The term “hospitalist” was virtually unknown anywhere else in the country in 1986. But that was the solution CHOC pediatrician Jon Kramer, M.D., developed to fill the two-year interim between the end of the UC Irvine residency program with a CHOC rotation and the development of the CHOC residency program.
Dr. Kramer was a member of the final UC Irvine residency class that rotated through CHOC. He stayed on and worked with then-Medical Director Harriet Opfell, M.D., to hire 16 pediatricians from across the country to staff the CHOC Clinic, assist in the ICU and NICU, admit patients, and cover overnight shifts.
His efforts filled the vacancies left by the departing residents and helped CHOC successfully bridge a very crucial time. And although Dr. Kramer left CHOC for private practice in 1988, mutual warm feelings persist.
“I still have a warm place in my heart for CHOC because of the residency and working there those two years,” he said. “It still has a special meaning to me.”
“Sending kids off to college you saw the day they were born—that is the fun of this. Signing their college physical forms, going back into the chart, and remembering when you saw them as newborns. You realize all the ups and downs these families have had for 18 years, and you helped them through it.”
Old-School care For New-Generation Families
A native New Yorker, Dr. Kramer graduated from New York Medical College, in Valhalla, and completed both his internship and residency at the University of California, Irvine. After implementing the CHOC hospitalist program, he became the sole pediatrician for an independent medical group in Anaheim Hills. That group grew along with the North Orange County community, and was acquired by St. Jude Medical Group in 1996. Dr. Kramer now works with five pediatricians at his Yorba Linda office.
Dr. Kramer is quick to attribute the success of his practice to his loyal staff, many of whom have worked with him for almost 20 years. They share his philosophy of personalized care, from the warm, friendly voice of his triage nurse, to Dr. Kramer, himself, who handles many of the phone calls and follow-up.
“New parents get so much false information from the Internet, friends and family,” Dr. Kramer said. “I think it is part of a pediatrician’s job to be the authority for correct information. It takes more time, but I know my patients’ parents appreciate it.”
His medical group recently implemented an online patient access program, and Dr. Kramer is curious to see what the results will be a year from now. Will younger parents embrace the technology and prefer getting answers online? Or will they still want a live, friendly voice?
Dr. Kramer certainly has an impressive record for making new ideas work. But whatever the parents choose, he’ll never be more than a phone call away.
Jon Kramer, M.D., is a board-certified pediatrician located at 4300 Rose Drive, Suite E, in Yorba Linda. To contact him, please call (714) 577-6677.