The COVID-19 crisis highlighted a long-standing problem in cities across the country: Hospital emergency rooms are often overwhelmed with too many patients.
At Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Centers San Pedro and Torrance, we are dedicated to providing our community with care that is dignified and compassionate. To help patients avoid long waits in the emergency department, we now have two outpatient clinics that offer high-quality, ongoing primary care. Our clinics help individuals who don’t have a physician or who have not received regular health care establish a relationship with a primary care physician, eliminating the need to use the ED for non-urgent care.
One such clinic, the Vasek Polak Health Clinic, has been serving Hawthorne residents for more than a decade. Now a similar clinic has opened to serve the residents of San Pedro and the harbor communities. The clinic, named San Pedro Primary Care–Butte Street, opened in April to support patients in the community who are uninsured or underinsured and don’t have access to regular health care. The clinic is a collaboration between Providence Medical Institute and Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center San Pedro.
“Our clinic will provide primary care services in the right care setting,” says DeEtte Montgomery, chief operating officer for Providence Medical Institute, one of the medical groups affiliated with Providence. “We’re excited about improving patient access by bringing this new clinic to the community.”
Our goal is to offer high-quality care to more people. Patients who are seen in the most appropriate care setting receive better care, notes Elizabeth Sander, MD, a board-certified internist with and president of Providence Medical Associates.
“When patients don’t have a physician, they often turn to the emergency room for primary care treatment,” Dr. Sander says. “They may wait four to six hours or longer in the ER because they don’t have a severe problem, and our ERs treat patients who are in crises first. They are also not getting preventive care or true primary care in the ER.”
“After patients are seen in the ED, they are referred to Vasek Polak for follow-up. The goal is to get them assigned to a primary care physician within our group,” Dr. Sander says. “We are replicating that in San Pedro.”
Our San Pedro Primary Care–Butte Street clinic follows the model established at the Vasek Polak Health Clinic in Hawthorne.
This model of care is often called a medical home, because it is a patient-centered and comprehensive model that focuses on quality and safety. San Pedro Primary Care–Butte Street is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and offers laboratory services and X-rays. Same-day appointments are available.
Patients at San Pedro Primary Care–Butte Street are registered in the electronic health records system, which fosters seamless care and collaboration with other clinicians and Providence Little Company of Mary hospitals. Moreover, Dr. Sander says, if the patient misses a clinic appointment, clinic staff will try to reach the patient and reschedule.
Improving access to health care is important to us.
“We know San Pedro residents support Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center,” Dr. Sander says. “They like the focus we have on caring for all members of our community.”
For more information on San Pedro Primary Care–Butte Street, call 866-909-DOCS (3627).
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