University of California Board of Regents
President Michael V. Drake
University of California Office of the President
Nadine Burke Harris, MD, MPH, FAAP Surgeon General of California
October 15, 2020
Dear President Drake, Dr. Burke Harris, and UC Board of Regents:
The 2014 Affiliation of Children’s Hospital and Research Center Oakland with UCSF was touted as a collaboration of equals, a public-private partnership strengthening both hospitals. Instead the Affiliation has jeopardized the future of Children’s Hospital and its mission to serve all children regardless of background, race, medical condition or ability to pay. It has weakened the role of Children’s Oakland as both a safety net hospital for the neediest children in our community, and a tertiary care pediatric referral center for the sickest.
UCSF took over the leadership and control of Children’s Oakland without financial responsibility for the effects of its decisions. The economic impact has been devastating.
The patient population at Children’s Hospital Oakland represents the demographics of the East Bay, with many immigrants, children of color, and families from a lower socioeconomic status. The transfer of wealth and resources from Children’s Oakland to UCSF can be seen as a form of structural racism, where people with less access to money and influence also get less access to healthy food, healthy air and water, equal rights, and in this case less access to quality health care.
Since the Affiliation, nurses, health care workers, Nurse Practitioners and MDs have worked to address these increasing healthcare disparities and costs. We have engaged UCSF leadership without success. UCSF continues to implement changes without the community’s knowledge or employees’ input. Employees of CHO are dismayed by UCSF’s practices and at being treated with disregard and a take it or leave it attitude.
Therefore, we, in partnership with nurse leaders at CHO, request that the Affiliation agreement return to its original intent, to improve care for all children as an equal public-private partnership. Specifically, we ask to:
- Restore high quality, tertiary care for all children at Children’s Hospital Oakland
- Create a Board and Executive Leadership structure at Oakland independent of UCSF
- Create a health care system committed to rooting out structural racism and correcting the inequities between Oakland and San Francisco
- Commit to respecting and retaining Nurses, Doctors and other health care workers who have dedicated our careers to care for this community