Children's Hospital of Orange County, Rady Children's unveil 2024 merger agreement

Two of southern California’s largest pediatric providers are planning to come together in 2024.

The parent companies of Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) and Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego announced Wednesday an agreement to merge under the new banner of Rady Children’s Health.

The arrangement, which is subject to regulatory review, stands to help the organizations improve patient outcomes, increase access to care, accelerate treatment research and bolster their clinical and nonclinical workforces, the children’s hospitals said in their joint reveal.

“CHOC and Rady Children’s—both nationally recognized for clinical excellence and compassionate care—have put forward a shared vision that puts children and their families first, ensuring them access to the very best practitioners, treatments and technology available in pediatric medicine,” Rady Children’s Board of Trustees Chair Paul Hering said in a statement.

Rady Children’s describes itself as the West Coast’s largest children’s hospital and the largest provider of pediatric medical services in California’s San Diego, southern Riverside and Imperial Counties.  Behind its flagship 511-bed pediatric hospital, the nonprofit system has more than 40 other pediatric care locations and an affiliation with UC San Diego School of Medicine. Across the 2022 fiscal year, it provided care to a total of 281,924 children and had 17,783 inpatient admissions, according to its website.

CHOC, meanwhile, has two hospitals in the cities of Orange and Mission Viejo as well as a regional network of more than 40 ambulatory locations. It’s affiliated with the UC Irvine School of Medicine and cares for more than 720,000 children annually.

The organizations highlighted more than a decade of clinical and research initiatives that they said “have built a strong foundation” for their planned integration. The two also said their combination would build on the affiliations with their respective University of California institutions to further advance pediatric health research, training and education.

“CHOC and Rady Children’s have similar missions and visions and complementary cultures focused on innovation and a dynamic history of collaboration that has enhanced children’s health in our communities,” CHOC Board of Directors Chair Doug McCombs said in the announcement.

Should the deal come to pass, the top executives of both organizations—CHOC President and CEO Kimberly Chavalas Cripe and Rady Children’s President and CEO Patricio Frias, M.D.—would become co-CEOs of the new entity. The organizations would also maintain separate medical staffs and governing boards, they said.