UCSF and Community Medical Centers Sign Agreement To Expand Children’s Services in Fresno

Collaboration Builds on 40-year Relationship

By Juliana Bunim

A medical assistant takes a young patient's blood pressure at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital. Photo by Susan Merrell

UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals and Community Medical Centers (CMC) on Wednesday announced an agreement to significantly enhance the provision of specialty medical care for children in Fresno. The agreement also expands medical education in a region that has one of the lowest doctor-to-patient ratios in the state. 

CMC is the San Joaquin Valley’s largest hospital organization. It operates Community Regional Medical Center (CRMC) and other acute-care and outpatient facilities in Fresno and Clovis.

For years, UCSF has collaborated with CMC to run a pediatric residency program. Under the new agreement, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals and CMC will commit to broadening the range of children’s services provided by UCSF pediatric residents in downtown Fresno. Specifically, UCSF will assist CMC by:

  • Leading the development of an inpatient pediatric intensive care unit.
  • Participating in the design of an expanded inpatient pediatric medical/surgical unit.
  • Expanding the outpatient pediatric specialty practices at CRMC’s downtown Fresno campus.
  • Jointly recruiting additional subspecialty pediatric physicians to join the Fresno medical community as part of the UCSF-Fresno faculty.
  • Providing UCSF pediatric subspecialty physicians from the San Francisco and Oakland campuses whenever local recruitment is not possible.
  • Collaborating in the care of unusually complicated pediatric cases, through real-time remote consultations and coordinated transfers to the world-renowned UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in either San Francisco or Oakland, when necessary.
  • Implementing a telehealth service, allowing Fresno physicians access to around-the-clock video consultation with UCSF pediatric subspecialists.
  • Growing and strengthening the UCSF Fresno medical education program, which trains one-third of the central San Joaquin Valley’s physicians.

UCSF also will collaborate with CRMC to design more child-friendly treatment areas at the downtown campus.

“I’m excited about the deeper relationship with UCSF, which achieves our immediate goal of increasing access to pediatric specialists and other high-quality pediatric services in Fresno and surrounding areas,” said Craig Wagoner, CEO of CRMC.  “Clearly, this demonstrates UCSF’s commitment to the San Joaquin Valley, and it’s a key step toward more efficiently managing the health of entire families.”

The pediatric program at CRMC, which sees 65,000 cases annually, will be affiliated with the nationally ranked UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals in San Francisco and Oakland.

CMC and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals’ shared vision includes development of a clinically integrated health system that shares information to promote seamless delivery of care; improved access to high-quality women’s and children’s services in the central San Joaquin Valley; the provision of higher acuity pediatric services at CRMC to reduce the need to leave the area for care; and increased integration of the academic and training missions of UCSF and CMC.

“We are committed to working with our colleagues at CRMC to build a world-class pediatric program that serves the needs of the children and families in Fresno,” said Stephen Wilson, MD, PhD, chief medical officer at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco.  “Our goal is to ensure that children living in Fresno can benefit from the expertise of UCSF pediatric specialists right near home.  We are equally committed to training the next generation of pediatric physicians who will serve Fresno and the greater central valley”

The collaboration is one element of the UCSF Fresno Medical Education and Research program. UCSF School of Medicine, which consistently is ranked among the nation’s top medical schools, has for decades operated a graduate medical education program in collaboration with CMC. Established in 1975, and now celebrating its 40th anniversary, the UCSF Fresno Medical Education Program plays a substantial role in providing healthcare services to residents of the San Joaquin Valley, and training medical professionals in the region.

“This new, expanded affiliation between UCSF and CMC is a huge win for our region,” said Michael Peterson, MD, interim associate dean of UCSF Fresno Medical Education Program.  “UCSF Fresno has a history of working collaboratively with several hospitals in the region to train the next generation of physicians.  With an undersupply of specialists for our growing population, this collaboration will help boost our training and recruiting efforts to continue to bring top-notch physicians to our region.”

About 300 UCSF medical residents and fellows currently train on CRMC’s campus in 25 specialties. The campus also houses the region’s only comprehensive burn center and Level 1 Trauma center. 

Faculty and medical residents at UCSF Fresno engage in a broad spectrum of research addressing health issues pertinent to the Valley. Faculty and residents also care for the overwhelming majority of the region’s underserved populations at health care facilities like CRMC.

In addition, UCSF Fresno provides academic preparation programs for middle- and high school students interested in the health professions through the Junior Doctors Academy and the Doctors Academy. UCSF Fresno academically prepares students at Fresno State University to become competitive applicants to health professional schools with the ultimate aim of preparing them for careers in healthcare. UCSF Fresno also is a key partner in the UC Merced San Joaquin Valley Program in Medical Education.

About UC San Francisco

UCSF is the nation's leading university exclusively focused on health. Now celebrating the 150th anniversary of its founding as a medical college, UCSF is dedicated to transforming health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. It includes top-ranked graduate schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy; a graduate division with world-renowned programs in the biological sciences, a preeminent biomedical research enterprise and top-tier hospitals, UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals.

About Community Medical Centers (CMC)

CMC is a locally owned, not-for-profit, public-benefit organization. Based in Fresno, Calif., Community is the region’s largest healthcare provider and private employer. It operates four hospitals – CRMC, Clovis Community Medical Center, Fresno Heart & Surgical Hospital and Community Behavioral Health Center – as well as several long-term care, outpatient and other healthcare facilities and a physician residency program with UCSF.