Client Spotlight: San Pedro Pediatrics

Q: Andy, please tell us a little about yourself and your business:

A: My name is Andrew but I prefer Andy.  I have been practicing pediatrics since finishing my residency in 1989.  I grew up in Palos Verdes, attended Pomona College and U.C.L.A. Med School.  I did my pediatric training at King Drew Medical Center which had an excellent small pediatric program at that time.  I was with a private practice in the San Fernando Valley for 3 years, followed by a Kaiser-like (but smaller) group with Cigna for 6 years, before joining my current practice.  We currently have three physicians – myself, my partner Kenneth Follmar and my wife Priscilla who works part time.  Our practice has been in San Pedro for over 60 years.  It is a small privately run pediatric medical practice that has more of a family atmosphere than larger groups owned run by bigger entities.  We serve our community in the South Bay by accepting most insurances from Medi-Cal to HMO to PPO.  Our goal is to care for our patients and to always be available to them in person or by phone.  Dr. Follmar or myself are available for our patients questions and issues 24/7.

Priscilla and I have 3 grown children of whom we are very proud, and who now as adults care for people or animals as a Veterinarian, a Physical Therapist and a Speech Therapist.  Family is very important to us.  I also enjoy playing softball and golf.

Q: How did you know you wanted to become a pediatrician and what do you enjoy about your work?   

A: I always wanted to work with children either as a teacher, dentist or physician.  Becoming a pediatrician seemed the best fit and I came to that realization at some point during my college years as soon as I realized professional baseball was not as interested in me as I had hoped.

I really enjoy getting to know our patients and their families and seeing them grow into young adults over time.  Taking care of second-generation patients is a real pleasure.  The practice of medicine is still very enjoyable; the business aspect of running a practice less so, but necessary.

Q: How did you know you wanted to start your own practice for pediatrics?  

A:  I never really wanted to start a practice from scratch but rather wanted to join an existing practice that was small and oriented to patient care.  I was very lucky that when Cigna started to have trouble, I found the current practice I am in and they had a need for another pediatrician.

Q: How long has the San Pedro Pediatric Medical Group been in business and what has been the most rewarding part of your work?   

A: The practice has been in business since the early 1960 ‘s.  I joined in 1999 and have no plans to practice anywhere else.  I really enjoy taking care of families and watching their kids grow into healthy accomplished adults.  Taking care of our patient’s children is a bonus.  Working in a small practice with people who also care about our patients as much as I do is important as well.  Our staff has a very low turnover rate, and many have been here longer than I.  Priscilla, my wife, has worked with us since 2000 and is an accomplished Pediatrician, and being a native of Mexico is not only fluent in Spanish but very much in tune with the culture as well. She is a great asset to our practice.  Her story is more interesting and impressive than mine.  Coming to the U.S. with her family at age 13, not speaking any English and ending up in Medical School 11 years later is quite a feat.  Ken, my partner, has a beautiful family of 3 children and is a pleasure to work with, and has been with us since 2013.

Q: What has been the biggest change in pediatrics over the last 10 years?   

A: The practice of medicine is always evolving and changing but is basically the same.  Taking care of children when they are well by providing appropriate well-care which includes vaccines, preventative care, counseling etc… and taking care of them when they are ill. Helping children with serious medical issues get to the right specialist and working with their insurance to have that care covered as best as possible.  Being available is key.  As time goes on there has been more specialization and we do less hospital care and procedures than we used to.  It is sad to not do some of the things I was used to doing and trained for, but I realize there are others more qualified at this point and it is in the patients best interest.  On the other hand, we do more with mental health, weight management, asthma care and some other areas of care than we used to, so things tend to balance out.  The technology of Electronic Health Records and all the extra work has not always been my favorite subject.  The amount of oversight insurance companies and large medical organizations exert is incredible and although appropriate in some areas, is also too much in others.  Having people with no medical training telling me how to practice medicine and what I can and can’t do can be frustrating (sorry to vent).  The pandemic was an experience I hope to never repeat, and dealing with such an serious issue with no direction or previous experience has been a tremendous challenge.

Q: Is there anything else that you would like us to know? 

A: I encourage anyone to call me if they have any questions about myself or our practice and I would encourage those going into medicine to consider primary care.  It is not as glamorous as being a specialist but it is still very important.

Q: If someone is interested in finding you and your practice, what is the best way to reach you?

A: Call and ask to speak with me or email.  Our office number is (310) 832-6487, my cell is (310) 291-2064, my email is Andrew.novom@verizon.net

We have a basic website at www.sanpedropediatrics.com

If it is an emergency or medical issue or after hours myself or my partner Dr. Follmar can be reached through our answering service at (310) 626-6120.

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