Medical Team Building Malibu Urgent Care 2.0

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(From left) Dr. Noosha Davani, Dr. Lauren Pike and Urgent Care Manager Felicia Baselli pose for a photo with the urgent care staff on Feb 15. Photo by Emmanuel Luissi/TMT.

As the city’s only local emergency medical facility, the Malibu Urgent Care center staff understands its importance to the community and acts as not just a run of the mill urgent care, but provides care that is nearly on par with hospital emergency rooms.

Malibu Urgent Care has continued to expand on its diagnostic capabilities, including laboratory and imaging equipment, and has bolstered a staff of adult and pediatric board-certified emergency physicians as they look to a future of serving the Malibu community.

The care provided at the facility allows Malibu residents to stay within the city to treat injuries or emergency conditions that would otherwise require them to travel to hospitals in Santa Monica, West Hills, or Thousand Oaks.

The expertise among the facility staff allows them to manage approximately 95 percent of patients that would otherwise require referral to an emergency department, offering residents high-quality care at significantly lower costs.

The center uniquely operates 365 days a year and includes after-hour care between 5 and 7 p.m.

The center will continue to build on its success of caring for Malibu residents after a busy 2022 during which the center saw over 14,000 patients, treated 2030 pediatric patients, cared for more than 740 patients with cardiac complaints, obtained same-day imaging for over 700 patients, sutured over 570 complex lacerations, set over 140 fractures, and averted over 800 visits to surrounding hospitals by providing emergency room level care.

Board-certified Emergency Physician Dr. Dan Katz said that although the urgent care facility is not technically an emergency room, the facility operates to the closest standard to a hospital emergency room. He said by staffing emergency physicians, the doctors are able to assess patients as if they were being seen in an emergency department. 

He said the main difference between their care and an emergency room’s care has been the limitations related to the facility’s imaging and nursing staff. However, since he and Dr. Lauren Pike took over the practice, they have committed to expanding their capabilities to most closely run like a true emergency room.

“We’ve really expanded our facility’s ability to diagnose different conditions,” Katz said. “We’ve expanded the different types of laboratory services that we offer, expanded the imaging services that we offer, and have gotten additional diagnostic tools. We’re basically set up here to take care of anything from head to toe.”

The facility has expanded on services that allow the highly skilled doctors to assess and treat medical issues related to chest/abdominal pain, orthopedic issues such as fractures or dislocations, complex lacerations, injuries or complications with the eyes, and obstetric/gynecologic conditions.

The facility is capable of performing imaging such as X-ray, ultrasounds, and electrocardiograms (EKG) and laboratory testing such as complete blood count (CBC), comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP), urinalysis test (U/A), d-dimer testing and cardiac troponin tests among many others with immediate results. 

Equipment additions have included a slit lamp, tonometry machine, digital x-ray machine, point-of-care ultrasound machine, handheld digital vein finder, plastic-grade surgical trays, and fiberoptic scope for ear, nose, and throat (ENT) issues.

Pike, also a board-certified emergency physician, said patients should expect a high level of care but also a sense of community with their staff.

“It’s a little more personalized,” Pike said. “We treat people like we’d want our family members to be treated. Our physicians call patients back the next day to check and see how they’re doing and go over lab results. We have our doctors doing that, not just an email sent to you.”

Malibu Urgent Care Manager Felicia Baselli said she loves working at the center and loves serving her community.

“You get to know the patients. A lot of the locals come here and use our doctors as their primary doctor so they don’t have to leave Malibu,” Baselli said. “We get to know the patients by first name and it’s very community oriented and personable. Our doctors set the standard on how we treat our patients.” 

The facility provides significantly more cost-efficient health care than a hospital. While a hospital visit results in multiple specific fees, an urgent care visit is billed as a bundle of services, allowing Malibu Urgent Care to provide the same level of care at a fraction of the cost.

Katz said that although they are happy to serve the community at a fraction of the cost, urgent care centers also do not get reimbursed at the same rate that hospitals do. 

He said the center is reliant on support from the community and the Friends of Malibu Urgent Care, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that oversees the fundraising for the facility. He said with the group’s help, the facility was able to purchase new equipment, expand its services and continue to stay open on holidays and after hours. 

He expects the facility to continue to be expanded upon and hopes to continue to receive the support of the community.

“Our plan is to build Malibu Urgent Care 2.0, that’s what we’re headed towards,” Katz said. “We are looking to further upgrade the facility and further upgrade our capabilities so that we can manage to treat even more complex conditions in the future.”

He said that Malibu Urgent Care ’s commitment to the city has inspired him and Dr. Pike to continue to expand on their services to further fulfill the needs of the people of Malibu.

“They call on us and expect us to provide care so recognizing that the only times we had to turn people away was because we didn’t have the tools, we decided then lets do it. Let’s get the things we need to take care of them here,” Katz said.

Residents who wish to support the Malibu Urgent Care Center are encouraged to visit Friendsofmuc.org or email info@FriendsofMUC.org.