New QueensCare Health Centers Physicians are ‘Elevating the Safety Net’

Over 3 million people in Los Angeles County are Medi-Cal eligible and uninsured—almost 30% of the state’s entire Medi-Cal population.* Often concentrated in low-income communities, these groups are especially vulnerable to the growing shortage of physicians that make accessing quality health care a struggle. The shortage of providers in Los Angeles County is projected to reach 8,800 by 2030.

QueensCare Health Centers (QHC) is dedicated to curbing this looming crisis, which is why QHC is so fortunate to have been awarded five grants through L.A. Care Health Plan’s Elevating the Safety Net initiative. Launched in 2018, this initiative provides funding to recruit and retain highly-qualified primary care physicians into the Los Angeles County safety net. In total, QHC has received $625k in funding!

Through the Elevating the Safety Net Provider Recruitment Program, these funds can be used for salary subsidies, sign-on bonuses, and/or relocation costs for primary care physicians joining the safety net. Each new physician recruited through the program could treat up to 2,000 new patients in LA County.

The physicians at QueensCare Health Centers are extremely committed to caring for the Los Angeles community, below are some comments from physicians that have been hired through the Elevating the Safety Net program.

Dr. Robert Hagbom
Specialty: Pediatrics

I very much appreciate that my salary is not incentivized by doing more tests, etc. QueensCare Health Centers and LA County provide a lot of resources. We have partners in care who are willing to help our patients: our asthma specialist does house calls; we provide Uber rides to patients who have difficulty getting here; L.A. Care covers a lot of the very expensive medications that patients cannot afford. Everything is done for what is best for the patient.

Dr. Hagbom is a graduate of Emory University, Atlanta, GA and attended Georgetown University School of Nursing and Health Studies for his undergraduate degree.

Dr. Jessica Khankhanian
Specialty: Pediatrics

We have a very collaborative environment with a lot of support among colleagues and staff members. Whatever is necessary will be done to help a patient. That is our commitment to our families.

Dr. Khankhanian joined QueensCare Health Centers in October 2018. She is a graduate of Western University of Health of Sciences and conducted her residency at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Lalitha Vakkalanka
Specialty: Internal Medicine

The patient care has been positive and rewarding, to say the least. I like taking the power away from me and giving my patient—the power to do it for themselves; I show them the way and they walk their own path. I know I am making a difference in their lives because they tell me so.

Dr. Vakkalanka has been in practice for over 37 years. She completed a residency at Legacy Emmanuel Hospital and Med Center and completed undergrad with honors at Osmania Medical College, Dr. Nandamuri Taraka Rama (NTR) University of Health Sciences.

Dr. Lance Schaina
Specialty: Family Medicine

My patients’ humanity and gratitude are a huge blessing to me. I hope that my efforts are a blessing to them as well.

Dr. Schaina is a graduate of Western University of Health Sciences/COMP and completed a Residency in Family Medicine at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center. He now practices at InnovAGE PACE, a program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly.

Dr. Atalie Lim
Specialty: Pediatrics

As a new Pediatrician at QueensCare Health Centers, I am looking forward to serving my patients in LA County and providing them with excellent care.

Dr. Lim graduated from the University of La Verne then attended the University of Queensland School of Medicine. She completed a Pediatric Residency at the University of Hawaii Pediatric Residency Program.


*sources: CHCF, DHCS, SACBEE