UCSF faculty to provide surgical services at san mateo medical center

By Maureen McInaney

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors has approved a three-year contract for surgical services at San Mateo Medical Center (SMMC) with the University of California, San Francisco Department of Surgery.

The contract will bring a new model of surgical care to SMMC, along with plans to develop a research program in surgical quality improvement and patient safety.

The contract was negotiated under the leadership of Hobart Harris, MD, chief of the division of general surgery at UCSF Medical Center and Nancy Steiger, CEO at SMMC, which is located in San Mateo.

The vision for SMMC includes expanding the patient base and developing new partnerships with universities, starting with the top medical schools in the area, including UCSF, according to Steiger.

“One critical element to attracting more patients will be to provide expanded surgical services of unquestionable quality. UCSF is a natural provider, in part because of the historical affiliation of UCSF with area public hospitals, such as San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center, the Alameda County Medical Center, and the San Francisco VA Medical Center,” she said.

“We are honored that county officials looking for excellence in surgical care came to UCSF with this proposal. We are also excited about collaborating with another county in caring for the people of the greater San Francisco Bay Area and beyond,” said Verna Gibbs, MD, who is directing the effort for UCSF.

“The goal of this collaboration is in keeping with UCSF’s mission to provide high quality patient care, research and education,” said Gibbs. A UCSF professor of clinical surgery, Gibbs also is an attending surgeon at the San Francisco VA Medical Center. She chairs the surgery quality improvement program at both institutions.

SMMC surgical faculty members John Maa, MD, and David Jegge, MD, will join Gibbs in developing a model for the delivery of general surgical care. Recruitment is currently underway for additional general surgeons and a thoracic surgeon, according to Steiger.
Already providing services is Timothy Chuter, MD, UCSF associate professor of vascular surgery, who is known for his cutting edge work in design and placement of aortic stent-grafts to repair aneurysms. In addition, Chuter is a pioneer in the field of endovascular surgery, a minimally invasive, catheter-based technique that combines the skills of vascular surgery and interventional radiology. UCSF has the only program in the country that provides comprehensive training in catheter-based and conventional open vascular procedures.

A second focus of the collaboration will be on research that will develop and test new models of delivery of general surgical care. Gibbs comes to the partnership with years of experience in investigating patient safety and improving the quality of care in the VA system. “The VA has been a national leader in the promulgation of patient-safety programs,” she said.

With her guidance, SMMC plans to implement a method for improving care that was pioneered by the VA. Such new and improved models of care are expected to have a widespread impact. “We’ll be developing tools for the improvement of patient care that may be applicable to community hospitals across the country,” Gibbs said.