Monday, January 26, 2015 12:00 AM

Community and UCSF partner to expand Valley access to pediatric care

Community Medical Centers and University of California, San Francisco, Medical Center (UCSF) have signed a formal Letter of Intent to significantly expand pediatric specialty care and the pediatric medical education program at Community hospitals and clinics.

“An immediate goal — by this summer — is to increase the availability of pediatric medical specialists at Community Regional,” said Tim Joslin, Community’s corporate CEO and president. In a memo to employees he explained that the intent is to improve access to high-quality pediatric services in Fresno and surrounding communities; offer more specialized pediatric services at Community Regional; build a clinically integrated health system to better monitor and manage patient health; and expand pediatric medical education at the Fresno campus.

UCSF-Fresno Medical Education CenterCommunity has a 40-year relationship with the UCSF School of Medicine, which consistently ranks among the nation’s top medical schools. In partnership with Community, UCSF trains about 300 medical residents and fellows through the UCSF-Fresno Medical Education Program, mainly on the Regional Medical Center campus in downtown Fresno.

“This is the next logical step in our relationship with Community,” said Michael Peterson, MD, interim associate dean for UCSF Fresno. “The medical school is committed to serving the Valley, and our leadership team in San Francisco is excited about the opportunity to partner with Community Regional Medical Center and build a leading-edge women’s and children’s program.”

This is part of a larger plan to better serve families, said Craig Wagoner, CEO at Community Regional.  “The delivery of health care is changing. We’re going to rely on medical information technology and strong alliances with private and academic physicians to more efficiently manage the health of entire families. This project with UCSF will be a key part of that,” Wagoner said.

The UCSF Fresno Medical Education Program has played a substantial role in providing health care services to families of California's San Joaquin Valley and training medical professionals in a region that is underserved by specialists. Nearly one-third of UCSF-Fresno residents stay and establish practices in Central San Joaquin Valley. 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 Community Regional.

“We have a great relationship with Fresno and the Central Valley, and this partnership with Community Medical Centers will strengthen that relationship,” said Stephen Wilson, MD, PhD, associate chief medical officer for UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco. “This is an opportunity to better integrate our women’s and children’s services in the region and support UCSF’s mission to provide care to patients in areas that are underserved.”

Joslin told Community’s employees and physicians: “Clearly, all this is in keeping with our mission to improve health for the entire community. And it demonstrates UCSF’s unwavering commitment to the San Joaquin Valley and to the Valley’s largest healthcare system. It’s also a key step toward our goal of more efficiently managing the health of entire families.”