Malibu residents needing to seek immediate medical treatment without an appointment or outside of normal business hours now have a new option available—the UCLA Immediate Care Center, which is located right next to UCLA’s existing primary care offices at 23815 Stuart Ranch Road.
The center had an unannounced opening just over two weeks ago on Oct. 14. It is now operating from Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The new Malibu Immediate Care Center is one of six “immediate care” locations that UCLA now operates in the area, during a time when many care networks are pushing to expand their access beyond hospitals and doctor’s offices. Although some of the locations are still labeled as urgent care centers, Clinical Director of UCLA Health Community Physician Network Ardalan Haghighat said they are all being rebranded as “immediate care centers.” The other locations are in Marina Del Rey, Redondo Beach, Santa Clarita and Santa Monica.
The care center is located conspicuously close to Malibu Urgent Care, located at 23656 Pacific Coast Highway and formerly Malibu’s only after-hours medical facility.
When The Malibu Times contacted the president of Friends of Malibu Urgent Care, Helene Eisenberg, she had no comment about the competing service.
Haghighat said in a phone interview that, “The new center turned out really nice, and we’re really happy with it.” He explained that when a 2,200-square-foot space opened up right next to the existing UCLA clinic, they seized on the opportunity to expand their presence in Malibu and connect the two suites.
“We didn’t want to start a marketing push until all of the construction was over,” Haghighat explained. UCLA Health is still waiting for signage out front, which he says takes a long time to get approved in Malibu, as well as some miscellaneous furniture deliveries. For now, the center is staffed with one UCLA physician and Haghighat says they will “staff up accordingly” depending on how quickly the business grows. He points out that behavioral health services are available there, as well as x-ray services seven days a week.
Haghighat said UCLA will be sending out mailers about the new immediate care center to everyone in the 90265 area code this week, and that they plan a grand opening and open house in January.
When asked how the immediate care center works with the existing primary care office, he suggested there’s a good opportunity for synergy between the two.
“It allows us to expand our access to get people taken care of in a timely manner. If you need help when the primary care office is closed, you can just walk in next door, and we’ll take care of you,” he said. “They’re side-by-side and the doctors can work closely together. The layout allows them to collaborate and coordinate the care—that’s one of the biggest advantages we have, and better patient follow-up will happen.”
The UCLA website states that immediate care centers are for when someone needs to see a physician during non-office hours for non-life-threatening conditions. For urgent, non-emergency health issues during regular office hours, they say it’s best “to first call your primary care physician, whose practice can usually accommodate a same-day appointment.”
They advise new patients to bring a list of medications, insurance card, name of primary care physician and a photo ID.
The immediate care center’s hours of service provide an alternative to going to the emergency room for: x-rays, illnesses and injuries including sprains, breaks, colds, ear infections, bladder and urinary tract infections, bites, burns, sunburns, casts, splints, lacerations, suture removal, fever or flu-like symptoms, rash or other skin irritations, ear and eye irrigation, breathing treatments, travel health and immunizations, work injuries (with prior authorization in writing from employer to seek treatment), pre-employment exams and drug testing.
People need to call 9-1-1 for an ambulance if experiencing life-threatening conditions such as: stroke, heart attack, severe bleeding, head injury or other major trauma, unconsciousness, chest pain, difficulty breathing, major burns, shock, catatonic state, blurred vision, compound fractures, poison ingestion, seizures and snake bites.