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Statement regarding partnerships between Dignity Health and the University of California

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA (November 22, 2019) - For more than 100 years academic medical centers, public health departments, and state health agencies have partnered with Dignity Health hospitals to make sure patients get the urgent medical care they need. These kinds of partnerships are at the core of California’s public health safety net and help hundreds of thousands of patients each year get timely access to critically needed health services, including cancer care, mental health, trauma, newborn intensive care, and LGBTQ health, as well as access to urgent social services for homeless patients and others who are underserved. Many of these partnerships have resulted in life-saving services or public health programs that would not otherwise have been available. 

What the ACLU of Northern California is proposing would directly harm public health and access to critical health services across the state. We are very surprised and alarmed that it is seeking to restrict care coordination in a way that would negatively impact health outcomes. Services like the only pediatric trauma center in the San Fernando Valley, the only inpatient adolescent mental health program in San Francisco, access to cancer clinical trials for patients in Stockton, and telemedicine in rural areas for specialty services like stroke care are possible because of partnerships between Dignity Health and UC. 

Partnerships like these are especially important for low income patients, with Dignity Health and the University of California serving as the #1 and #2 providers of Medi-Cal services. Not being able to partner and coordinate care for these patients would have a tremendous negative impact on care for those patients. 

Helping people stay healthy requires access to an array of specialized health and social services. No single health system can do this alone – partnerships are the only way to provide access to the full range of needed services in our communities. In fact, partnerships like those between faith-based health providers and public health institutions are extremely common all across the country. 

Dignity Health has a long legacy of providing health care in California to all people of all backgrounds. That includes providing women’s health care and specialty care for the LGBTQ community that would not otherwise be available. Physicians in California are independent practitioners and Dignity Health and UC have always expected any physician practicing at a Dignity Health location to discuss all treatment options, prescribe appropriate medications, and facilitate access to another provider if a Dignity Health location does not provide a desired service. We are working alongside UC to amend some of our contracts to make this even more clear. We hope to find ways to sustain and grow this vital relationship and others like it moving forward. 


Additional Support:
Statement from California Hospital Association
Statement from California Medical Association

About Saint Francis Memorial Hospital
Dignity Health Saint Francis Memorial Hospital is an accredited, not-for-profit community hospital that has been providing exceptional healthcare in San Francisco for more than 100 years. Located atop Nob Hill, near downtown San Francisco, Saint Francis is home to the Bothin Burn Center, the largest in Northern California, the Saint Francis Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Institute, and The Gender Institute, which delivers compassionate, high quality, affordable health services to transgender patients and their families. In close proximity to downtown San Francisco, Saint Francis also specializes in Occupational Health and Emergency Medicine. Saint Francis has been designated as a Blue Distinction Center for Spine and Hip/Knee Replacement Surgery and is a Certified Stroke Center by the Joint Commission. For more information, call (415) 353-6000 or visit

About St. Mary’s Medical Center
Dignity Health St. Mary's Medical Center is an accredited, not-for-profit community hospital that has been caring for the people of San Francisco since 1857. Located across from Golden Gate Park, it is the longest continually running hospital in San Francisco. St. Mary’s cardiac program offers diagnostic services, treatment, and rehabilitation. St. Mary’s also was recognized as one of the Top 100 Orthopedic Programs nationally by Becker’s Hospital Review and is a Joint Commission Certified Stroke Center. St. Mary’s state-of-the-art Cancer Center offers the full range of oncology, radiation, and imaging services. Offering the most comprehensive breast imaging services in San Francisco, St. Mary’s has been designated as a Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology, a recognition that represents the national gold standard. Beyond clinical care, St. Mary's is committed to furthering the healing ministry, and to providing high-quality, affordable health care to the community it serves. For more information, call (415) 668-1000 or visit



Publish date: 

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Media Contact

Christine McMurry, Director of External Communications

p: (415) 250-4440

[email protected]