UCSF and Hill Physicians form new health care option for San Francisco

By Karin Rush-Monroe on August 11, 2009

UCSF Medical Group and Hill Physicians Medical Group have formed a new affiliation to provide access to high-quality primary and specialty health services for HMO members whose primary care provider is based in San Francisco. Hill Physicians is the largest independent physician association in Northern California.

The new health care option will be effective January 1, 2010, when UCSF’s long-standing relationship with Brown & Toland, an independent practice association in San Francisco, ends.

“We are committed to helping patients receive timely, quality health care and our affiliation with Hill Physicians will help us achieve that,“ said Sam Hawgood, MB, BS, president of the UCSF Medical Group and interim dean of the UCSF School of Medicine. “UCSF and Hill Physicians share a common goal of delivering the most effective care through continual innovation. This affiliation strengthens both organizations’ current capabilities and brings opportunities to improve the future of health care in San Francisco.”

The new arrangement impacts patients who belong to an HMO through Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield, CIGNA, HealthNet or United/PacifiCare. Patients who select a Hill Physicians’ doctor in San Francisco or Daly City for primary care can receive specialty care from UCSF, UCSF Medical Center, UCSF Children’s Hospital, and Hill Physicians specialists simply by a referral from their primary care physician.

All doctors who are members of the UCSF Medical Group, which is composed of faculty members of the clinical departments of the School of Medicine who also practice at UCSF, will become participating physicians of Hill Physicians.

“This is an ideal combination for San Franciscans,” said Steve McDermott, CEO of Hill Physicians. “One of the nation’s largest physician associations is combining with one of the nation’s best medical centers.”

UCSF is discussing a new contractual arrangement with Brown & Toland to enable HMO patients with a Brown & Toland primary care doctor to still use UCSF services. However, access under that contract now will likely involve prior authorization and administrative review by Brown & Toland.

Although patients do not need to take action now, if they wish to continue to have unrestricted access to UCSF they will need to select a Hill Physicians primary care doctor in San Francisco during their employers’ next open enrollment session or by contacting their HMO before December 31, 2009.

Hill Physicians has been recognized for its adoption of payment incentives to doctors based on quality measures and for using technology, such as online consultation and scheduling, to facilitate easier communication between patients and their doctors. Last month, Hill Physicians received “Elite” status, the highest level possible, on the California Association of Physician Groups annual survey on quality and affordability.

In July, UCSF Medical Center once again was ranked as one of the nation’s top 10 hospitals by U.S. News & World Report. UCSF is home to Northern California’s only nationally designated comprehensive cancer center, the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. UCSF also is home to Northern California’s only nationally designated Center of Excellence in Women’s Health, which offers specialized care and health education for women.

“Aligning Hill Physicians’ expertise in managing networks with UCSF’s top-ranked programs and services presents an opportunity for patients and physicians,” said Hawgood. “We invite all physicians in San Francisco to join us in this new network. To that end we are working closely with Catholic Healthcare West’s San Francisco-based hospitals, St. Mary’s Medical Center and Saint Francis Memorial Hospital, as well as leading community physicians, to build awareness of this new health care option.”

For more information about the transition with UCSF, please visit www.accessUCSF.org or call 888-689-UCSF (8273). For more information about Hill Physicians Medical Group and this transition, visit www.HillPhysicians.com/UCSF or call (800)445-5747 (option 3).

About UCSF, UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Children’s Hospital

UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. For further information, visit www.ucsf.edu.

UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Children’s Hospital are world leaders in health care, known for innovative medicine, advanced technology and compassionate care. For more than a century, UCSF has offered the highest quality medical treatment. Today, UCSF’s expertise covers virtually all specialties, including cancer, heart disease, infertility, neurological disorders, organ transplantation and orthopedics as well as special services for women and children. For further information, visit www.ucsfhealth.org.

About Hill Physicians Medical Group

Hill Physicians Medical Group is one of the nation’s largest independent physician associations (IPAs) and a recognized leader in innovative health care. The Standards of Excellence Program of the California Association of Physician Groups recognizes Hill Physicians as a state-wide leader in patient-centered care, care management practices, health information technology, accountability and transparency. The California Office of Patient Advocacy and the Integrated Healthcare Association (IHA) consistently rank Hill Physicians as one of the top performing medical groups in California. Hill Physicians was founded in 1984 and began offering services in San Francisco in 1995.

Nearly 300,000 people in seven Northern California counties have selected Hill Physicians care providers for their primary and specialized care. Committed to serving healthy lifestyles, Hill Physicians Medical Group offers extensive health education services to its patients, including wellness classes, health screenings, and self-help through its online information portal at www.HillPhysicians.com. Information about this affiliation is at www.HillPhysicians.com/UCSF.