Community-based medicine starts with primary care


UCLA Health started expanding and opening medical offices outside of Westwood and Santa Monica more than a decade ago. Today, there are more than 170 community practices located throughout the greater Los Angeles region, and more than three dozen offices that provide primary care.

These primary care offices are the cornerstone of UCLA Health. They are where parents bring newborn babies for their first checkup; where families go for their flu shots; and where adults go to discuss chronic health conditions and weigh the costs and benefits of medical decisions. They are where life happens, and where care teams come together to support their patients’ long-term health.

In the wake of UCLA Health’s continued expansion, here are some ideas we would like you to keep in mind:

Prioritize convenience

Community healthcare works best when patients can access medical care in a location that is easy to get to and close to where they live or work. If you do not have a primary care physician, call 1-800-UCLA-MD1 to make an appointment at the primary care office that is most convenient for you.

As you select your home medical office, consider whether you’ll need to schedule appointments during evening or weekend hours, or whether you’ll want access to specialists and services, such as a cardiologist or dietitian, on site. This can help you decide which UCLA Health office to choose.

Consider your primary care office your medical home

Anytime you have a health concern, unless it is an emergency that requires 911, you should always call your primary care office first, which you should consider your medical home.

The term medical home simply means that this office should be your first point of contact. Your primary care physician and their supporting team will then ensure that you receive comprehensive and coordinated care that is tailored to your needs.

Invest in your health

It is important for every patient to get involved and take ownership of their health. This means developing a relationship with your primary care physician and going in for your annual physical. It also means understanding your health conditions and asking for additional information or support when you need it. Finally, it means following preventive care guidelines, and both receiving vaccines and completing disease screenings as recommended.

Remember: Your UCLA Health primary care physician should serve as the leader of your health care team, at every age and stage of your life.

This story ran in the Summer 2019 issue of The Checkup, a UCLA Health community newsletter on how to live your healthiest life.