University Health Alliance (UHA) began as a natural extension of the mission that has driven University Cancer & Blood Center (UCBC) for more than 40 years: to provide comprehensive, compassionate, world-class cancer care for people throughout greater Athens and northeast Georgia.

But once we got started, UHA became so much more.

A national primary care shortage impacts greater Athens

Far too often, cancer patients come to UCBC without any established relationship with a primary care provider or family doctor.

This is a national (and international) problem, with JAMA Internal Medicine finding that upward of 25% of Americans do not have a primary care physician. The problem is particularly acute among underserved populations, such as in rural and inner-city communities. The journal Human Resources for Health forecasts a worsening shortage of primary care doctors at least through 2030.

At UCBC, the oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, nurses, genetic counselors, clinical pharmacists, and physical therapists worried that lack of access to primary care would impact the health of our cancer patients. When primary care providers coordinate closely with oncology teams, cancer patients have better outcomes both during and after cancer treatment.

Here in greater Athens, we already had some excellent primary care practices. We referred patients to these doctors, and we continue to do so. However, because of the shortage, too often one of our cancer patients would have to wait several weeks or months to get a first appointment, sometimes long after their cancer treatment was complete.

These delays in receiving quality primary care were putting our patients at greater risk of complications and impeding our ability to give patients the best possible quality of life. We needed a solution that would give all UCBC’s cancer patients access to essential primary care.

But what could we do?

A solution to a larger problem better serves all

We started out looking for a solution to support UCBC’s cancer patients, but we soon realized that we couldn’t stop there.

What about all the people of greater Athens and northeast Georgia who don’t have cancer, yet need access to primary care? Because of course quality primary care helps to prevent illness and keep people healthy. And when something does go wrong, primary care physicians are the first line of defense, catching problems earlier when they’re often easier to treat.

This all makes greater access to primary healthcare (PHC) an excellent investment. “Across the world,” according to the World Health Organization, “investments in PHC improve equity and access, health care performance, accountability of health systems, and health outcomes.”

Yet too many in our Georgia communities had no access to this critical coordination of their health and wellness.

We couldn’t let this continue in our communities, couldn’t stand by while the people we’ve served for more than four decades were left without primary care services.

So we decided to do something about it.

United Health Alliance brings primary care and family medicine to greater Athens

Introducing United Health Alliance.

With our mission to ensure that everyone in our community receives high-quality healthcare, UHA serves the well-being of families in the greater Athens area. Leading researchers and practitioners in their fields, our compassionate doctors coordinate complete preventative, acute, and chronic care for your entire family.

From pediatrics and adult medicine, to wellness check-ups and preventative services, to acute and chronic care, UHA provides complete, convenient, and compassionate primary healthcare for all.

Brought to you by your trusted team at UCBC, University Health Alliance is your hometown primary care provider for world-class wellness.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment for you or your family.

Same-day or next-day appointments are often available for urgent health concerns. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911.