UCR Health Physicians to Provide Women’s Services at Riverside County Regional Medical Center

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Board of Supervisors approves contract at July 1 meeting as UCR School of Medicine’s role expands

By Iqbal Pittalwala on July 1, 2014

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Riverside County Regional Medical Center.

Riverside County Regional Medical Center.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – UCR Health, the clinical arm of the UC Riverside School of Medicine, will begin providing comprehensive women’s health services at the Riverside County Regional Medical Center under a new contract approved today (Tuesday, July 1) by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors.

The contract becomes effective July 15.

“Our partnership with UCR Health physicians is an important step in the development of a world-class medical system that will meet the needs of all Riverside County’s communities,” said Third District Supervisor Jeff Stone, chairman of the board. “Our county’s healthcare system has always been good. Now, it’s about to get a whole lot better.”

The contract calls for UCR Health to staff women’s health services with board-certified and board- eligible physicians to care for routine and high-risk obstetrics, including labor and delivery. The physicians, who will all be faculty of the UCR School of Medicine, will also provide an array of gynecological specialty services such as gynecological oncology, urogynecology, and endocrinology.

“UCR Health is pleased to be providing these services to patients in the outpatient clinics and inpatient setting at RCRMC,” said John Heydt, M.D., senior associate dean for clinical affairs in the UCR School of Medicine. “This is one more example of the UCR medical school’s commitment to partner with Riverside County in meeting the healthcare needs of its residents.”

UCR Health expects to staff the women’s health service initially with eight physicians who will be medical school faculty, according to Heydt. Karen L. Noblett, M.D., will join the UCR School of Medicine faculty and become Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at RCRMC in early September. Noblett is board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology specializing in urogynecology and pelvic reconstructive surgery. She is bilingual in Spanish and English. Noblett is currently the interim chief medical officer at the UC Irvine Medical Center.

RCRMC has a robust women’s health program that county healthcare leaders hope to see expand in scope and volume. In 2013, more than 2,500 babies were born at the hospital, which is preparing for the coveted “Baby Friendly” designation. The international designation recognizes healthcare systems that focus on the best maternity care and breast feeding practices. In less than three years, RCRMC has seen its breastfeeding rate among new mothers soar from around 20 percent to well over 90 percent.

RCRMC was established in 1893 as a county general hospital and is the longest operating hospital in Riverside County. Today, RCRMC has evolved into a modern, award-winning institution that trains doctors, nurses, physician assistants and other healthcare professionals. The hospital and its multiple primary care and specialty clinics serve as the county’s safety net system, providing care to patients regardless of their ability to pay. RCRMC leaders are working on new agreements with private health insurance companies that would allow privately insured patients to seek services from its growing network of healthcare experts.

UCR Health is the clinical arm of the UCR School of Medicine, which recently opened a family medicine center in Palm Springs that provides primary care with seven physicians from a medical plaza adjacent to Desert Regional Medical Center. UCR Health also staffs the hospitalist service at Riverside Community Hospital in which 10 physicians provide round-the-clock, on-site care to patients throughout their hospital stay. Over time, UCR Health will develop a variety of partnerships throughout Inland Southern California to expand access to healthcare in identified areas of need.

The medical school, which enrolled its first 50 medical students in August 2013, has as its mission expanding and diversifying the Inland Southern California physician workforce and developing research and healthcare delivery programs that improve the health of medically underserved populations.

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