UCSF, ValleyCare Sign Letter of Intent

July 12, 2007
News Office: Phyllis Brown (415) 502-6397

ValleyCare Health System and UCSF Medical Center have signed a letter of intent to enhance health care services for women and children in the Tri-Valley region of the East Bay.

The goal of the collaboration is both to expand regional access to high-quality perinatal and pediatric care and to broaden the availability of specialty services.

Under the terms of the letter of intent, the two organizations began working together July 1 on a long-term "shared vision" that outlines roles and responsibilities of each party during a three-phase plan to expand patient care services.

Medical services provided through the collaboration will build on the combined strengths of UCSF Medical Center tertiary clinical expertise and VCHS community resources, with an overriding focus on providing excellent care close to home.

"We are very excited about this affiliation," said Marcy Feit, president and chief executive office of ValleyCare Health System. "As the Tri-Valley continues to grow and ValleyCare serves more and more patients, we need to respond to that need. Aligning with such an outstanding organization as UCSF Medical Center helps us serve the people of our community at a level they have come to expect."

The collaboration marks the first time that UCSF Medical Center is bringing together such a comprehensive aggregate of health care services at a facility outside UCSF, according to Mark Laret, CEO of UCSF Medical Center. "UCSF views this relationship with ValleyCare as a bellwether example of how academic medical centers can coordinate care with a community hospital," he added.

In the first phase of the agreement, UCSF Medical Center will provide or arrange for inpatient pediatric hospitalist and neonatology coverage at ValleyCare's Pleasanton campus. These services will be phased in during the next six months in coordination with ValleyCare's medical staff.

On an outpatient basis during the first phase, UCSF Medical Center will provide medical staff for new pediatric sub-specialty services, including pulmonary medicine and gastroenterology, as well as support for existing cardiology practices. UCSF also will staff a new perinatology clinic that includes genetic screening and treatment for complex pregnancies.

During the next three to five years, UCSF Medical Center and ValleyCare envision the construction of a "hospital within a hospital" to be named UCSF Children's Hospital at ValleyCare, which would be governed by a board comprised of representatives of both organizations. This new children's facility would include an expanded pediatric inpatient service and a level 3 neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Within the next decade, UCSF Medical Center and ValleyCare will evaluate the construction of a new pediatric wing that would house all pediatric services, including the NICU, pediatric outpatient surgery and pediatric sub-specialty clinics.

"We see this as a wonderful opportunity to partner with community obstetricians and pediatricians in the Tri-Valley region to provide world-class specialty care to mothers and children right in their own communities," said Dr. Sam Hawgood, medical director of UCSF Children's Hospital and chair of the UCSF Department of Pediatrics.

"We welcome this initiative to expand services to our community and, at the same time, collaborate with an excellent organization such as UCSF Medical Center," said Dr. Michael Alper, chief of staff for ValleyCare Health System.

ValleyCare Health System has a more than 45-year history of providing health care to the Tri-Valley and surrounding communities. VCHS is an intricate part of the Tri-Valley and surrounding communities and has provided state-of-the-art, top quality health care to local families since 1961. As a not-for-profit health system, with facilities in both Livermore and Pleasanton, VCHS reinvests any profit it makes into the organization for new technology, facilities and services. Being locally owned, no profits or dividends go to a parent company outside of the area and it is not supported by taxes.

ValleyCare has a total of 212 beds and a medical staff of over 300, offering a wide array of community based inpatient and outpatient services at a superior level. Facilities have expanded to include new and remodeled buildings at both the Livermore and Pleasanton campuses.

One of the nation's top 20 children's hospitals, UCSF Children's Hospital creates an environment where children and their families find compassionate care at the healing edge of scientific discovery, with more than 150 experts in 50 medical specialties serving patients throughout Northern California and beyond. The hospital admits about 5,000 children each year.

UCSF Medical Center is a leading university that advances health worldwide by conducting advanced biomedical research, educating graduate students in the life sciences and health professions, and providing complex patient care.

This news release has been modified for the website