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UCSD, Sharp Partner To Improve Care For Patients With Liver Disease

Photo credit: Leo Castaneda

The UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest is shown in this undated photo.

The healthcare organizations said they will collaborate on research, expand specialized liver care and enhance liver transplant services.

UC San Diego Health and Sharp HealthCare Monday announced an alliance to improve care for area patients with end-stage liver disease.

The healthcare organizations said they will collaborate on research, expand specialized liver care and enhance liver transplant services.

The partnership will also help lower costs for liver care, given the resources required by transplants and the volume of patients in need of advanced care, according to UCSD and Sharp HealthCare.

"Our expert multidisciplinary liver transplant team is known for its ability to handle the most complicated, high-risk cases," said Patty Maysent, interim CEO of UC San Diego Health.

"We now look forward to collaborating with Sharp HealthCare to increase the efficiency and cost effectiveness of the program and, most importantly, provide more end-stage liver disease patients in San Diego with the continuity of care they need."

Dan Gross, executive vice president of hospital operations at Sharp HealthCare, said, "This endeavor follows our highly successful joint bone marrow transplant program. Preventing program duplication while meeting community health care needs and driving down health care costs is rewarding."

Under the new partnership, UC San Diego Health and Sharp HealthCare will collaborate on the pre-transplant referral and evaluation process, in order to assess a patient's candidacy and continued eligibility for a donor organ on the United Network for Organ Sharing liver transplant wait list, Gross said.

All liver transplant surgeries in the partnership will be performed at UC San Diego Health. Sharp HealthCare will continue its development of advanced liver care at Sharp Coronado Hospital.

The arrangement also includes provisions for UC San Diego Health and Sharp HealthCare to collaborate on clinical and academic research programs to further improve the quality and efficiency of liver transplant services.

In addition, the partnership plans to expand its reach by collaborating with Southern California Liver Centers, a medical practice that provides gastrointestinal, liver and transplant care at five locations.

Scripps and UCSD are the only hospital groups in San Diego that perform liver transplants. UCSD surgeons also perform the operation at Rady Children's Hospital.

Last year, there were 77 liver transplants in San Diego.

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