The goal of the center is to support innovations at the UC health campuses that can transform the way the health needs of Californians are addressed and therefore advance the health of California and beyond.
UC Health, which supported federal health reform, includes UC's five academic medical centers, 10 hospitals and 16 health professional schools. As part of health reform, providers will be expected to better coordinate care and improve the quality, access and value of care delivered to patients. The center is a sign of UC Health's leadership and commitment toward meeting those challenges and fulfilling its mission of patient care, health professional education and research to serve all Californians.
Center projects will take place at UC campuses with a small coordinating staff based at the UC Office of the President in Oakland. The center will be a best practices clearinghouse and provide financial support for projects at individual UC campuses that could be extended throughout the UC system to improve wellness and enhance the delivery of health care. A board that includes the six UC medical school deans, five UC medical center CEOs and is chaired by Dr. John Stobo, UC senior vice president for health sciences and services, will govern the center.
"UC campuses are already involved in innovative projects to improve health care," Stobo said. "This center will help connect the best and brightest UC minds so we can spread the most effective innovations throughout the system, provide Californians with better health care and be a leader in delivering health reforms."
The center's board has appointed Terry Leach, UC Office of the President manager of health policy, to serve as interim executive director. Leach has more than 30 years experience in health care delivery, having started her career as a medical-surgical nurse and then as a public health nurse in Spanish-speaking communities and later serving as a health care attorney.
"UC is a proven leader in providing excellent health care," Leach said. "This new center will allow us to further focus our considerable intellectual ‘horsepower' on patient-centered health care delivery across the UC Health system, allowing us to enhance quality, access and value of care for all Californians."
Funding for the center will be provided by each of the five UC medical centers -- initially $5 million ($1 million each from medical centers at UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC San Diego and UC San Francisco). The funds will come from money generated from the California Hospital Fee Program. The program imposes a fee on California hospitals to make supplemental Medi-Cal payments and direct grants to hospitals, and help support coverage for children.
"I'm proud that the University of California medical centers will be reinvesting a portion of the hospital provider fee to study and implement ways to make California's entire health care delivery system safer, more efficient and more effective," said innovation center board member Mark Laret, CEO of UCSF Medical Center. "This reflects UC's commitment to improve the health status not just for the patients we care for directly, but to improve the system for all Californians, including the most vulnerable who are being cared for by California's tremendous network of community clinics and hospitals."
The center also will pursue grants and philanthropic funding.
The center will share its knowledge throughout the UC system and beyond, including posting information on the UC Health website at http://universityofcalifornia.edu/sites/uchealth. The center also can be a valuable resource for leaders in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., and other stakeholders interested in using its findings to help develop health policy. Its work is meant to complement and extend campus-based innovation efforts such as the UCLA Innovates HealthCare Initiative.
Examples of the types of UC campus innovations that the center will be looking at to identify best practices and share throughout UC Health and to other health care providers across the nation include:
- UC Davis' Interim Care Program, which works with other health systems and organizations to provide an 18-bed shelter that allows homeless men and women to recuperate from their medical conditions after being discharged from a hospital and referred by the hospital's nursing staff, helping to reduce hospital readmissions.
- UC Irvine's study of the effectiveness of new methods to prevent staph infections in people who harbor MRSA bacteria when they're discharged from the hospital.
- A UCLA-led consortium involving five UC medical schools and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center that is researching the use of wireless and telephone care management to reduce hospital readmissions for heart failure patients.
- UC San Diego's project that allows physicians to make follow-up appointments at participating community clinics for patients being treated in the hospital or emergency department who don't have a physician, improving patient care and safety while reducing return ER visits.
- UC San Francisco's program to reduce the amount of "door-to-balloon" time transporting heart attack patients from the emergency room to the catheterization lab for balloon angioplasty, a procedure to open narrowed or blocked blood vessels of the heart.