UCSF Health and John Muir Health to Build East Bay Cancer Network

Cancer Collaboration Will Offer State-of-the-Art Care to Patients in East Bay

By Kristen Bole

UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center building.
UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center building. Credit: Susan Merrell.

UCSF Health and John Muir Health have signed a letter of intent to develop a cancer network designed to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment for patients throughout the East Bay. The joint East Bay Cancer Network will include development of distinguished disease-specific treatment capabilities, expanded clinical trial enrollment, and precision medicine offerings. 

Central to the network will be the development of a world-class cancer outpatient center on John Muir Health’s Walnut Creek medical center campus. The center will offer comprehensive services, including radiation-oncology treatments, an infusion center, genetic counseling, nurse navigators, support services and additional diagnostic and treatment services in a patient-centered environment.

The agreement also includes plans to jointly develop cancer care sites throughout the East Bay to improve access and convenience for patients across this region of more than 2 million people.

The collaboration reflects a growing demand for cancer care and long-term surveillance that stems from an aging population, a rising incidence of cancer and a significant increase in the number of cancer survivors. Through a highly coordinated cancer network, the two institutions will be better able to diagnose, refer and transfer patients. Ultimately, a network-wide electronic medical record will offer patients and providers full access to their records and ensure a seamless transition in care.

“The treatment of cancer is complex and unique to every patient. This level of complexity requires a team-based approach with physicians, nurses, nurse navigators and other health care professionals collaborating to provide expert care from diagnosis through treatment and beyond,” said Cal Knight, president and chief executive officer at John Muir Health. “UCSF will augment the outstanding cancer care that John Muir Health already provides and, together, we will offer state-of-the-art services in a healing environment, close to home, where the support of friends and family can assist our patients in the healing process.”

The collaboration will enable patients to benefit from the two institutions’ multidisciplinary strengths, expertise and resources to access the latest treatment advances, as well as support through nurse navigator and survivorship programs, while remaining in their East Bay communities for their care. It also will help build a base for further affiliations and integration with East Bay community oncology physician groups.

“This is a partnership between two organizations that are deeply committed to providing superior care, and expanding access to patients in the region is a critical part of that commitment,” said Alan Ashworth, PhD, director of UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. “Together, we can offer patients the expertise of specialists in both health systems, an extensive support network, and the most precise and personal cancer services that John Muir Health and UCSF offer.”

The East Bay Cancer Network builds upon a growing collaboration between UCSF Health and John Muir Health that started in 2015 with a commitment to provide premier a number of medical specialties. In June 2018, they opened an outpatient center in Berkeley through the two organizations’ joint venture, known as BayHealth. They also were founding partners, along with Hill Physicians Medical Group and Meritage Medical Network, of Canopy Health, a growing Accountable Care Network that provides participants with in-network health coverage through approximately 6,000 doctors, 18 hospitals, and numerous care centers within the Canopy Health alliance.

“We are very pleased to be expanding our collaboration with John Muir Health in the effort to provide patients with precise diagnoses and the highest quality care, in the most comforting, convenient environment possible,” said Mark Laret, chief executive officer and president of UCSF Health. “This collaboration will not only help meet a rising need for high-quality cancer care, backed by California’s top-ranked cancer center at UCSF, but also will enable physicians at both institutions to learn from each other, so we can provide the highest quality care for the communities we serve.”

The enhanced relationship will leverage the strengths of UCSF Health – which includes California’s top medical center and No. 6 hospital nationwide, as ranked by U.S. News & World Reportwith John Muir Health’s leading community hospitals, which are ranked among the top three hospitals in the San Francisco Metro Area and among the top 15 statewide by U.S. News & World Report

“This collaboration furthers John Muir Health and UCSF Health’s intent to strengthen the social compact between healer and patient, health systems and community,” said Taejoon Ahn, MD, president and chief executive officer of John Muir Medical Group, which is part of John Muir Health’s Physician Network. “The endeavor will provide access to world class minds, diagnostics and therapeutics, but also world class hearts, compassion and humanity, in a new more integrated way,” he said. 

“This partnership brings together two exceptional organizations with outstanding multidisciplinary teams of physicians, researchers, nurse navigators and staff for the benefit of East Bay cancer patients,” said Wilson Tsai, MD, co-medical director of the Thoracic Surgery Program at John Muir Health. “Beyond diagnosis and treatment, we are all dedicated to our patients’ physical and mental health, well-being and outcome.”

For more information, visit www.johnmuirhealth.com/cancernetwork.

About UCSF Health: UCSF Health is recognized worldwide for its innovative patient care, reflecting the latest medical knowledge, advanced technologies and pioneering research. It includes the flagship UCSF Medical Center, which is ranked among the top 10 hospitals nationwide, as well as UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals, with campuses in San Francisco and Oakland, Langley Porter Psychiatric Hospital and Clinics, UCSF Benioff Children’s Physicians and the UCSF Faculty Practice. These hospitals serve as the academic medical center of the University of California, San Francisco, which is world-renowned for its graduate-level health sciences education and biomedical research. UCSF Health has affiliations with hospitals and health organizations throughout the Bay Area. Follow UCSF Health: www.ucsfhealth.org | Facebook.com/UCSFMedicalCenter | Twitter.com/UCSFHealth 

About John Muir Health: John Muir Health is a nationally recognized, not-for-profit health care organization east of San Francisco serving patients in Contra Costa, eastern Alameda and southern Solano Counties. It includes a network of more than 1,000 primary care and specialty physicians, more than 6,000 employees, medical centers in Concord and Walnut Creek, including Contra Costa County’s only trauma center, and a Behavioral Health Center. John Muir Health also has partnerships with UCSF Health, Tenet Healthcare/San Ramon Regional Medical Center and Stanford Children's Health. The health system offers a full-range of medical services, including primary care, outpatient and imaging services, and is widely recognized as a leader in many specialties – neurosciences, orthopedic, cancer, gynecologic surgery, cardiovascular, trauma, emergency, pediatrics and high-risk obstetrics care. Follow JMH: John Muir Health.com | Facebook.com/JMH | Twitter.com/JMH | YouTube.com/JMH