Dignity Health and UCSF Health join forces in San Francisco Bay Area

Two California health systems have announced plans to affiliate and combine academic medicine and community-based care in the San Francisco Bay area.

Dignity Health and UCSF Health said the agreement will allow the organizations to increase access to high-quality, affordable care to patients who live in the Bay Area.

UCSF Health will bring its academic medical center expertise to three Dignity Health hospitals: Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City, and Saint Francis Memorial Hospital and St. Mary’s Medical Center, both in San Francisco. Those hospitals will also become members of the Canopy Health accountable care network, designed to improve care coordination when patients must transition between primary and specialty care.

RELATED: Hospital ‘merger-mania’ keeps up momentum

The arrangement will allow physicians from Dignity Health Medical Group Sequoia and Dignity Health Medical Group Saint Francis/St. Mary’s, both services of Dignity Health Medical Foundation, to collaborate with UCSF clinical faculty and share best practices and improve access, quality, efficiency and coordination of care for shared patients.

“Healthcare works best when we collaborate to offer the best thinking and the latest medical advances to our patients,” Shelby Decosta, senior vice president and chief strategy officer for UCSF Health, said in the announcement.

The new arrangement, she said, will allow the organizations to draw upon each other’s expertise and best practices for quality and service improvement, and offer specialty care with shorter wait times and a better patient experience.

RELATED: Mergers and acquisitions trend continues among larger health organizations

But it will also expand the Canopy network, allowing it to compete with Kaiser Permanente and Sutter Health, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Kaiser has about 4 million members in its integrated network in Northern California, the publication notes. Sutter has about 3 million.

Decosta told the publication that unlike those organizations’ models, Canopy is a network of independent providers. The new agreement will allow UCSF doctors to bring some of the system’s programs and practices, including robotic surgery, to Dignity hospitals.