Dr. Albert Arteaga is California’s First-Ever CDC Childhood Immunization Champion
(San Bernardino, Calif.) Dr. Albert Arteaga, president and founder of LaSalle Medical Associates, is California’s first-ever CDC Childhood Immunization Champion and one of only 39 across the country receiving the prestigious honor.
The award given by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognizes advocates who work to make sure children are protected by immunizations. Nominations for the award are open to one individual from each state. Already, LaSalle’s clinics boast a 91 percent influenza immunization coverage rate among its staff and medical associates, which serves as an example for its patients.
“We are seeing the results of three years of work coming to fruition,’’ says Arteaga on his honor as a CDC Immunization Champion. “To me, as a pediatrician, this is like the good housekeeping seal of approval. On an emotional level, it’s like winning the battle of Cinco de Mayo, Bunker Hill and the World Cup all at the last minute.”
In recent years, Dr. Arteaga and his staff have increased childhood immunizations rates among their patients. Highlighting this success is a pilot project created a few years ago in which each LaSalle clinic staff collected, sorted and organized data identifying pediatric patients in need of updates to their childhood immunization charts. Parents of those children were called and asked to bring them in for their immunizations, Dr. Arteaga says.
This pilot project is now a permanent part of LaSalle’s culture and routine, Arteaga says.
“As pediatricians, we strive for 100 percent immunizations of pediatric patients and, while that’s probably a utopian objective, our goal is to get as close as to that 100 percent as we can. And, friendly reminders can only go so far, which is a reason we needed a better approach,’’ says Dr. Arteaga. “This CDC recognition is the fruit of two to three years of intense labor on part of me and staff.”
While the number of children receiving vaccinations in pediatric offices is high, the percentage of those children whose vaccinations are up to date may not be, says Dr. Arteaga. This statistic is in no way a reflection of a possible deficiency in services as the onus is on the parents to ensure their children are up to date on their vaccines. LaSalle’s goal is to ensure each pediatric patient’s immunization chart is updated.
“Friendly reminders can only go so far, which is a reason we needed a better approach to reach parents. The CDC recognition is a reflection of our work to reach parents,’’ Dr. Arteaga says. “From a pediatric stand-point, this honor has major impact because unlike, lets say surgeons whose mark of excellence is based on surgery outcomes, a pediatrician’s performance is marked by how much we do in pediatrics. Ensuring our patients timely immunizations is a big component of our jobs and a mark of excellence.”
The CDC Childhood Immunization Champion Award is given jointly by the CDC and the CDC Foundation. It is given annually to individuals who are doing an exemplary job or going above and beyond to promote or foster childhood immunizations in their communities.
Individuals were selected for the honor based on the following criteria:
This year’s nominations were submitted directly to state immunization programs. Managers of those programs reviewed and evaluated nominees and then made a recommendation to the CDC.
In his nomination letter, Dr. Arteaga’s accomplishments noted several community collaborations and outreach efforts to build support for increasing childhood vaccination rates as well as promoting vaccines for various common communicable viruses, such as the seasonal flu. An example is a 2011 partnership with the Inland Empire African American Chamber of Commerce, where Dr. Arteaga co-sponsored a series of Public Service Announcements (PSA) on local radio stations promoting the flu vaccine. Messages were delivered in English and in Spanish.
In addition, and as a member of the Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) Provider Advisory Council, Dr. Arteaga promotes utilizing provider reimbursements as an incentive to increase immunization rates of its members through the Healthy Families Program. Dr. Arteaga is also diligent in clarifying or dispelling common misinformation associated with childhood immunizations. To aid in these efforts, he produces and publishes a quarterly patient newsletter providing insight on vaccinations as well as to dispel any myths and concerns.
As president of the Latino Health Collaborative and a former San Bernardino County First 5 commissioner, Dr. Arteaga advocates for increasing funding for childhood immunizations. He also served on the California State Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board as the physician representative for Healthy Families, advocating for an increase in childhood vaccinations.
“Dr. Albert Arteaga’s leadership and collaboration with others to build support for and increase immunization rates for hard-to-reach and under-immunized populations is commendable,’’ says Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod. “His work with disease prevention of children and minorities is a testament to his commitment to improve community health. I want to congratulate Dr. Arteaga for his work and recognition as one of California’s CDC Childhood Immunization champions.’’
Award recipients were announced during National Infant Immunization Week, April 21-28.
For more information call LaSalle Medical Associates corporate office at (909) 890-0407.
About LaSalle Medical Associates
LaSalle Medical Associates, Inc., operates four clinics employing more than 120 dedicated healthcare professionals, treating children, adults, and seniors in San Bernardino County. LaSalle’s patients are primarily served by Medi-Cal and they also accept Blue Cross, Blue Shield, Molina, Care 1st, Health Net and Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP). LaSalle’s clinics are at 17577 Arrow Blvd. in Fontana, 16455 Main St. in Hesperia and 1505 West 17th St. and 565 N. Mt. Vernon Ave. in San Bernardino.
LaSalle Medical Associates, Inc., is also an Independent Practice Association (IPA) of independently contracted doctors, hospitals and clinics, delivering high quality care to more than 245,000 patients in Fresno, Kings, Los Angeles, Madera, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Joaquin and Tulare Counties.
LaSalle’s IPA members in the Inland Empire include: LaSalle Medical Associates, Arrowhead Orthopedics, Arther Medical Group, Rancho Medical Group, Rancho Paseo Medical Group, Alessandro Medical Group Banning Medical Group, and San Bernardino Urological Associates. Hospital affiliations include: Rancho Springs Medical Center, Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, Community Hospital of San Bernardino, St. Bernadine Medical Center, Mountains Community Hospital, Redland Community Hospital, Loma Linda University Medical Center, Corona Regional Medical Center, Riverside County Medical Center, Parkview Community Hospital.