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UCSF Medical Center, John Muir Health Collaborating to Develop New Company and Regional Health Care Network

Jointly Released by UCSF and John Muir Health

Affiliation Would Serve as Cornerstone of Regional Network to Provide More Integrated, High-Quality, Cost-Effective Care

UCSF Medical Center and John Muir Health have signed a letter of intent to develop a company that will serve as the cornerstone of a Bay Area health care network intended to provide patients with high quality care and an exceptional experience at an affordable price. A final agreement is expected by the end of 2014.

Under the proposed agreement both organizations would remain independent, but a new company would be created that is equally owned and operated by both organizations. The new company would serve as a funding vehicle for future joint initiatives and a shared services organization to support programs and initiatives focused on better health care, at lower costs, for Bay Area patients.

The first of these joint initiatives is investment in a collaborative effort with other health care providers to form a regional health care network, or “accountable care organization” (ACO). Establishing a Bay Area-wide ACO will provide patients from throughout the Bay Area and Northern California with a competitively priced option to access, close to where they live or work, many of the Bay Area's most trusted and respected hospitals, health systems and physician organizations.

Both John Muir Health and UCSF Medical Center have experience in successful ACOs that have demonstrated lower health care costs and improved health care quality. The goal of an ACO is to provide the right care at the right time and in the most appropriate setting, whether that is the primary care physician’s office, an outpatient center or a hospital, and savings achieved as part of an ACO can be passed along to consumers in the form of lower health care benefit premiums.

“By combining John Muir Health and UCSF’s strengths, we aim to offer patients the highest value system of care available,” said Mark R. Laret, CEO of UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals. “We look forward to working not just with each other, but with other health organizations throughout Northern California, in order to provide an exceptional health care experience for patients.”

“The jointly owned and operated company brings together two organizations that share a commitment to providing patients with high-quality care at an affordable price,” said Cal Knight, President and CEO of John Muir Health. “We looked at a number of affiliation options that would allow us to grow without compromising our mission, vision and independence. We found the right fit with UCSF and look forward to the development, along with other partners, of a regional ACO that will benefit patients and the communities we serve."

Both organizations are widely recognized for the quality of care they provide. U.S. News and World Report recently ranked UCSF Medical Center, John Muir Medical Center, Walnut Creek and John Muir Medical Center, Concord as the top three hospitals in the San Francisco-Oakland area for the third straight year. In addition, the John Muir Physician Network recently received the highest possible "elite" ranking from the California Association of Physician Groups for the fourth straight year.

The formal affiliation would enable both organizations to build on their strengths and work together through the new company to develop joint initiatives. For example, UCSF Medical Center and John Muir Health would coordinate rollout of their Epic electronic medical record systems and patient communication portals to enable better physician and patient communications. UCSF Medical Center and John Muir Health also anticipate, with other provider partners, building enhanced physician practice management services to create alternatives for physicians throughout the Bay Area who wish to affiliate with the new company and Bay Area ACO's efforts.

“UCSF Medical Center and John Muir Health recognize that health care delivery changes brought about by health care reform are here to stay,” said Laret. “Both organizations have a demonstrated track record of delivering high-quality care at an affordable cost through ACOs. This experience will be used to provide the value that Bay Area and Northern California residents, patients, employers and payors are looking for from trusted health care providers. ”

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