New Los Altos Medical Facility To Support Businesses, Community
By Tiffany Rider - Senior Writer
(Editor’s note: Project Long Beach highlights new and existing programs, plans and projects in town that benefit the community and help the city move forward.)
January 15, 2013 - When MemorialCare Health System decided to open a new medical facility in Long Beach, following its mission of providing healthcare to the communities it serves, Dr. David S. Kim pounced on the opportunity to take the helm.
Kim, who previously led the medical program at the health system’s medical group location in Costa Mesa, told the Business Journal that senior leadership selected him to be the medical director of the Los Altos Medical Facility because of his leadership experience, familiarity with MemorialCare’s culture of patient-first medicine and inclination toward the challenge of launching a new medical program in a new location.
“I viewed this as an opportunity for me that was truly special,” Kim said. “That’s because it provided me with the ability to build these programs and services from scratch, with the latest knowledge and expertise of what’s best for our patients.” Together with eight other medical practitioners and a staff of nurses, medical assistants and administrative employees (about 50 in total), Kim opened the MemorialCare Medical Group Los Altos Medical Facility on January 9.
The facility offers primary care services – from internal medicine to family practice and pediatrics – as well as certain specialties including cardiology and rheumatology. Digital X-ray imaging and laboratory draw services are also offered in-house. For those with pressing medical needs, the facility provides urgent care from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends and holidays.
Starting in February, patients will be able to utilize “Welcome,” automated patient check-in kiosks located in the reception areas of the facility. The automated system tracks patient data stored through MemorialCare’s electronic medical records capabilities, which may be accessed at any one of the health system’s hospitals or medical facilities, according to Kim. The conveniences of this new facility are inside and out. The location provides a secure building with plenty of available parking and a neighboring CVS Pharmacy.
MemorialCare began researching and planning for the project in 2011, and signed a lease for the former Borders bookstore at 2110 N. Bellflower Blvd. in March 2012. “We at MemorialCare Medical Group took the time to understand the needs of the community, identify a location that would best meet those needs and put in place the physicians, programs and services that would be best suited for local patients and families – from newborns to seniors,” Kim said.
The two-story, 33,000-square-foot facility has the capacity to accommodate about 20 primary care and specialty care physicians. Kim said MemorialCare expects to double the number of employees as the facility approaches patient traffic estimated at 100,000 annually.
Adding a medical facility to an existing shopping center is part of a growing trend in the healthcare industry – something MemorialCare has been doing over the past several years in Orange County. These retail health centers are part of what Kim called “a very natural evolution of primary care.”
“A major goal of primary care is to keep people healthy, and that means that those who entrust their care to us as physicians and clinicians should be providing services in a location that is easy to access for those who are ill and those who are well,” he said. “Having this medical facility in a retail center and a building with substantial and open spaces conducive to promoting health and wellness, provides the most modern of health care, in a setting that is warm, compassionate, friendly and easily accessible to our patient population.”
The location not only benefits patients but consumers overall, creating a one-stop environment in the shopping center for people to, at various businesses in the center: get medical treatment, pick up a prescription, purchase fitness attire, workout, go grocery shopping and more. Gabriel Hall, studio owner, director and yoga instructor at Yoga World Studio’s Los Altos location, said he is excited about the facility’s potential impact on the surrounding businesses.
“I’m hopeful that it would impact us positively,” Hall told the Business Journal. “I’ve done a little outreach before with some hospitals in the area. We do corporate classes offsite, so this could be something where we would incorporate those classes for patients possibly referred to us. We do some forms of yoga that are like physical therapy, that are slow and not as physically rigorous as others. Overall I hope it turns out well. I’m looking forward to seeing some more people in the parking lot and the market center activated.”
Kim said he is thrilled with the reception given by surrounding businesses and plans to continue engaging with employers, community leaders and organization directors to facilitate relationships and help meet healthcare needs.
“My hope is that MemorialCare Medical Group will become synonymous with high quality medical care throughout the City of Long Beach and beyond,” Kim said. “I may be biased, but this is going to be an awesome site and one our patients, the community, local employers and all of Long Beach and the surrounding communities will love.”