Palo Alto Center
The Palo Alto Medical Clinic physician partnership was founded in 1930 as one of the nation's first group medical practices. Today, the Palo Alto Center provides a full range of primary care, specialty and sub-specialty medical services, including state-of-the-art diagnostic and imaging technologies. More than 130 doctors and 600 support staff serve patients in the building at 795 El Camino Real.
Palo Alto Center
795 El Camino Real
Palo Alto, CA 94301
Main phone: 650-321-4121
Floor map of the Palo Alto Center buildings and department (pdf, download Acrobat Reader if you don't have it) -- if you are unable to view this document, volunteers are available to assist you at the clinic.
EXTRA PARKING AVAILABLE AT PALO ALTO CENTER
On busy days, it can be a challenge to find a parking spot in the underground parking structure. Please take advantage of the additional parking above ground, right behind the clinic on Urban Lane. It is still a short, easy walk to the main clinic and other buildings on our Palo Alto campus.
Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon
Doctors' office hours vary, so please ask the receptionist about a doctor's schedule. For your urgent needs, telephone operators are available 24 hours a day.
Urgent Care 650-853-2959
7 a.m. to 9 p.m., 7 days a week (No appointments)
Pediatric Urgent Care -- 650-853-6558
Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturday, Sunday & holidays, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
There is "walk in" without an appointment, but please be aware that patients with appointments will generally be seen first, depending on urgency.
Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Community Health Resource Center
Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Drop-in basis or by appointment.
Monday, 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. - extended hours
Tuesday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday, 7:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Monday, 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Tuesday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon
Breast Imaging Center - 49 Wells Building
- Dedicated mammographers and fellowship-trained breast radiologists who work closely with a multi-disciplinary team of cancer specialists
- Five mammography rooms for both screening and diagnostic mammography
- Two ultrasound rooms and one stereotactic biopsy room
Directions to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation from Highway 101: Take the Embarcadero Avenue West exit towards Stanford University. Turn right onto El Camino Real. The Palo Alto Medical Foundation is located on the right, past the Town and Country shopping center.
Directions to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation from Highway 280: Take the Page Mill Road exit. Go east on Page Mill. Turn left on El Camino Real. After the Embarcadero Road intersection, the Palo Alto Medical Foundation is located on the right, past the Town and Country shopping center.
Scheduling an Appointment
650-321-4121 or call the department directly
Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Saturday, 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
An appointment is required to see a physician at PAMF. You can schedule an appointment either in person or by telephone. Once you have selected a primary care physician, you can call his or her department directly. The main Center number is 650-321-4121.
If you must cancel an appointment, please call at least 24 hours in advance when at all possible. You can call PAMF at any time and leave a cancellation message with the operator at 650321-4121.
Urgent appointments are visits for acute problems which may need to be evaluated or treated within 24 hours. Call your physician's office first to determine your need to be seen that day. The nurse will schedule an appointment or direct you to either the physician on-call in your physician's department that day or to the Urgent Care Center or Pediatric Urgent Care. The departments of Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics and Psychiatry provide on-call physicians daily to meet the need for urgent appointments.
A specialist is a physician who practices medicine in a specialty area, such as cardiology, orthopedics, dermatology and urology.
Most patients with health insurance plans that do not require care to be managed by a primary care physician (PCP), such as traditional Medicare or indemnity insurance (also called Fee-For-Service) plans, do not have to obtain a referral from a PCP to see a specialist. You may want to review your plan coverage guidelines to determine whether or not your health insurance plan requires specialty care referrals.
HMO Patients: All specialty care is coordinated by your PCP. Unless your PCP has directly referred you to a PAMF specialist, any services provided by a specialist, even within PAMF, may not be covered by your managed care plan. Once your PCP has referred you to a specialist, you may call that specialist's department to schedule an appointment. If the referred specialist is at PAMF, you may call the specialist's department directly 24 hours after the referral has been made to schedule an appointment.
PPO Patients: Under most PPO plans you have the option to coordinate your specialty care through your PCP or you may self-refer yourself for specialty care services. When you self-refer for specialty care services or when you obtain specialty care services from physicians who do not participate in your plan's provider network you may be responsible for higher out-of-pocket costs (i.e., co-payments or co-insurance).
Point of Service (POS) Patients: Most POS plans give you different options for accessing health care services. One option is to use the plan like an HMO, where you receive your health care services from your PCP and obtain referrals for specialty care services. When using your POS plan like an HMO you will be responsible for the HMO benefit-level co-payments. Your other option is to use your health plan just like a PPO where you can access care from either a participating provider or a non-participating provider, without coordinating care through your PCP or health plan. When accessing specialty care services under the PPO option of your POS plan, you are generally financially responsible for a deductible and/or a percentage of your bill.
Referrals Outside the Palo Alto Medical Foundation
PAMF can provide you with primary and specialty care in most instances. On occasion, we may refer you to a specialist outside PAMF.
Most patients with health insurance plans that do not require care to be managed by a PCP, such as traditional Medicare or indemnity insurance plans, do not have to obtain prior authorization to see a specialist outside of PAMF. You may want to review your plan coverage guidelines to determine whether or not your health insurance plan requires specialty care referrals and/or authorizations.
HMO Patients: If you are referred for services outside of PAMF, your PCP is still responsible for coordinating your care and you must resume care with your PCP once the outside specialist has completed an authorized service or treatment.
PAMF has developed relationships with various specialty physicians in the community. If your PCP determines you require care that PAMF cannot provide, your PCP will request a referral to a specialist outside PAMF. Requests for referrals to outside specialists will be reviewed by the director of health plans. Except in urgent situations, please wait to schedule your appointment with the specialist until you receive a confirmation letter from the Health Plans Office stating exactly what services will be paid for by the plan. This process is required by your HMO. Following these procedures carefully will prevent possible denial of payment that could result in you being financially responsible for payment. The specialist will also be mailed a notification of the denial or authorization. If you have questions, please contact the Health Plans Office at 650-812-3700.
PPO Patients: Generally you are not required to coordinate care through your PCP if you self-refer to an outside specialist. However, your health plan may require that you obtain prior authorization for certain specialty care services.
POS Patients: If you access HMO benefits under your POS plan, your PCP will be responsible for coordinating your care and you must resume care with your PCP once the outside specialist has completed an authorized service or treatment. When using the PPO benefit option of your POS plan, you generally are not required to coordinate care through your PCP when self-referring to an outside specialist. However, your health plan may require that you obtain prior authorization for certain specialty care services.
If you are unable to keep your scheduled appointment, please notify your physician's office. This will allow the physician to see someone else who may need an appointment.
Coming in for Your Appointment
Registration is located in the main lobby at 795 El Camino Real.
New patients should arrive 20 minutes prior to their first scheduled appointments to allow time for the registration staff to obtain personal and insurance information.
Patients without insurance or residing outside of the United States will be asked to make a deposit at the time of initial registration. Referrals from outside physicians to Foundation specialists should be presented at registration.
Please bring your health-insurance-plan card with you for every visit. It is important to inform the registration staff of changes in name, address, insurance and phone information
In life-threatening situations, such as a heart attack or traumatic injury, dial 9-1-1 for fast paramedic assistance, or go directly to a hospital emergency room. If possible, notify the hospital staff about your insurance coverage and the name of your PCP. Please notify your PCP within 24 hours.
Emergency Situations When Traveling
Call the Center first for instructions before seeking care elsewhere, unless the catastrophic nature of the illness or injury first requires emergency treatment. Please try to ensure that your PCP or the Center is notified of the emergency as soon as possible so the physician can coordinate your care.
The Center's telephone operators are available 24 hours a day at 650-321-4121 and can help you reach a physician.
Usually, notification must be made within 24 hours. If you are unable to do this because of medical incapacity, then a family member or other responsible party should contact your PCP within 24 hours. Since requirements vary from plan to plan, please read your membership information packet to become familiar with the health plan's requirements.
Urgent Situations Locally
The Palo Alto Urgent Care Center, located at 795 El Camino Real in Palo Alto, is available for urgent situations. The Center is open daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., including holidays. During the Palo Alto Center's general hours of 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday, it is best to contact your primary care physician before going to the Urgent Care Center or in Pediatric Urgent Care to determine whether it is the best place for you to receive care. (Physician's office hours vary, so please ask the receptionist about a physicians schedule)
Urgent Care co-payments are higher than normal office visit co-payments. After 6 p.m. and on weekends, you will be charged a higher "emergency" co-payment. During normal Centers hours, if you obtain care from the Urgent Care Center without first being referred to or receiving authorization from your primary care physician or advice nurse, you will be expected to pay a higher emergency co-payment.