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Wednesday, Aug 10, 2022
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Emergency Room Issues Get Attention From Physician

The Honoree – Physician Leader Dr. Stephen Jones Northridge Hospital Medical Center Stephen Jones finds himself in a strange position, often asked to be the man with all the answers when it comes to finding solutions for thinning over-crowded emergency rooms. Jones, the medical director of emergency services at Northridge Hospital and Medical Center’s Roscoe campus, is happy to sit on panels with politicians and hospital executives, and field questions from concerned business leaders. It doesn’t surprise anyone to find that Jones does not have all the answers, because no one does. Still, he’s one of the most respected emergency room doctors in the city. As Jones works to improve the quality of care in his emergency room and make sure that the department has beds for incoming ambulances as often as possible, he also uses a phrase not often heard to describe trauma care: customer service. “You might think we don’t have to care about that with all of these ERs closing,” Jones said. “But that’s not true, patients have a choice in what department to go to and what hospital to go to.” Jones works closely with the hospital’s nursing directors so that patients move through the emergency treatment system as fast as possible and that they see a nurse and doctor as quickly as each are available. Running an emergency room seems to have made Jones adept at entertaining ideas that might seem contradictory. He can simultaneously illustrate the overcrowded conditions while encouraging patients to think of Northridge when they need emergency care. Jones is not without ideas when it comes to keeping patients from thinking of the emergency room as their primary care center. Federal law requires that every patient to visit an ER receive a full physical work up, even if that patients needs are not dire. For an uninsured patient this can mean being saddled with thousands of dollars in medical bills. The bills for one visit are bad enough, but a patient who continually visits an ER for chronic illnesses can be financially crippled. To end this pattern, Jones is working with Tarzana Treatment Center to develop a process in which a case worker will speak with patients as they leave and arrange for follow-up care with a general physician or with a clinic physician should a patient be uninsured. Jones volunteered at Northridge’s emergency room while he was an undergraduate at CSUN, it was there that he decided to make emergency medicine a career. After attending UC San Diego medical school, he returned to the hospital as a resident in 1986, and has been working there ever since. The Finalists Dr. Pejman Salimpour NexCare Collaborative When Pejman Salimpour came to the U.S. from Iran in 1979 he probably didn’t think he was going to build a non-profit that directed parents of young children toward healthcare options without any advertising. But years later, the pediatrician of 14 years has done just that. NexCare Collaborative has been virtually blanketed by the media, Salimpour said. And perhaps that’s because Salimpour’s doing a good deed. He pointed out the need is certainly there: more than “400,000 children in L.A. County are without healthcare.” NexCare, which is based in Sherman Oaks, is funded primarily by the First5 Commission, a state agency that disburses money collected through tobacco tax hikes of several years ago. A portion of that agency’s $700 million budget subsidized Salimpour’s dream of giving back to his adopted nation’s citizenry. Next up for NexCare is a debut of a reading program for young children and their parents. It’s just a sampling of the many programs offered at NexCare, which has a toll-free line where seekers can find information about various healthcare services available to them. For Salimpour, NexCare itself is a form of gratitude, first and foremost. “I feel it’s my duty to do something,” Salimpour said. Slav Kandyba Dr. Duc Tran Valley Community Clinic Duc Tran, chief medical officer for the Valley Community Clinic, has a modest nature that is quick to deflect any praise. Yet, the self-effacing doctor has reason to brag, considering his accomplishments at the clinic. In his last seven years there, Tran has brokered the Clinic’s Medical Resident Training Partnership with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and was awarded the 2000 Educator of the Year Award from the California Junior Chambers of Commerce. Additionally, Tran created the Valley Community Clinic’s multi-disciplinary Chronic Disease Management Team that today serves more than 1,000 patients. “I’m proud of the quality care that we’ve given to patients. I think you have to be flexible and know your limitations. You have to adapt to what you have and work with it. I try to respect my colleagues and staff and be a normal nice person. It’s very rewarding to be able to help patients who otherwise wouldn’t be able to get the care they deserve,” Tran said. As the clinic has grown, Tran has been able to retain nearly all of its clinicians. Most recently, the graduate of St. Louis University Medical School has taken on new responsibilities of the complicated medical provider system and is currently working to increase clinician productivity while maintaining a high quality of patient care. Jeff Weiss

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