Reflecting its mission to expand community-based, convenient health care to its members, Kaiser Permanente recently opened a new medical office building (MOB) offering ambulatory care in an economically challenged area of Los Angeles that is sorely lacking health care services.

The Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw MOB is a four-story, 100,000-square-foot facility that will offer a full range of primary care and specialty care services provided by 60 clinicians.

The health system projects it will serve an estimated 50,000 Kaiser Permanente members in the area it is located, plus community residents who need care.

“The facility is part of Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to improve the health care of the communities we serve, and not just the Kaiser Permanente members,” says Eugene Cho, chief operating officer, Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center.

Cho says the area where the MOB is located traditionally has been lacking in health care services and also faced socio-economic challenges.

“We recognize that [the residents of] this community have a high proportion of chronic conditions such as diabetes and obesity. So we designed this building to be open to the community and for us to be a partner with the community,” Cho says.

“When you walk into the building, it doesn’t even look like a medical office space. It doesn’t have the traditional closed-off waiting rooms. It’s very open from the time you walk into it,” he says.

The facility also includes the latest technology Kaiser Permanente has introduced into its newest facilities. Patients can register or make any co-pay online at home, so that when they arrive at the facility they can go directly to an open space to wait for their appointments. Several kiosks are available for on-site registration for those who prefer that option, he says. 

“When it’s time for patients to go to their appointment, they will be directed by staff on-site who will help them,” he says.

The facility includes technologically advanced exam rooms equipped to conduct real-time virtual consults with other Kaiser Permanente providers throughout the region.

“It’s an exciting time of change and growth for this community, and with that comes a greater need for more convenient access to high-quality health care,” says Erique Emel, M.D., physician in charge, who was born and raised in the Baldwin area.

“We are very excited to invest in the health and well-being of this community and bring world-class health care and other health amenities to our members in the Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw neighborhood,” says Georgina Garcia, senior vice president and area manager of Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center.

The health care system is seeking LEED Gold certification for the facility, which includes a variety of sustainability features including:

• Drought-resistant landscaping that reduces irrigation by 50 percent compared with typical landscape design, high-efficiency condensing domestic water heaters and ultra-low-flow water fixtures that will combine to save water 35 percent below LEED Gold certification baseline requirements.

• A photovoltaic roof canopy and ultra-high-efficiency rooftop variable-volume HVAC units with variable-volume fans, ultra-high-efficiency compressors, airside economizers for free cooling and variable-volume zone temperature control for fan energy savings. 

• Preferred parking for carpooling and low-emission vehicles as well as bike storage for all occupants.

The facility sits on an 8-acre site to further promote interaction with the community. The outdoor landscape includes a 2.5-mile walking path, a large grassy area and outdoor exercise equipment intended for community use. Outdoor space is designated for health-related classes and community activities.

Additionally, local artists’ work — about 120 original pieces — are featured on each floor of the building and reflect the rich character and spirit of this community.

In keeping with the community outreach theme, the facility includes a 2,500-square-foot conference center where local groups can meet. “It’s our way of opening our arms in a significant way,” Cho says.