Frequently Asked Questions

Find your care

The UCLA digestive diseases team cares for routine and complex gastrointestinal problems. To learn more about our services, call 310-825-2631.

What is UCLA Health System?

UCLA Health System, the clinical component of the UCLA academic medical enterprise, consists of Ronald Reagan UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center-UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital, Stewart and Lynda Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA, UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital, as well as the many primary care and specialty care offices throughout the western area of Los Angeles.

What is the UCLA Medical Group?

The UCLA Medical Group is the contracting entity for the UCLA Faculty Group practice, clinical affiliate practitioners, and other providers in the community who have agreed to contract with the University. The UCLA Medical Group contracts with HMOs and PPOs to provide healthcare services for their members. UCLA also contracts with other medical groups and Independent Physician Associations (IPAs) throughout Southern California for UCLA specialists to provide tertiary care services to their referred patients.

I received a bill and have questions about it. Whom can I call for assistance?

If you received inpatient or outpatient services at UCLA or its associated facilities and would like to speak with a customer service representative, please call 310-825-8021. If you have already received a hospital or physician bill, you also may refer to the phone number indicated on the bill.

Does UCLA Health have its own HMO insurance? Which health plans does UCLA accept?

In addition to self-pay patients, UCLA works with many payors including indemnity plans, Medicare fee-for-service, PPOs, and various HMOs. The nurses who staff the UCLA Health System Physician Referral Service can help you determine if your health plan is accepted by our physicians and hospitals. Call 800-UCLA-MD1 / 800-825-2631.

Do I need a referral from my UCLA primary care physician to see a specialist at UCLA?

If you are insured by an HMO, or in some cases a PPO, your health plan will probably require a referral for specialty care. Your primary care physician is your central contact for all medical concerns, allowing for continuity of care for members and a central location for medical records. For routine referrals that require pre-authorization, you will be notified of the decision within 7-to-10 working days. If you have not received written or verbal notification from UCLA Medical Group or from your physician by then, please contact 310-302-1300. Urgent referrals (based upon medical need) are processed within 24 hours. Please wait for the request to be processed before seeking specialty care. Without an authorization, you may become financially responsible for the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment you receive.

I am NOT a UCLA Medical Group member. Can I get a referral to see a specialist at UCLA?

If you are insured by a PPO, you may self-refer to specialists at UCLA. Please call the UCLA Physician Referral Service at 800-UCLA-MD1 / 800-825-2631. If you are covered by an HMO, you will need to get an authorization from your primary care physician to be referred to UCLA specialty physicians. Your physician can fax the referral authorization to the UCLA Physician Helpline at 310-301-5391. If you do not belong to an HMO, please have your physician call the UCLA Physician Helpline at 800-825-2888.

What is the difference between a gastroenterologist and proctologist?

A proctologist is a colorectal surgeon who deals with surgery of the colon. If you are unsure whether or not you need to go to a proctologist, we recommend first seeing a gastroenterologist, a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the gastrointestinal tract; he/she will refer you to a proctologist if necessary.

If I have a liver problem, should I see a hepatologist or a gastroenterologist?

Hepatologists specialize in liver diseases and generally are separate from gastroenterologists; however, the UCLA Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases has a Hepatology service. To schedule an appointment with one of our hepatologists, you may contact the Pfleger Liver Institute at 310-794-7788 or UCLA Physician Referral Service at 800-UCLA-MD1 / 800-825-2631 for assistance.