University of California, San Diego


November 14, 2000


Dear Colleagues:

I am pleased to announce that we are preparing to enter the final phase of discussions with Children's Hospital and Health Center, as we work toward unification of our children's health services with Children's at the Children's Hospital site.

We will present a comprehensive proposal for affiliation to the University of California Board of Regents Committee on Health Services on Wednesday, November 15 and to the full Board on Thursday, Nov. 16. The proposed agreement has been developed over a year of discussion between UCSD administrative and faculty leadership, and physician and administrative leadership of Children's Hospital and Children's Specialists of San Diego. While some remaining details are still under discussion, pending Regents approval this week, we hope to reach final agreement by the end of this calendar year.

The creation of a world-class center for advanced patient care, research, teaching and community service in the interest of children's health has been a long-held dream of UCSD and Children's Hospital. The excellence of both programs is well established, and the collaboration between us is extensive. In fact, the many partnerships we have developed on a program by program basis over the years are truly vital for our success.

In my experience, the best children's hospitals combine all of the strengths of a dedicated children's medical center with a full spectrum of clinical programs serving a large volume of patients, enhanced by the research and educational activities offered by a university-based pediatrics department. The synergy that will be achieved by combining forces will enable us to enter the top tier of academic children's medical centers known worldwide for innovative, advanced care. Full partnership between our institutions will lead to increased access to high quality primary and specialty care and clinical trials for our region's pediatric patients, expanded community-based health programs, and strengthened ability to retain and recruit the finest staff, physicians and trainees.

Under the terms of the proposed agreement, after we have worked out the transition details with Children's Hospital to ensure that appropriate staffing and support services are in place, UCSD will begin a phased transfer of almost all inpatient pediatric programs to Children's Hospital.

UCSD Medical Center will continue to operate the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and the newborn nursery, the UCSD Regional Burn Center will continue to care for burned children, and UCSD emergency rooms will remain open to children. Some services, including ophthalmology, renal dialysis, adolescent medicine and the General Clinical Research Center, will continue at UCSD sites for the foreseeable future, and outpatient primary care services will continue to be offered at UCSD sites.

Over the past several months we have provided updates on our progress to UCSD staff who would be affected by the transfer of programs to Children's Hospital, and have assured them that nobody will be without a job as a result of this affiliation. UCSD employees will have a number of alternatives, including the option of becoming Children's Hospital employees to staff programs that are being relocated and accommodate the expanded patient volumes, with seniority and other benefits taken into consideration. Special arrangements have been made so that employees nearing retirement will be able to continue as UCSD employees working at Children's Hospital. Staff who choose not to move to Children's will be offered comparable positions within UCSD.

As we complete our discussions with Children's and develop a final, detailed agreement, we also will begin development of a comprehensive transition plan. I will appoint task forces to work with Children's in the design of a plan and timeline to phase services from Hillcrest to the Children's site, with a smooth implementation for patients and their families as the primary goal.

I anticipate that if an agreement is achieved by the end of 2000, we will begin planning the transition of programs in early 2001, as soon as the space is available and staffing is in place to handle the shift in patient volume. Some programs will move sooner than others; as we begin to jointly develop a detailed transition plan we will share the information with you.

I appreciate your continued interest in and enthusiasm for this initiative, and will provide updates during the coming weeks as we move closer toward a final agreement.


                                                Edward W. Holmes, M.D.
                                                Vice Chancellor, Health Sciences
                                                Dean, School of Medicine