With offices dotted across Los Angeles County, Keck Medicine of USC’s primary care network is growing. This fact is especially important now, with open enrollment for Keck Medicine of USC employees set to begin Monday, Nov. 2, and continue until Nov. 15.

The open enrollment period is the only time each year when employees can change most of their benefits, including medical, vision and dental plans. Among the choices is Keck Medicine’s primary care network, which offers patients – from the young to the elderly – a broad range of high-quality health services.

Primary care physicians and nurses from Keck Medicine provide patients with a comprehensive, holistic approach to health care and offer a broad range of services to address health issues, promote preventative health and link patients to specialty care.

It’s a formula for success. Keck Medicine’s primary care practice has grown over the past two years to an average of 162 patients being seen each day at its six offices across the region.

“We have exceptional physicians and hospitals,” said David Goldstein, MD, director of primary care for Keck Medical Center of USC, adding that patient growth has come despite limited business development or marketing. “Further increases in patient volume will occur as awareness grows and access to our offices is enhanced.”

A significant growth spurt in primary care was spurred after Keck Hospital kicked off a primary care initiative in January 2014. The growth of primary care includes the activity of physicians in the departments of family and internal medicine.

The practice sites include Healthcare Center II at Keck Medical Center of USC and sites in Downtown Los Angeles, La Cañada, Pasadena, Beverly Hills and at the USC Engemann Student Health Center on the University Park Campus.

The history of primary care at USC began about 30 years ago when the doors for private practice were first opened. Patients soon learned that they could obtain excellent academic-level medical care without having to travel hours back and forth to other parts of Los Angeles. Patients who had experienced specialized care at Keck Hospital expressed interest in obtaining their general care through USC.

“Physicians are now available to build long-term relationships with patients,” Goldstein said. “Patients span the spectrum from requiring preventative care to the management of chronic llnesses such as diabetes and heart failure.”

The network of primary care is expected to grow further. Keck Medicine leadership is considering the development of relationships with other primary care physicians in communities that might seek quaternary care on a USC campus.

Additional practice opportunities for full-time faculty might develop in areas where many USC employees live.

“Our goals include establishing conversations between local businesses and organizations to acquaint them with our primary care physicians and the various programs that we have to offer, including care to well patients, executive health examinations, pediatric and geriatric care,” Goldstein said. “Our primary care physicians are here not only to provide excellent care to our patients, but to serve as an open door to the outstanding specialty care that Keck has to offer. Our physicians will provide an avenue to assist our patients as they weave through the complicated nature that is modern health care. The opportunities are limitless if we have the vision and resources to make it happen.”

A coordinated primary care initiative for patients with chronic illness is also being considered.

“Our goal is to have one doctor take care of each patient on the ambulatory side and on the in-patient side,” Goldstein said. “We have the skill set to take care of patients from the beginning of life to the end of life in a sophisticated academic environment.”

Such an approach can also benefit the financial health of the medical organization, Goldstein said.

— Douglas Morino