LOS ANGELES, CA–(HISPANIC WIRE – BUSINESS WIRE)–Oct. 16, 2002–Kaiser Permanente celebrated the grand opening of its expanded East L.A. medical office building today by inviting the community to enjoy a “Taste of East L.A.,” with the very best in local cuisine. Physician-led tours in both Spanish and English highlighted the cultural spirit of the new two-story, 50,000-square-foot Mexican, modern-style building located at 5119 Pomona Boulevard.
“While many of the nation’s hospitals struggle to figure out how to give appropriate service to ethnically-diverse patients, the East L.A. Medical Office is a prototype of how to do it gracefully, consistently and effectively. For us, culturally responsive care is a way of life,” said Physician-in-Charge, Frank Meza, MD, MPH. Eighty percent of the patient population is Latino. Like many of the medical office physicians and staff, Dr. Meza also grew up in East L.A.
Setting the welcoming tone in the waiting areas are two new mural monoprints assembled under the supervision of Self Help Graphics & Art masterprinter, Jose Alpuche. “A Day in East LA,” by Wayne Alaniz Healy, is a collage of the sights and scenes of the community, and “Quinto Sol,” by Jose Ramirez, captures the hilly panorama of the Eastside as well as the distant skyline of downtown Los Angeles.
Los Angeles County Board Supervisor Gloria Molina and Assemblywoman Judy Chu joined the well wishers in applauding architects Taylor & Associates and Barrio Planners for having realized Kaiser Permanente’s vision of a medical building that reflects the community.
As visitors munched on “antojitos” (a little taste) from Tamayos, La Serenata de Garibaldi, El Tepeyac, and El Gallo Bakery, Meza noted, “Seventy-five percent of our staff speaks Spanish. We treat the members with the hospitality and warmth one would expect from a good neighbor.”
The original, single-story, 15,000-square-foot clinic at 5220 Telford Street was built in 1966, and was the first Kaiser Permanente medical office in Southern California. Serving an average of 7,000 patients per month, the facility had reached full capacity, providing non-emergency services for Kaiser Permanente members, health care services for low-income families and senior adults on Medicare, and health education classes for the general public.
The East L.A. facility is also a Kaiser Permanente Center for Excellence, specializing in the treatment of diabetes, a prevalent disease among Latinos. In addition, the Center provides medical care for children who do not qualify for state funding due to immigration status, as part of the Kaiser Cares for Kids, Plan 2, pilot program.
The larger building will allow Kaiser Permanente to increase the number of physicians and staff in the future and to expand the Obstetrical, Gynecological and Pediatric services, as well as the Family Practice, Allergy, Laboratory, Optometry, Pharmacy, Radiology and Social Medicine departments.
“As much as the medical office reflects East L.A., it is always on the lookout for another demographic shift. That is why all our signs are in English, Spanish and Chinese,” Meza continued. “You walk three blocks and you see the diversity,” said Meza, referring to the Salvadoran eateries, Armenian businesses and the large emerging Chinese immigrant community.
“You may think you know the population, but everything changes. You have to pay attention. This new medical office building is an opportunity for Kaiser Permanente to address community health concerns not just for our patients today, but for future populations and for generations to come.”
Kaiser Permanente is a prepaid, group practice health maintenance organization (HMO), founded in 1945. The Kaiser Permanente Southern California Region has more than 3.1 million members. It includes 3,600 physicians in the Southern California Permanente Medical Group (SCPMG) and 45,000 Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals employees. The Region is served by 11 major medical centers.
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Rober ta Tinajero, 323/783-4496
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