Six Health Systems Unite to Encourage Patients to Seek Timely Medical Care

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A half dozen of Los Angeles County's largest non-profit health systems announced today that they have teamed up for a public service effort to address concerns that many people are going without important medical care during the coronavirus pandemic.

The BetterTogether.Health educational campaign is being launched by Keck Medicine of USC, Providence, UCLA Health, Kaiser Permanente, Dignity Health and Cedars-Sinai to encourage people to seek timely medical services when necessary and to address growing concerns about a silent sub-epidemic in which many people are not seeking needed medical advice and assistance.

“There is concern that patients with serious conditions are putting off critical treatments,'' said Tom Jackiewicz, CEO of Keck Medicine of USC.

“We know that seeking immediate care for heart attacks and strokes can be life-saving and may minimize long-term effects. Our hospitals and health care providers are ready and open to serve your needs.''

The public service announcements -- which will include the themes “Life may be on pause. Your health isn't,'' “Thanks L.A. for doing your part'' and “Get care when you need it'' -- will be distributed to multi-

language television and radio stations, along with newspapers, magazines, digital and social media, online information, billboards and links to vital health care resources.

“We know many patients who in the past dialed 911 for life-threatening emergencies are now not accessing these vital services quickly,'' said Julie Sprengel, president of the Southwest Division, Dignity Health Hospitals, CommonSpirit Health. “We are instead seeing patients that delayed, postponed or canceled care coming to emergency departments with serious conditions that should have been treated far earlier.''

Those exhibiting serious symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, numbness in one side of the body or severe headache should seek medical attention immediately, officials said.

The health care systems also urged parents to stay current with their children's immunizations.

“It is critically important for children to stay on schedule for vaccinations for the protection of their health and others as well, including the measles and whooping cough vaccines,'' says Julie Miller-Phipps, president of Kaiser Permanente Southern California, Health Plan and Hospitals. “These highly contagious diseases could become a public health issue if not addressed. Immunizations help protect children and those around them from diseases caused by bacteria or viruses.''

The campaign's website -- -- notes that “rigorous safeguards and protocols are in place'' if people need to seek medical care, and urges patients not to delay in getting the health care they need.

BetterTogether.Health was formed by Rhoda Weiss, a national health care consultant, to unite health systems in creating messages for the betterment of communities they serve.

Photo: Getty Images

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