. Primary contact for HIV test procedures
Phone (408) 851-4242

Info Line recorded (408) 851-4253

Anonymous HIV-Tests are available through the Santa Clara County Health Department by calling (408) 792-3720.

How can I make an appointment for travel shots?

You can make an appointment with our Travel Clinic by calling (408) 554-9800.  Please make an appointment 6 weeks before traveling. We also recommend travelers take advantage of our Portable Electronic Medical Record. For more information, please click on the link below.

Additional References:

Can I get my Electronic Medical Record in a portable USB flash drive?

Yes. For more information, please click on the link below.

Additional References:

Does Kaiser Permanente provide physical examinations for immigration purposes?

Immigration physicals are not covered by Kaiser Permanente. Contact your district/county Department of Justice Office to obtain a list of Immigration and Naturalization Service Civil Surgeons.

When can I get Strep Throat tests done?

You can walk in to see your Primary Care Clinician for testing during regular clinic hours, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  Evening, weekend and holiday clinics are held in department 260. Evening walk-in clinic hours are 6 to 7:30 p.m. Weekends and holiday walk-in hours are 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Where do I get Tuberculosis (TB) testing?

You may walk in and register at the Adult Injection Clinic Department 368 (3rd Floor) Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tests are not given on Thursdays. If request is work related, please call Occupational Health.

Where can I get copies of my immunization records?

Your immunization records are available through which is now accessible through the Stay Connected area of My Doctor Online. You may also obtain a copy from the reception desk in Adult Injection Clinic, Homestead Medical Office Building Department 368.

Can I review my lab results online?

Yes. Most of your lab test results will be available for viewing online. Due to privacy concerns and regulations, some may not be. If you do not see the test results you are looking for online, you can call or send an e-mail message to your personal clinician.

Can I e-mail my doctor?

Yes. You can send secure, confidential e-mail to your doctor at any time during the day, night, or on weekends. We are usually able to respond to your messages within 2 business days if not away from the office. Since we may not be in the office all the time, it's best to contact our Appointment and Advice line with any urgent concerns.

Where do I bring my forms?

If you have paperwork that you are requesting or forms that need to be completed by your doctor or clinic, please bring the information to the Patient Records Department located on the 1st floor in Department 160. The department processes the following types of requests for members: Medical Records, Disability Claims and Extensions, Paid Family Leave (FMLA) Forms, and miscellaneous forms.

How do I refill my prescriptions?

You can visit any of our main or satellite pharmacies to fill prescriptions. You can refill prescriptions online through the Prescriptions section on my Web site. To refill prescriptions using our mail-order service, fill out the preprinted order forms available at our pharmacies. By telephone, you can call the number on your prescription label. If you order online, by telephone, or by mail order service, you can get most of your refills delivered to your home, postage paid, within 7 to 10 days.

Certain medications such as controlled substances and narcotic pain medications require additional processing time due to prescribing regulations. We recommend you submit requests for these medications at least two business days in advance of when you them. Walk in requests for most controlled substances and narcotic pain medications will generally not be approved unless authorized by your primary care physician.

What do I do if I'm out of refills?

If you have no refills left when you place your order, the pharmacy will contact me to request additional refills. Please allow an additional 2 business days to process your order when you have no refills remaining.

Your prescription bottle may say "0" refills, but if you called us in the past for a refill, you may have more refills available. You can check the prescription number online and see how many refills you have, or call us.

As a new member, what do I need to do?

We recommend that you start by choosing a personal physician. You can do this online or by phone.

As a new member, how do I transfer a prescription from a provider or pharmacy outside of Kaiser Permanente?

To transfer a prescription from a non-Kaiser Permanente pharmacy to any of our pharmacies, simply give your Kaiser Permanente pharmacist your prescription number and the pharmacy’s name and phone number. Your Kaiser Permanente pharmacist will handle the rest. Please allow two or more working days to process the transfer.

How do I get a account? What does it provide?

With My Health Manager on, you can e-mail your doctor, find results of most lab tests, schedule and cancel routine appointments, view future appointments, view past office visit information, refill prescriptions, view immunization records, view eligibility and benefit information, act for a child or other family member, and take advantage of health tools, resources, and information online. You must be registered to access these secure features on our Web site. To register, visit or click on the link below.

Additional References:

Common Questions about Radiation Exposure

What is radiation? Is it dangerous?

Radiation is simply waves of energy. There are 2 main types of radiation:

  • Non-ionizing radiation, which is not considered dangerous. 
  • Ionizing radiation, which in high levels or large doses, can be harmful to cells.

Even so, at lower levels, non-ionizing radiation can have several highly beneficial uses in medical care.  For example, we use ionizing radiation in controlled ways to help create diagnostic images, such as X-rays, CT scans, and nuclear scans. Radiation can also in the treatment of some cancers. Our goal is to avoid unnecessary patient exposure.

Can I avoid radiation?

You cannot avoid radiation entirely. Ionizing radiation comes from cosmic rays that reach us from space, and also from radioactive elements present in rocks and soil. You can minimize your exposure to ionizing radiation, but not eliminate it. The low level of radiation that we are exposed to at all times in our environment is known as “background” radiation.

Are medical X-rays dangerous?

Most medical X-rays use small amounts of ionizing radiation. A standard chest X-ray, for example, uses approximately the same amount of ionizing radiation as 10 days of natural background radiation, which we are all exposed to in day-to-day life. A mammogram has similar amounts of radiation exposure as 3 months of natural background radiation.

CT scans use more radiation and the amount depends on how much of the body is scanned. For example, a CT scan of the head is equivalent to several months of normal background radiation while a CT scan of the pelvis and abdomen may be similar to several years of natural background radiation. Even then, a CT scan can be life-saving when used appropriately. However, repeated CT scans may increase cancer risk.

Do the risks of using diagnostic images or radiation therapy outweigh the benefits?

In most instances, the diagnostic value of an X-ray or CT scan is considered well worth the small risk associated with the amount of radiation delivered. No single test can significantly increase a person’s lifetime chance of developing cancer. However, if someone has previously had radiation treatments or many CT scans over the course of a lifetime, this can add up to a risk factor that may be taken into account before ordering additional tests and procedures.

We work hard to ensure that our imaging machines only use the lowest effective dose of radiation to get the images we need.

What can I do the help prevent unnecessary radiation exposure?

Ask if there are safe alternatives to ordering tests (especially the higher dosage CT scans). If you are tempted to ask your doctor for a test, consider the possible risks. Remember that in many conditions the test results are unlikely to change the treatment. And many tests show unimportant abnormalities that may require additional testing and even more unnecessary radiation exposure. 

If a diagnostic test is strongly recommended, it is done so with good reason. For example, the small radiation exposure of regular mammograms in women may save lives by detecting early, curable breast cancer. We will work closely with you to help make sure you get only the essential tests you need, and help you avoid unnecessary radiation exposure.

Can an ultrasound during pregnancy hurt my unborn baby?

No. Ultrasound imaging uses sound waves not X-rays or ionizing radiation. The ultrasound cannot harm an unborn baby during pregnancy.

Can an X-ray during pregnancy hurt my unborn baby?

In general, X-ray exposure from a single diagnostic procedure does not result in harmful effects to the baby. This is also true if you receive an X-ray before you know you are pregnant. However, we make every effort to avoid any X-ray procedures in women who are pregnant. If you continue to have concerns, be sure to discuss these concerns with us.

What is a nuclear scan?

Nuclear scans involve swallowing or injecting a tiny amount of radioactive material that acts as a tracking dye or coloring inside the body. The radioactivity allows a special camera to detect abnormalities or problems in targeted areas of the body such as bones or organs. The amount of ionizing radiation in a typical dose of nuclear medicine is very small and passes through the body in a few days.

If I am breastfeeding, can nuclear medicine enter breast milk?

Certain types of nuclear medicine may affect a mother’s breast milk for a short period of time, typically 24 to 72 hours. Many lactating mothers use a breast pump before a nuclear imaging study so that they can bottle feed breast milk to their babies for a few days following a nuclear medicine test.

Can radiation therapy used to treat cancer cause more cancer?

The type of radiation used to destroy cancer cells is ionizing radiation. During treatments the radiation is focused as much as possible on the cancer cells and avoids healthy tissue. However, there is some risk that radiation therapy may increase a person’s chances for developing a second cancer years later or other problems.

Do cell phones and other technology create harmful radiation?

Current evidence suggests that cell phone use does not pose a significant health hazard in terms or radiation exposure. Radio waves, power lines, cell phones, cell phone towers, TV screens, computer monitors, and microwave ovens all emit low-frequency, non-ionizing radiation, which is not considered a health hazard.

Airport security scanners emit a very tiny amount of ionizing radiation – about one-thousandth of a standard chest X-ray. Ionizing radiation may be used to kill harmful germs on irradiated food, but the food itself does not remain radioactive.

Cigarettes and tobacco products, however, do contain low levels of ionizing radiation that come from the soil, and may significantly increase smokers’ exposure to radiation over time.

Can too much sun cause cancers other than skin cancer?

No, because the sun’s ultraviolet rays – which are the ones that can potentially cause skin cancer – are not strong enough to penetrate through the skin. However, ultraviolet radiation used in tanning beds and sun lamps can increase the risk of skin cancer.

Should I take iodine pills to protect myself from radiation exposure?

No. Iodine pills (also known as potassium iodide) decrease or even shut down thyroid function, which can cause many problems. If an emergency situation arises, health officials will advise the public about the best and safest ways to prevent radiation exposure.

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