Nearly 17 years after he last headed Emanuel Medical Center's medical staff, Turlock internist Dr. Ron Arakelian will take the helm once again on Feb. 1.
But much has changed since 1995 for the new medical Chief of Staff.
“The biggest change between then and now was that a lot of hospitalized patients were still being taken care of by their regular doctors back then, and most are treated by hospitalists now.” Dr. Arakelian said.
Dr. Arakelian hopes to reverse that trend as medical Chief of Staff, directing new patients to primary care doctors. By establishing better relationships with family doctors, Dr. Arakelian said, many patients can avoid trips to the emergency room.
Dr. Arakelian also faces a new challenge in helping Emanuel Medical Center prepare for the Affordable Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare. While specific impacts of the act remain unclear, Emanuel Medical Center is anticipating a surge in patients.
“It’s a huge unknown,” Dr. Arakelian said. “We anticipate that when the act takes effect in 2014, there will be more people with insurance and a lot of them will want to get a lot of things taken care of that they hadn’t been able to in the past because they didn’t have insurance.”
First joining the Emanuel medical staff in 1981, Dr. Arakelian previously served as Chief of Staff from 1995 to 1996. He is a board certified physician, who earned his medical degree from Creighton University in 1976, completed a residency at the Mayo Graduate School of medicine in 1979, and took a pulmonary fellowship at the University of Utah in 1980.
Serving alongside Dr. Arakelian will be Vice Chief of Medical Staff Dr. Kulmeet S. Dang, who specializes in emergency medicine. The new Secretary of the Board will be Dr. Reza Nazari, an interventional cardiologist.