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UCSF Health has signed a definitive agreement with Dignity Health to acquire Saint Francis Memorial Hospital and St. Mary’s Medical Center, along with associated outpatient clinics in San Francisco. The organization hopes to close the transaction in spring 2024.

Building on decades of collaboration between the organizations, the acquisition ensures that two of San Francisco’s longest-serving community hospitals – and the unique services they provide – remain accessible to San Franciscans.

“St. Mary’s and Saint Francis have a proud history of providing comprehensive health care in San Francisco,” said Suresh Gunasekaran, president and chief executive officer of UCSF Health. “This is an opportunity to honor that legacy, expanding access and enhancing care for our neighbors while reinforcing UCSF Health’s deep commitment to our hometown.”

UCSF Health has committed to maintaining Saint Francis and St. Mary’s existing services, ensuring patients have convenient local access for their primary and specialty care needs. UCSF Health has also committed to retention of the employees of both hospitals. Preserving these historic hospitals will keep patients connected with their care providers and maintain vital services like the Bothin Burn Center, the Gender Institute, the McAuley Adolescent Psychiatric Unit, and the Sister Mary Philippa Health Center at a time when communities are losing health care options.

“Saint Francis Memorial Hospital and St. Mary’s Medical Center have cared for the most vulnerable among us and offered specialized services not available at any other local care sites,” said Dr. Richard Podolin, cardiologist and chair, Dignity Health St. Mary’s Medical Center Community Board. “The transition of ownership and investment by UCSF Health will ensure these hospitals carry this legacy forward, providing access to high-quality, patient-centered care and services to all San Franciscans.”

Saint Francis and St. Mary’s will retain their open medical staffs, a departure from the faculty-based structure at UCSF Health’s other hospitals. Ensuring local doctors can continue to practice at each location preserves critical, longstanding patient-provider relationships and supports San Francisco’s diverse medical community.

In recognition of their long history of caring for San Franciscans and deep roots in the community, and as the newest addition to the UCSF Health system, the two hospitals’ new names will be UCSF Health Saint Francis Hospital and UCSF Health St. Mary’s Hospital.

UCSF Health plans to build on the strengths of the hospitals, including their dedicated community physicians and employed staff, by expanding key services such as cardiology and surgery in the first year. Initial plans also include bolstering hospital medicine programs and both emergency departments to better support care providers and improve patients’ experience.

Shelby Decosta, president of the UCSF Health Affiliates Network, a longtime UCSF Health leader and Dignity Health alum, will have executive oversight over the two hospitals.

Moving beyond the complex specialty care it is known for, UCSF Health is making a meaningful shift toward incorporating convenient and comprehensive community-based care into its health system. These investments will also open unused bed space in both hospitals for patients who need primary and specialty care in San Francisco.

In the near term, increasing staffing and resources at Saint Francis and St. Mary’s will allow more patients across San Francisco to be seen at the currently under-utilized hospitals and will help UCSF Health see more patients with complex health conditions at its other sites, including the new hospital at Parnassus Heights opening in 2030.

Bringing Saint Francis and St. Mary’s into the health system also expands access to UCSF Health’s internationally renowned experts and highly specialized, innovative care. Connecting both hospitals’ community-based care with the clinical excellence of UCSF Health’s academic medical center will help enhance already strong patient outcomes, quality and safety.

Consistently ranked as one of the top hospitals in the United States, UCSF Medical Center was named to the Honor Roll of the nation’s best hospitals by U.S. News & World Report for 2023-2024. The medical center was also listed among the country’s top 10 hospitals in seven specialties: neurology/neurosurgery, geriatric care, psychiatry, cancer, autoimmune disorders, pulmonology/lung surgery, and ophthalmology.