The UCLA Health Malibu Office has been expanding rapidly since it moved to its new location on Stuart Ranch Road in January.
A new Behavioral Health Associate Program has brought on licensed therapist Desarae Powell, pharmacist Natalie Whitmire recently joined the team, a full-time psychiatrist will soon be hired, and a fourth nurse will also join the staff soon.
“The new office is also more spacious so it can accommodate more patients,” practice manager Maisa Rodriguez said. “We have three full-time doctors now. That helps maintain the patient load.”
The UCLA Health Malibu office serves more than 4,700 patients from the community. But, the clinic first started out as Dr. Scott Bateman’s private practice. He moved to Malibu in 1977 and shortly after decided to open his own private practice. In 1997, UCLA merged the office into the UCLA system.
“We both learned how to better manage a community practice,” Dr. Bateman said. “Our purpose has been to serve the community and give the highest quality of medicine possible. We have access to some of the best referral services, which is wonderful.”
One of the biggest transitions into the new location includes digitizing everything with computers in every room and offering electronic medical records to patients.
“Patients can schedule and cancel appointments, view labs, contact physicians directly, follow up on refills, and so much more,” Rodriguez said. “It’s been working out wonderfully. It’s been a huge adjustment for Dr. Bateman but he’s doing an outstanding job at it.”
The community has also greatly benefited from the new X-ray machines. Patients can now walk in, see Dr. Bateman immediately and if they have what feels like a break or fracture, he can do an X-ray and make a cast on the spot.
Behavioral health and a licensed therapist was what the community asked for the most, so it was added first. Other specialists will soon follow.
“The more specialized the doctor is, the closer they need to be to a hospital,” Dr. Bateman said. “For example, obstetricians need to be right next to a hospital because they get called out all the time. They don’t have enough volume in Malibu to make it worth their while. We don’t have a place for deliveries here. But a part-time OB might work.”
The Malibu community is used to choosing the major centers such as UCLA Hospital and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for labor and delivery. Dr. Bateman’s advice for women who want to avoid a caesarean section: choose a hospital and a doctor that has a low C-section rate.
“It also depends on the individuals education,” Dr. Bateman said. “A lot of OBs are getting pushed to do more C-sections that are not medically necessary because patients are asking for it. Patients say it’s more convenient. They say they want the baby born on Friday morning so they can be home in time for Sunday football.”
With cancer rates also staggering, Dr. Bateman is optimistic for the future of cancer research. He is looking forward to stem cell research and said things have changed in recent years.
“There are new and excellent chemotherapies,” Dr. Bateman said. “Radiation therapy has been refined tremendously within the past few years. It’s a team approach. not just chemo or radiation. Multiple therapies are used to get the benefit you’re looking for.”
Outside of the new office, Dr. Bateman continues to make house calls when needed.
“I like it because it gives me an opportunity to see patients in their own environment,” he said. “It gives me a better understanding of what they are dealing with at home. It’s so beneficial to gain insight and be able to help them in their own environment.”
As far as his future plans, Dr. Bateman said, “I plan on sticking around for as long as I can. The Malibu community has been a wonderful place to practice. It’s really allowed me to expand my expertise. You have concerned patients here who are involved. It makes it so much easier for a doctor when you have a partnership.”
For more information about UCLA Health Malibu, visit www.uclahealth.org/Malibu.