UC Board of Regents OKs UCSD, Children’s Hospital Partnership
Without "dissent or discussion," the University of California Board of Regents agreed yesterday with the recommendation of its health services committee and voted in favor of the merger between UCSD pediatric services and Children's Hospital of San Diego. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the vote allows the two organizations to "finalize details" of the merger and conclude a "formal agreement" by the end of the year. Critics say the affiliation will result in less choice for consumers and cause problems for emergency cases if Children's is full. Backers of the deal say the arrangement will improve medical treatment for children in the area. Some of the UCSD's pediatric services will move to Children's but primary care, the burn unit and neonatal care will remain at UCSD (Petrillo, San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/17). Under the plan, UCSD medical students would be able to train with patients at Children's Hospital, which admits "most of the region's sick children." In return, Children's would benefit from UCSD's "many federal and private grants" and larger number of physicians (California Healthline, 11/16).
In an editorial, the San Diego Union-Tribune calls the link between the two facilities a "giant plus for children, for the institutions and the community." While noting that past attempts to merge have failed, the editorial says that the two institutions have collaborated on pediatric programs "for years" and that the "formal long-term partnership" is the "logical next big step." The link will allow medical students at the university to benefit from a "vastly expanded patient population." The editorial asserts that patients at Children's will "get better care" at an "integrated hospital" by having access to "advanced scientific research" from a university with a "reputation for excellence." While acknowledging the "loss of competition" and "inevitable conflict" that arises when "academic medicine joins forces with private clinicians," the editorial says there is "much to be gained by the new partnership." The editorial concludes, "All sides must do what they can to enable the final negotiations to succeed" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/17).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.