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UCSF, Sonoma Valley Hospital ink affiliation pact

Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune Sonoma Valley Hospital has signed an agreement with UCSF Health to create an integrated health care network that will serve the needs of Sonoma Valley residents.

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UCSF Health and Sonoma Valley Hospital have signed an affiliation agreement to create an integrated health care network that will serve the needs of Sonoma Valley residents.

The agreement received its final approval by the Sonoma Valley Health Care District board during its March 1 meeting.

The affiliation aims to improve health care in the Sonoma Valley by combining the expertise and resources of UCSF Health – according to US News and World Reports, the top-ranked medical center in California and one of the top five hospitals nationwide – and the community care focus of SVH, to provide a top-quality continuum of care for Sonoma residents.

“Sonoma Valley Hospital, with its engaged management team, board members and community, is the ideal partner for UCSF Health in Sonoma County,” said Mark Laret, president and chief executive officer of UCSF Health.

“In today’s highly complex health care environment, hospitals large and small are coming together to provide a full spectrum of care for patients. The affiliation of UCSF Health and Sonoma Valley Hospital offers the best of both worlds – specialty care when needed, and ongoing, high-quality care when patients are ready to return home.”

As part of the proposed agreement, UCSF Health will provide the hospital with a new medical director, replacing Robert Cohen who served as SVH’s medical director and recently retired. Sonoma Valley Hospital will continue operating as an independent district hospital, with a joint operations committee to oversee the affiliation.

“This affiliation provides us with close ties to a world-class health care system and strengthens our ability to serve our community in a number of ways, enabling access to specialized services not currently available in our region,” said Kelly Mather, chief executive officer of Sonoma Valley Hospital.

The agreement identifies several goals for collaboration between the two hospitals:

Combine the expertise and resources of UCSF Health and SVH to share best practices and collectively enhance the quality of services in Sonoma Valley;

Coordinate services for out-of-area transport of sick patients and facilitate their transfer back to SVH when they require less intensive care;

Enhance the availability of physician and administrative services in Sonoma Valley through joint program development; and

Increase patient, family and community satisfaction with patient care in the Sonoma community.

The two hospitals have had an informal working relationship for several years in obstetrics, through which UCSF Health has served as a resource for SVH, providing education for OB nurses, supporting OB case reviews and conferring on high-risk pregnancies.

This was strengthened in 2015 when SVH joined Canopy Health, an accountable care network of independent hospitals and physicians started by UCSF Health, John Muir Health System and three physician networks (Hill Physicians Medical Group, John Muir IPA and Meritage Medical Network) that now spans the greater Bay Area.

The affiliation is part of UCSF Health’s ongoing effort to meet patients’ full spectrum of health needs through a growing network of high-quality partnerships and providers in areas outside the traditional academic medical model of high-end specialty care.

In the past few years, UCSF Health has affiliated with a number of Bay Area providers and health systems, ranging from UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland to John Muir Health, Dignity Health Bay Area, Washington Hospital Healthcare System, Golden Gate Urgent Care and Hospice by the Bay.