UC San Diego Health and Tri-City partnership aims to expand, transform access to health care

After open public discussion and a unanimous board vote, Tri-City Healthcare District ("Tri-City" or "District") announced yesterday that UC San Diego Health has been selected as the District's future health care partner. A Joint Powers Agreement will now be co-developed that allows UC San Diego Health to provide administrative, clinical and operational management for all health care services with direct input and guidance from a diverse community board. Under the future agreement, UC San Diego Health will partner with Tri-City's Board, medical staff, employees and the community to offer the region affordable, accessible and high-quality health care services across the full range of specialties.

"We are delighted that Tri-City has chosen UC San Diego Health as its strategic and operational partner in its efforts to revitalize its 60-plus year legacy as an award-winning community hospital," said Patty Maysent, CEO of UC San Diego Health. "We recognize that the Board and Tri-City's team of physicians, nurses and staff care deeply about delivering care close to home -; and UC San Diego Health shares this vision. We look forward to collaborating with the Tri-City team to stabilize, expand and transform access to the hospitals' services and facilities so that all patients throughout North County can continue to access high-quality care, locally."

Yesterday, the Board executed a vision to better the lives of North County residents, creating a monumental shift in the way health care will be delivered for generations to come. In choosing UC San Diego Health, Tri-City Medical Center augments its renowned stroke, heart attack, orthopedic, spine and robotic care with world-class specialty care. UC San Diego Health's national recognition for quality outcomes and innovation in information technology, along with its status as the region's only academic medical center, were key drivers of the decision. Ultimately, patients will benefit from access to a leading-edge health care destination."

Gene Ma, CEO, Tri-City Medical Center

"I want to express our profound appreciation for the unwavering dedication of our board members and the invaluable input from our community throughout this pivotal decision-making process," said Tracy Younger, chairperson, Tri-City Healthcare District Board of Directors. "The active participation of our community members has been instrumental in shaping our choice, ensuring that high-quality health care services in North County remain accessible."

Once a final agreement is in place, UC San Diego Health expects to support and strengthen Tri-City's full-service community hospital vision and ongoing stewardship of community health care needs through investment in the medical campus, clinical programs and provider network. UC San Diego Health will collaborate with Tri-City's existing staff and regional providers to develop and supplement specialty programs and broaden primary and specialty care networks.

"This partnership with Tri-City represents a unique and compelling opportunity for two public organizations to come together with the common goal of expanding and deepening the network of care in North County," said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. "We look forward to working with the talented team at Tri-City to reliably increase North County residents' access to nationally-recognized care and develop new access points in the communities where patients live and work."

"We are proud to join forces with Tri-City, an organization that shares UC San Diego Health's longstanding mission to ensure comprehensive, equitable care for all members of the communities we serve. This partnership builds off our recent acquisition of Alvarado Hospital Medical Center, a community hospital serving eastern San Diego, and will enable UC San Diego Health to continue to grow its health care network throughout the county and provide more San Diegans with access to affordable, world-class medical care, right where they live," said John Carethers, MD, vice chancellor of Health Sciences, UC San Diego.

Expanding specialty programs at UC San Diego Health – Tri-City

In collaboration with Tri-City's medical staff and regional providers, UC San Diego Health plans to expand new and existing specialty programs at Tri-City, including services for pregnancy and gynecology, cancer, cardiovascular, neurosurgical, behavioral health and other needs.

"Through investments intended to modernize facilities and technologies designed around the future of care delivery, UC San Diego Health expects to partner with Tri-City to enhance its clinical quality and patient experience as well as its cyber security infrastructure. This will be achieved, in part, by restarting or introducing critical medical and surgical services while simultaneously upgrading and protecting its technology infrastructure and information systems," said Christopher Longhurst, MD, chief medical officer and chief digital officer at UC San Diego Health. "As a pediatrician living in North County, I am absolutely thrilled to be part of the journey forward with the Tri-City team."

Labor and Delivery will be an immediate focal point of the future agreement, with the goal of re-establishing the service, enhancing the capabilities of the hospital and ultimately positioning the campus as a destination center for pregnancy care in North County. Leveraging the capabilities of UC San Diego Health's obstetrics and gynecology program, which is ranked No. 15 nationally, UC San Diego Health will immediately begin the planning process to establish a wide array of programs and services at Tri-City, including eventually reopening the Labor and Delivery service.

"With close to 5,000 deliveries a year and a top-20 ranking program nationally, we are very proud of the obstetrics and gynecology care services we provide at UC San Diego Health. As a North County resident myself, I am incredibly excited to partner with the Women's Health Services team at Tri-City to plan to resume labor and delivery services and expand the infrastructure serving mothers and newborns in North County," said Cynthia Gyamfi-Bannerman, MD, chair of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

As the only NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in San Diego, UC San Diego Health also hopes to extend its capabilities to Tri-City to provide patients with access to the latest advancements in cancer care. The redevelopment plans for Tri-City could include services including infusion center, radiation oncology, cancer clinics, clinical trials, genetic counseling and testing, and patient counseling and therapy.

Partnership model

Under the Joint Powers Agreement, UC San Diego Health has proposed to assume rights and title to District-owned assets as well as day-to-day operational responsibility for the operation of health care services for the District. The intention is to create a nine-member Community Board, which will be comprised of two appointees from the District Board, two members from the Tri-City medical staff and five members appointed by the UC San Diego Health Executive Governing Board. The Community Board would provide advice and recommendations to UC San Diego Health on strategic, operational and financial decisions relevant to its growth strategies in the District's communities. Providers would participate in an open medical staff.

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The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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