FREMONT -- Citing the demands of a changing health industry, Washington Hospital and the University of California, San Francisco, entered a partnership Wednesday night aimed at expanding services to patients and medical students.

The board of directors of the Washington Township Health Care District unanimously approved the "strategic relationship," saying it would create a regional health care network that enhances local specialty services and aids the transfer of patients to and from UCSF Medical Center. New opportunities for clinical training will also be added at Washington Hospital for medical students as part of the deal.

Washington CEO Nancy Farber said the deal is the product of a year of talks and "not a merger or acquisition." She said the desire for an affiliation with an academic teaching hospital dates back to the 1980s.

The partnership will help both institutions "navigate the changing health care environment more effectively," Farber said, noting the Affordable Care Act emphasizes the creation of regional systems.

Mark Laret, CEO of UCSF Medical Center, said he sees the relationship "as an anchor to begin development of a regional accountable care organization," that rivals or surpasses Kaiser.

Sam Hawgood, dean of the UCSF School of Medicine, said he felt "culturally and from a values perspective we would be a good fit." Looking ahead, he said "Scale is unquestionably going to be important ... Having partners you can trust is going to be key."


Advertisement

UCSF specialized services in mental health, pediatric and palliative care, as well as end-of-life care are some areas Washington patients might have increased access to through the partnership, officials said.

A common electronic record system will aid the flow of information between the two public agencies, with Washington's Epic records system set to go live July 1, officials said.