Altais Medical Group Riverside (AMGR) is the Inland Empire’s new multi-specialty team of physicians and advanced practitioners with longstanding ties to the community. It arrives at a time when many Californians are leaving urban hubs like Los Angeles for more open space, affordable housing and a sense of community, like we find in Riverside.

We recently spoke with Rodolfo “Rudy” Saenz, M.D., M.M.M., F.A.C.O.G., obstetrician and gynecologist at AMGR, about working in the Riverside community and what makes this medical group different.

Who is Altais Medical Group Riverside?

RS: Altais Medical Group Riverside is a multi-specialty practice group that comprises experienced physicians from the community – some having been in Riverside for two decades. We’re a collective of doctors from primary care to specialists in gastroenterology, cardiology, obstetrics, gynecology, urology and ophthamology.

We came together this year, with Altais, as a patient-centric and physician-centric group. That means we are committed to serving the needs of our patients – providing great care at every stage of their health journey. And it means we’re also committed to caring for our doctors and staff, providing them with the right environment and support to deliver the best care.

Tell us about Riverside, and why it needs another medical group

RS: In 2006, when my wife (Dr. Sarah Chae) and I decided to head back to California after eight years practicing in Ohio, we chose Riverside. Riverside is our home. We see our patients at the stores; we see them at church and in our schools. When we look at our patients, we look at them as patients, but in reality they are friends and families.  

Riverside is a diverse city. Here we take care of patients of many different ethnicities and income levels. We really have the whole spectrum.

In this community, there are a lot of sick people. And the community is underserved. In Riverside County itself, there is a need for 1,000 more doctors to provide care for all patients! So, we felt Riverside needed another medical group, with doctors trained in top programs, so that patients don’t have to travel to Orange County, Los Angeles and San Diego for high-quality care.

What makes AMGR special and what makes it unique from a patient’s perspective? 

RS: AMGR is unique in that it was created with buy-in from all members of the team from day one. Onboarding simultaneously – which is rare – we were able to get buy-in from physicians, back-office, and front office employees – so it’s not just the physicians creating the experience, but everyone together.

As a collective, we think about the patient’s experience in terms of touchpoints. We know that one negative touchpoint can destroy a patient’s experience. So, from the moment a patient calls to schedule an appointment, to visiting AMGR, to see their doctor, to the follow-up – every step of the way, we make sure the patient is taken care of.

Why open AMGR now?

RS: Why not now? As I mentioned earlier, the Riverside community is currently underserved. We are doctors who have already worked in the community and have good relationships with the people in the community, so it just makes sense.

The doctors at AMGR are also committed to teaching the next generation of health professionals in the community and participate in the residency program at Riverside Community Hospital. In addition to my role at AMGR, I also serve as the associate program director of the OBGYN department there. Education is a core value for us, and we’re all committed to supporting and inspiring the physicians who will continue to serve Riverside.

What are the advantages of being a multi-specialty medical group?

RS: A major advantage of being a multi-specialty group is that doctors from different backgrounds are all in the same unit and can coordinate patient care across disciplines. So, if a patient visits their primary care doctor and they determine they need to see a gastroenterologist, they can seamlessly get an appointment right away – maybe even on the same day. One of the biggest advantages is the convenience for the patients because everything is done in the same system.

The patient also has the option of using a primary care doctor or specialist outside of our group – perhaps they have a long history with a urologist and would like to continue using them. They have the freedom to pick and choose – it’s their choice.

We are also working on expanding our footprint by adding more specialists to the group. In fact, we just had an ophthalmologist join our practice this month.

Why is it important to you to remain an independent practice? 

Being an independent practice partnered with Altais has allowed us to alleviate some of the administrative burdens that other practices deal with daily. It’s also allowed us to connect with each other on both a professional and a personal level – truly! Earlier, I mentioned how the majority of our patients are members of the community we know well. But we’re also working with members of the community as our colleagues – that is a refreshing and healthy environment.

Here, we have outstanding minds from different fields coming together and their opinions – and that’s extremely important, especially at a time of high physician burnout. Here, we have many doctors that have been practicing for years and have created a safe space to share our ideas. Here is where we are building our legacy.

What are your goals for AMGR in the next few years?

We think that within a couple of years, our group will have expanded significantly. Plenty of doctors have reached out to us and want to join us. We’ll be a much more significant presence in the community.

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