UCSF Health System to Expand Care Throughout Bay Area and Beyond

By Lisa Cisneros

Representing a new era in patient care at UC San Francisco, the University is introducing UCSF Health, a health care system that expands the delivery of innovative, high-quality and high-value care to people throughout the Bay Area and beyond.

In an ad campaign launched Monday, UCSF Health debuted its new brand to Northern California with the theme, “Redefining possible.™” to describe the many ways UCSF saves and improves lives for scores of patients.

UCSF Health logo

UCSF Health launched a new advertising campaign this week, featuring the personal stories of patients whose lives were changed by the world-class care they received here. Learn more about their stories.

UCSF Health currently encompasses UCSF Medical Center, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco, the UCSF faculty practice group, the separately licensed UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, Langley Porter Psychiatric Hospital and Clinics, Benioff Children’s Physicians foundation, and joint ventures with John Muir Health and Hospice by the Bay.

The transformation of the clinical enterprise from a standalone medical center into an integrated health care network with eight entities aims to capitalize on UCSF’s traditional strengths while simultaneously embracing new ways of organizing and delivering care in a rapidly evolving health care industry.

UCSF will build on its expertise translating research findings into treatments and training the next generation of health professionals for the new health care environment. UCSF Health will also redouble its efforts to provide a collaborative and supportive work environment that enhances patient safety and satisfaction and employee performance.

Changing Health Care Landscape

The new health care system reflects a growing shift in health care delivery across the nation. Academic medical centers are forging partnerships and affiliations with community hospitals and physician practices to take advantage of each other’s strengths, increase access to a wider patient population, share risks and reduce costs.

While academic medical centers offer cutting-edge, specialized care in the most complex patient cases, leading hospitals in the community excel at promoting wellness and preventative care. Integrating both ends of this spectrum will help health care providers better manage patients’ health.

UCSF Health is being led by UCSF’s senior leaders with extensive expertise in health care: Chancellor Sam Hawgood, MBBS, as chair; Mark Laret, president and chief executive officer; and Talmadge King, MD, dean of the UCSF School of Medicine and vice chancellor of medical affairs. Together, they have more than 55 years of experience leading UCSF’s academic medical center.

“UCSF is responding to a revolution now underway in health care,” Hawgood says. “Those paying for health care, individuals, employers and the government, are demanding that providers deliver care that is more patient-centered, effective and affordable.”

Indeed, the creation of UCSF Health was driven by the need and opportunity to respond to dramatic changes over the past decade. Among them: 

  • Hospital admissions at UCSF have increased from 26,000 to 39,200;
  • Outpatient visits have nearly doubled from 649,000 visits to 1.2 million; and
  • The clinical enterprise’s operating budget has grown from $1.1 billion to nearly $3 billion.

Improving Access to Care

The Affordable Care Act, passed into law to increase access to health insurance and improve the quality and efficiency of health care delivery in the United States, has led to a greater demand for more effective and affordable health care. As a result, health care providers, including hospitals and physician groups, are consolidating to take advantage of each other’s clinical expertise and resources.

As Laret explains, it’s important to provide the full spectrum of care, whether it’s delivered in the hospital or in the community to support the health and wellbeing of the population it serves.

Miguel Castellanos is a patient in the UCSF Orthotics and Prosthetics Center who's featured in the new UCSF Health campaign. See his story »

“In the past decade, we have focused our entire organization on the importance of improving the patient experience, with continuing improvement,” Laret says. “We are paying increased attention on improving access to care, such as the timely scheduling of outpatient appointments.”

For decades, many of the entities that make up UCSF Health operated separately from each other. Among the benefits of integration will be developing consistent performance metrics so UCSF Health can increase transparency regarding prices, costs, clinical outcomes and more.

And over time, UCSF Health will allow streamlined and secured sharing of patients’ electronic medical records and clinical research data across the system, giving partnering health care providers access to information to improve the health of patients and populations.

Evolving Health Care Partnerships

Several independent, separately managed institutions are important partners with UCSF Health, including San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, the San Francisco VA Medical Center, as well as the schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy. Over time, UCSF Health may broaden to include these or other clinical entities.

In the coming year, UCSF will continue the growth and development of UCSF Health through further partnerships and affiliations throughout the Bay Area, creating the foundation for an accountable care network poised to begin enrolling patients in 2017.

UC Health, the University of California’s five academic medical centers, is moving toward this health care model as well, according to Jack Stobo, MD, vice president of UC Health at the UC Office of the President.

UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay, which opened in February 2015, is part of UCSF Health, which comprises more than half of UCSF's $5 billion operating budget. Photo by Mark Citret

Like all medical campuses in the UC system, the success of the clinical enterprise is critically important to support the top-ranked education and research missions at UCSF.

UCSF Health comprises more than half of UCSF’s entire $5 billion operating budget. Because of its strong financial performance, the medical center has been able to reinvest more than $1 billion in renewal or replacement of aging facilities and equipment and another $500 million to support the academic enterprise at UCSF.

Importantly, UCSF Health is a self-sustaining business enterprise that receives zero support from the state and competes in the open marketplace for patients and market share every day.

Realizing UCSF Vision 2020

The formation of UCSF Health is the result of an extensive two-year strategic planning process led by a 22-member steering committee. More than 400 faculty and staff participated in four work groups, two leadership planning sessions and more than 80 internal and external interviews.

UCSF Health Town Hall Meeting

The UCSF community is invited to a town hall meeting to learn more about the new health care system from UCSF Health leaders. Send your questions in advance of the meeting to [email protected].

Monday, Nov. 16
12 to 1 p.m.
Cole Hall Auditorium

The “UCSF Vision 2020” strategic plan is a roadmap over the next five years to “provide innovative, high-quality, cost-competitive clinical services, and deliver an unparalleled patient experience across the entire care continuum."

The three goals of the UCSF Health strategic plan are:

  • Lead in destination programs: Continue to deliver world-class tertiary and quaternary care, offering patient access to the latest technology, rapid translation of research results into groundbreaking treatments and the latest clinical trials. UCSF Health will focus its growth and development of established and emerging adult and pediatric destination programs, such as organ transplantation, neurodegenerative diseases, advanced cardiovascular diseases, complex children’s and cancer services.
  • Promote a high-value system of health care: Create a model with partners in an emerging accountable care network that improves coordination of services across the care continuum, lowers costs and raises the quality of care for a regional population.
  • Achieve a culture of continuous process improvement: Examine all aspects of its operations to reduce duplication, integrate and expand existing resources and streamline operations.

“Our strategy in destination programs is to increase our capacity in these services, make it easier for health plans or employers to contract with UCSF to provide these services, and to expand these services globally,” Laret says.

Achieving the vision of UCSF Health will require contributions from all faculty, staff and trainees. To that end, UCSF Health managers have introduced and are implementing a “lean” process improvement system that empowers individuals and teams at all levels of the organization to be problem solvers and standardizes work processes that reduce variation, improves quality and increases predictability.

The goal is to reduce duplications and lower costs by better aligning functions and finances across previously separate units, such as IT and Human Resources.

The new name, UCSF Health, signifies UCSF’s commitment to operating as a true health system, bringing together physicians, nurses and other staff; the leaders and managers of the medical center and outpatient facilities; chairs of the clinical departments in the School of Medicine, researchers, educators and trainees; and patients and their families.

UCSF Health’s new organizational structure streamlines and unifies decision-making, management and operations across the traditionally separate academic medical center and UCSF School of Medicine and aligns with physician networks, and hospitals in the community. 

UCSF Health leaders plan to actively fill some positions to help with this transition to a new health system in the next few years.

“We will fill as many positions as we can from inside the organization, to create a more robust career ladder, but we also need to recruit new, senior level talent from outside the organization,” Laret says. “Overall, however, we believe we are positioning UCSF very well to face whatever the health care environment has in store for us in the coming years and decades.”

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