New UCR Health Family Medicine Center Opens in Palm Springs

Seven physicians began treating patients July 1; residency training program to start in July 2015

Gemma Kim, M.D., is the program director of the UCR School of Medicine family medicine residency training program that will begin in July 2015 in Palm Springs.

UCR Health unveiled the headquarters of its new family medicine center in Palm Springs, which will immediately expand access to primary medical care in the Coachella Valley and, beginning July 2015, will be the hub for a new residency training program in family medicine.
The 13,000-square-foot facility is the result of a multiyear partnership between the UCR School of Medicine, Desert Regional Medical Center and First Choice Physician Partners, with support from the Desert Healthcare District. More than 100 community members attended the grand opening on June 25.
“Our focus is on creating a patient-centered medical home that will improve health care access and strengthen primary care in the Coachella Valley,” said Dr. Gemma Kim, residency program director and a faculty member in the School of Medicine.  As part of the program, seven faculty physicians are already onsite providing primary care to the community.  Beginning in the summer of 2015, they will be joined by the first cohort of physicians in the family medicine residency program.
“The opening of the UCR Health Family Medicine Center is an important first milestone in the commitment of the UCR School of Medicine to expand access to medical care in the Coachella Valley,” said G. Richard Olds, dean of the school and vice chancellor for health affairs at UC Riverside.  When fully staffed with physicians and residents, the family medicine center will have the capacity to care for more than 30,000 patients, he said.
The program grew out of a need to address the significant physician shortage in the Coachella Valley.  In some parts of the region, doctors are so scarce that there is only one for every 9,000 residents.  “This new clinic is a game changer for Coachella Valley, laying the foundation for bringing new physicians to our area,” said Carolyn Caldwell, the CEO of Desert Regional Medical Center.  The program will enroll eight residents each year, eventually reaching a total of 24 residents once it is fully operational.
The new headquarters building will meet educational and patient needs.  It features more than 20 exam rooms, two procedure rooms, a triage room and a group counseling room.  “Patients in the hospital will benefit,” said Caldwell.  “As a teaching hospital, our physicians will have more than one set of eyes looking at their health issues and defining the best course of action based on the evidence.”
“This is a big deal. Like-minded people came together to create something incredible for this community,” said Michael Solomon, M.D., president of the Desert Healthcare District. Start-up of the program has been supported by the Desert Healthcare District, which in 2012 awarded a $5 million, five-year grant to the UCR School of Medicine to assist in establishing primary care services in the region, launch residency training and expand programs for Coachella Valley students interested in pursuing medicine as a career.
Patients of all ages will be treated at the UCR Health Family Medicine Center, from pediatrics to geriatrics.  “With the opening of this new facility comes local access to some of the most up-to-date and brilliant new minds in health care,” Solomon said.
Also participating in the opening were several elected officials, including Riverside County Supervisor John Benoit and council members from Palm Springs and Cathedral City.

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