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Meet Dr. Mark Urman of COR Medical Group

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Mark Urman.

Dr. Urman, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
People ask me how long I’ve been at Cedars-Sinai and I say “my whole life” as I was born at the old Cedars of Lebanon Hospital here in LA (soon after, Cedars of Lebanon merged with Mt. Sinai Hospital to become Cedars-Sinai Medical Center).

While I take pride in being an Attending Cardiologist in the world renown Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, I realize that it is the doctor-patient relationships with all of my patients that I treasure the most in the past quarter of a century of being a physician. I am committed and dedicated to not only treating patients with heart disease but preventing it as much as possible and developing long-term relationships with my patients. I have no doubt that my experiences growing up are a big reason for this devotion to both the science and art of medicine.

My late father had ongoing heart problems from his thirties on and I remember visiting him in the hospital after he had a heart attack when I was a little boy. My mother claimed that I said that I wanted to be a cardiologist starting at age six. I did always want to learn as much as I could about the heart and heart disease when I was growing up and after my father died of a heart attack when I was only eleven years old, I worked very hard in school to make sure I would get into medical school. After being my high school valedictorian, I was fortunate enough to directly get into Northwestern University Medical School’s Honors Program in Medical Education – a combined program with the undergraduate school – straight out of high school, turning down other universities such as Harvard and Stanford as I knew I wanted to be a doctor.

Once I was fortunate enough to make it back home to Los Angeles for my medical training after medical school, I was committed to maintaining excellence in patient care as a private cardiologist on staff at Cedars. I have continued to be committed to teaching the next generation of physicians and am proud to be a Clinical Professor at both UCLA Medical School and at Cedars-Sinai and have been recognized for my mentoring and teaching of cardiology fellow trainees.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
When I started in practice in 1994, HMO’s were considered the future of medical care. I recognized that this did not and would not allow physicians to keep their patients’ interest as their primary goal and top priority in day-to-day care. I bucked the trend of many of my colleagues and refused to take part in HMO’s, although taking most other insurance plans and also making time to treat those who otherwise could not afford to see me. Unfortunately, the medical insurance industry made it more and more difficult for physicians to deliver top-notch care to their patients while participating in PPO type insurance plans. I ultimately realized that when doctors were “contracted” with a medical insurance company, they were, in essence, working for the insurance company rather than the patient. I felt that was an inherent conflict of interest and gradually extricated myself from all non-Medicare insurance companies. While this posed a potentially significant risk to my being able to keep my doors open, I felt compelled to do so if I wanted to continue to spend adequate time with patients and deliver world-class medical care.

While not “taking” insurance over the past 15 years, we seemed to not only survive, but we have thankfully continued to thrive in our community. I think this is because people realize the value and are willing to pay more for a doctor who cares, who spends time with them and who, in addition to having reputable skill and judgment, does their best to help them. We have also always set apart time for those less fortunate who otherwise could not afford to be seen as well so that they could be cared for just the same.

In the last decade, unfortunately taking Medicare itself has become a challenge. I realize that medical care costs have skyrocketed (mostly from testing and treatment costs more so than physician reimbursement), and the government is just trying to do the best it can to deliver adequate care to as many of its citizens as possible. However, I am passionately committed to delivering world-class and the best care possible to my patients which with Beverly Hills adjacent West LA rental rates and overhead is essentially impossible at Medicare reimbursement rates. Our Enhanced Access Membership Program has allowed us to continue to deliver not only world-class medical care but top-notch service and availability to our patients in the past six years. Whether we will be able to continue to take Medicare while still being able to deliver personalized cardiac care is unclear in the long-term but we keep looking for creative ways to do so.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with COR Medical Group – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
My partner, Dr. Jeffrey Caren and I are consultative cardiologists and we specialize in diagnosing, treating and preventing all types of cardiovascular disease. I also have an expertise in echocardiography, or ultrasound imaging and interpretation of the heart and was one of the first board-certified echocardiographers back in the 1990’s.

I am very proud that we have become recognized by our patients and colleagues alike as not only sensitive and caring clinicians, but as having exceptional clinical judgment and awareness of the current thought in clinical cardiology. I am humbled that I have been recognized by US News & World Report and Castle Connolly as a Top Doctor, and by my peers for the past decade as a Super Doctor, an “industry favorite” cardiologist as part of Hollywood’s Top Doctors and now in Los Angeles Magazine’s Top Doctor list in 2018. While I am proud of these accolades, I remain most proud of being able to connect with my patients and make a difference in their life and keep them healthy.

We have also become recognized for our concierge cardiac care and services though our Enhanced Access Membership Program (EAMP) about to enter its seventh year straight. More and more patients have found value in our providing efficient, personalized and world-class cardiac care, preventive care, availability and overall service.

Heart disease remains the top killer in America of both men and women. Health care changes are bringing more uncertainty about patients’ ability to count on personalized, compassionate and comprehensive world-class care.

For patients who want a higher level of personalized cardiac health, reassurance, guidance and comfort, we are committed to providing continued personalized, world-class cardiac care. We are dedicated to finding better ways to do so in a rapidly changing and evolving medical care landscape. There are inexorably increasing challenges for patients to receive this type of care but we are encouraged by our resounding success with our current long-term patients and the regular referrals of new patients from patients, physicians and members in the community alike. We value the privileged relationship that we have with our patients and are finding more and more patients who value the mutual respect, trust and care that they find in our practice.

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Image Credit:
Kerry Corcoran

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