LANCASTER — Kaiser Permanente Antelope Valley’s new medical director is ophthalmologist Dr. Khodam Rostomian.
Rostomian started on March 8. He first came to the Antelope Valley about 25 years ago. He has held various leadership roles over the past 17 years including assistant to the past two area medical directors.
“We have many goals in mind,” Rostomian said. “My main objective is to focus our operation in Antelope Valley Kaiser continuing the high quality care that we provide.”
Kaiser Permanente is known for a high quality of clinical care standards across the nation. Rostomian wants to elevate that quality of care even further.
“We’re learning more and more that health care is not just about the clinical aspect of the care,” he said.
Health care also includes social aspects and ensuring equitable healthcare outcomes across different genders, races, and ethnicity as well as the social-economic status of patients to deliver care in a manner that everyone can benefit from it, the doctor said.
“For me, it’s almost like a new definition of higher quality of care,” Rostomian said. “We like to focus on that more, and that is where I see for us to achieve addressing social determinant of health among our patients, we have to get more and more involved with the community.”
That includes partnering with community leaders and local charitable organizations.
One successful partnership is with the City of Lancaster.
Kaiser Permanente and Lancaster opened a mass COVID-19 vaccination site at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds last month.
“This is a clear example that when we work together and we collaborate with each other we can accomplish a lot,” Rostomian said. “Clearly, the AV Fairground operation wouldn’t have happened if it was only Kaiser Permanente.”
The partners include Antelope Valley College, Antelope Valley Transit Authority, the City of Palmdale and Los Angeles County, he said.
“If we can promote more and more collaboration like that, that would be wonderful,” Rostomian said. “We would serve our community that we drive our members from, and that’s our job to do that,”
Since the fairgrounds site opened March 8, Kaiser Permanente has vaccinated about 33,000 people. They administered more than 45,000 vaccines.
“I’m very proud that we were able to distribute It nicely among different ethnicities,” he said.
They are vaccinating about 1,400 people a day depending on the availability of vaccines.
“We are hoping by fall we can vaccinate anybody who wants to be vaccinated,” he said.
Anyone 16 and older is eligible to receive a vaccine. Visit kp.org/covidvaccine to schedule an appointment.
Rostomian would also like to make health care more affordable. For example, one out of three people who have health insurance in the Antelope Valley chose Kaiser Permanente. The other two out of three might have passed Kaiser Permanente because it might not be affordable, Rostomian said.
“We need to be more affordable so more people can afford us and benefit from our care,’ he said.
Rostomian would also like to ensure Kaiser Permanente is more patient and family centered to focus on what matters to patients and then deliver that care to them.
Kaiser Permanente used to be offered primarily through employers. People can now purchase Kaiser Permanente insurance through Covered California, the health exchange established under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
“We also have the deductibles which are much more affordable health insurance packages for young, healthy individuals who do not utilize the system very much,” Rostomian said.
Rostomian specialized in ophthalmology – the study of medical conditions related to the eye — due to the combination of surgery and medicine. Many people think ophthalmology is a geriatric practice, Rostomian said, but he also sees younger healthier patients.
“It gives you a good mixture of surgery and medical practice,” he said.
Rostomian first came to the Antelope Valley about 25 years ago.
“My wife got the job in Antelope Valley first,” Rostomian said.
Rostomian and his wife, a dentist, finished medical school at the University of Southern California together. She got a job in Lancaster and remained here for several years before she opened her own practice near the couple’s home in Glendale.
“I’ve had many opportunities to transfer to any medical center closer to my house,” Rostomian said. “I really enjoy my practice and the community.”