Catalina Island Health Launches Clinical Affiliation with UCI Health

Date Posted: January 18, 2023

Catalina Island Health & UCI Health Affiliation FAQs

Why does Catalina Island Health need to affiliate with another health system?

The affiliation with UCI Health creates more opportunities for patients and their families to have greater access to high quality, affordable care, closer to home. It also assists our individual member hospitals in recruiting and retaining clinical care providers. As one of Southern California’s largest acute-care hospitals, UCI Health is able to extend more of its award-winning services to long-standing strategic partners. The result is execution of a shared vision of providing high quality, value-based care for patients and communities.

The healthcare industry is undergoing major and transformative changes which are driven by many factors: healthcare reform, the increasing presence of government payers like Medicare and Medicaid that do not cover the full cost of care, an aging population, a move from a “fee-for-service” model to one based on patient health outcomes, and additional regulatory and market-based uncertainty. Organizations that have an eye toward the future will be proactive in adapting to the new landscape. In order to be successful, it is critical to increase scale, scope and geographic reach while maintaining a strong local and community focus.

What does affiliation mean?

Unlike a merger, in an affiliation, no assets are exchanged. The hospitals, staff, and physicians are not combined. Medical staff at the hospitals remain separate because the credentialing of each organization must remain distinct. Credentialing of medical staff is performed by each hospital’s respective Boards. Resources may be shared, but the hospitals continue to operate as their own entities for a seamless patient experience.

In this affiliation:

  • The assets and liabilities of each hospital are separate, but services are coordinated.
  • The hospitals retain their names and unique local brand identities. The two organizations will work together to develop branding to signify the affiliation.
  • CI Health remains a separate, 501(c)3, non-profit hospital.
  • Each hospital maintains its own separate, locally focused Board of Trustees.

Does this affiliation affect jobs at any of the hospitals?

There are no foreseeable changes to staffing levels. The goal of CI Health is to increase access to services for our community while preparing for changes in healthcare such as healthcare reform and other marketplace pressures. There will be many opportunities where an affiliation will achieve cost effectiveness through a variety of methods, such as bulk purchasing and consolidation of vendors, to realize greater economies of scale.

Does the affiliation change my experience as a patient or visitor to my hospital? Can I still receive clinical services locally?

This affiliation is about preserving and enhancing our patient’s experience. Any changes are designed to be gradual and positive, providing a streamlined processes that improves the Catalina healthcare experience — as well as increased local access to an array of expert services.

What, if any, services will be consolidated? For example, if CI Health offers the same service as UCI Health, will there be a consolidation?

There is no intention to consolidate any existing clinical services, but rather, to increase access to a greater number of services provided. The healthcare landscape will continue to evolve and one of the goals of the affiliation is to strengthen our ability to provide high quality care without residents having to travel.

Will any services be expanded as the result of the affiliation?

A major goal of the affiliation is to expand access to primary and specialty services. CI Health and UCI Health will continue to identify and create programs to improve access across the entire spectrum of care, from primary care to highly specialized services like cardiology, vascular and laboratory services, and to effectively improve the health of our community.

How is decision-making within each organization affected?

CI Health’s Board of Directors remain active and engaged. Decisions still originate at the local level where there is direct experience and interaction with patients and the local community.

Does the affiliation impact CI Health’s status as a Critical Access Hospital?

No. This affiliation does not have an impact on either hospital’s eligibility to be federally designated as a Critical Access Hospital.

What is the current status of the affiliation?

The CI Health Board of Trustees unanimously voted to enter into an affiliation agreement with UCI Health and the agreement has been executed.

Is this a sale of Catalina Island Health?

No. The Avalon Medical Development Corporation continues to own and operate Catalina Island Health.

What is the impact to employees?

One of the biggest priorities in discussing this affiliate partnership for CI Health is its workforce and culture. Without stellar employees, the hospital is simply a building. CI Health will always be committed to its employees.

Catalina Island Health Launches Clinical Affiliation with UCI Health

Catalina Island Health and UCI Health are pleased to announce a clinical affiliation between the University of California, Irvine’s leading academic health system and Catalina Island’s primary provider of emergency, primary and acute care services. The affiliation will build on the successful collaboration launched in 2016 when UCI Health began providing emergency medicine specialists to expand care in the medical center’s emergency department.

“Working with UCI Health raises the level and quality of care available to our community,” said Jason Paret, CEO of Catalina Island Health. “This new stage in our collaboration opens the door to expanding existing clinical services and increasing our community’s access to specialty care.”

Avalon’s only hospital, Catalina Island Health serves the clinical needs of Santa Catalina Island’s 4,000 residents as well as the more than one million visitors who travel to Catalina each year. Catalina Island Medical Group serves Catalina Island’s medical needs with full-time physicians and nurse practitioners and is supported by the ancillary hospital resources including diagnostic imaging, therapy services, nutritional counseling and clinical laboratory services.

“We believe the successful relationship with CI Health in emergency medicine provides a solid foundation to explore the potential for UCI Health to support CI Health and the Catalina Island Medical Center Foundation in their mission to provide the highest quality health care for residents and visitors,” said Chad. T. Lefteris, CEO of UCI Health. “This affiliation opens the door to possible expansion of primary and specialty care as CI Health grows.”

The Catalina Island Health’s emergency department evaluates and treats 2,600 cases a year, a 33% increase since the UCI Health collaboration began in 2016. Patients have consistently ranked CI Health’s emergency services as one of the best in the nation.

Catalina Island Health and its predecessor, Avalon Municipal Hospital, has provided medical care at 100 Falls Canyon Road, Avalon, since 1960. The original building featured six beds and could serve eight people at a time. Subsequent expansions added emergency and operating rooms, and laboratory, x-ray and observation rooms.

In 1982, a new wing with patient rooms, a physical therapy room and administrative offices was built. In the mid 2000s, the hospital completely renovated the emergency and operating rooms and added new clinic exam rooms and space for physicians. It purchased a new CT scanner and began to offer telemedicine services to connect island patients to medical specialists on the mainland.

Future plans include the development of a new hospital facility that will meet the State of California’s mandate that all hospitals meet existing seismic safety standards by 2030.

UCI Health is the clinical enterprise of the University of California, Irvine, and the only academic health system in Orange County. Patients can access UCI Health at primary and specialty care offices across Orange County and at its main campus, UCI Medical Center in Orange, Calif. The 459-bed acute care hospital, listed among America’s Best Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report for 22 consecutive years, provides tertiary and quaternary care, ambulatory and specialty medical clinics, behavioral health and rehabilitation services. UCI Medical Center is home to Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal/neonatal program and American College of Surgeons-verified Level I adult and Level II pediatric trauma center and regional burn center. UCI Health serves a region of nearly 4 million people in Orange County, western Riverside County and southeast Los Angeles County.