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Open Enrollment: Newborns to Grandparents


By Michelle Brubaker   |   September 03, 2019

When Kathy Brubaker, age 69, moved to San Diego seven years ago to be closer to family, she was nervous about choosing new doctors. “As a retired nurse with a cancer history, I needed comprehensive care. How would I find all of the medical specialists I would need as my health issues changed?”

The answer for the grandmother of four was at UC San Diego Health. “I have a wonderful primary care physician who listens to me, respects my input and observations about what I am experiencing and whom I trust implicitly,” said Brubaker. “I love that I can get all the referrals I need from her. I have seen many specialists from oncology, the sleep apnea clinic, ophthalmology, orthopedics, podiatry, gynecology and emergency medicine, to name a few.”

UC San Diego Health’s network includes approximately 1,500 extraordinary primary care and specialty physicians.

“Open enrollment is your annual opportunity to determine the future path of your family’s health by choosing your primary care providers,” said Patty Maysent, CEO, UC San Diego Health. "We strive to provide the highest quality physicians accessible around the region with new primary care and pediatric practices opening across San Diego.”

Location Matters

UC San Diego Health offers convenient locations throughout the county, including new locations in Rancho Bernardo and Encinitas, with additional express and primary care sites scheduled. New locations will be sited throughout the community along public transportation lines.

“Patients should not have to travel far to receive exceptional care. The last thing a patient wants to do is drive 30 minutes when they are ill,” said Maysent. “We want our patients in all neighborhoods across San Diego to have easy access to care for everything from colds and flus to more serious, chronic conditions.”

With the Rancho Bernardo clinic nearby, Brubaker is just a few minutes’ drive from her home for blood draws, imaging and urgent care — all services she has used. “It is so convenient for me. I can use the clinic’s outpatient services even though my primary care physician has her office elsewhere. I can take care of quick health errands, even when I’m babysitting my grandkids, making it easy to comply with my physicians’ care plan for me.”

Baby Hair to Gray Hair

grandfather and baby

Primary care physicians often have specialized training or approaches to care. Depending on your age or that of your spouse or child, you may want an internist, a pediatrician or a geriatrician. Some patients want a family medicine doctor to care for everyone, infants to grandparents.

“As the region's only academic medical center, our teams are transforming groundbreaking research in the lab to outstanding patient care in the clinic setting and the hospital bedside,” said Christopher Kane, MD, CEO, UC San Diego Health Physician Group. “We are dedicated to providing outstanding care during a patient’s entire lifespan.”

Our pediatricians offer compassionate care for infants, children and teenagers through all of their developmental stages. “Children are not adults, and shouldn’t be treated like them,” said Robert Coles, MD, pediatrician at UC San Diego Health. "We have the knowledge to be aware of the unique medical needs children may have. We also have the patience, compassion and commitment to provide the treatment they need, while caring for them as if they were our own children.”

UC San Diego Health also offers a variety of unique services for our growing aging population. Our health care providers have training, expertise and familiarity with the medical, social and psychiatric complexities of the aging process. Health coaches and care management advisors are available, as well as specially trained pharmacists to manage the multiple medications that are common when people age.

In 2019, UC San Diego Health opened a state-of-the-art unit specialized in treating seniors requiring emergency care. It was the first of its kind in California to treat qualifying patients over the age of 65 in a dedicated, customized space. The Senior Emergency Care Unit is part of the Gary and Mary West Emergency Department at Jacobs Medical Center in La Jolla and includes a multi-disciplinary team, including social workers and gerontologists.

Also, UC San Diego Health has been recognized as an excellent care provider for Save My Spot option at any express care or urgent care location. Learn the difference between express care, urgent care and emergency room care and when to go to each.

“Save My Spot allows patients to check wait times and reserve their spot in line at home or wherever they may be, like at work or the grocery store. We understand that health issues arise no matter where you are,” said Kane.

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, heart disease or cancer, you may need advanced care from a medical or surgical specialist. UC San Diego Health’s experts offer this type of complex, sophisticated care with multidisciplinary teams.

When Brubaker’s cancer recurred, she was enrolled in a clinical trial at Moores Cancer Center, the only NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center in San Diego. The center has superior survival and recovery rates due to diverse medical, surgical, and radiation oncology disciplines, subspecialty expertise and early access to novel therapies, such as immunotherapy. “The drug I received put me in remission,” said Brubaker. “I have been able to enjoy many more years with my family and plan on many more to come.”

There’s an App for That

The care of a UC San Diego Health patient is managed through one medical record to assure highly-coordinated, safe care. With the MyUCSDHealth mobile application, patients have the ability to make appointments, communicate with their physicians and find helpful resources, such as directions and parking information, as well as check test results and refill prescriptions.

“It is so much easier to communicate with my physician and ask questions I may have forgotten to ask during my visit. The physicians have been very good about responding,” said Brubaker. “Not having to repeat my medical history, medications, etc. each time I see a new physician, saves so much time and improves the accuracy of the information each physician has by not relying on my memory each time.”

Make the Switch

Ready to switch your health plan? Or add new family members? To learn how you can switch to UC San Diego Health, please visit