Faced with hospital overcapacity in California, Kaiser Permanente has signed a memorandum of understanding with Alta Bates Medical Center to provide inpatient services to Kaiser's women enrollees in the Oakland area.
Oakland-based Kaiser has traditionally provided inpatient care to its California health plan enrollees in its own hospitals. Enrollees are treated in non-Kaiser hospitals elsewhere in the country.
Earlier this year Kaiser said it would establish alliances with community hospitals in its Northern and Southern California regions.
This first understanding with 504-bed Alta Bates expands a relationship in which the Berkeley, Calif.-based hospital provides specialty services, including bone marrow and kidney transplants; radiation oncology; burn care; mental health; and rehabilitation.
Under the new agreement, Alta Bates would provide labor and delivery services, gynecological care, newborn nursery, and neonatal intensive care.
Kaiser physicians will continue to provide and oversee medical care to enrollees hospitalized at Alta Bates.
The alliance is expected to bring an additional 2,500 births to Alta Bates each year.
The agreement is subject to negotiations and a formal contract as well as review by the leadership of both organizations and by labor unions. Kaiser hopes to transfer inpatient maternity services from 344-bed Kaiser Foundation Hospital-Oakland to Alta Bates by the end of next year.
Kaiser also is negotiating with 460-bed Summit Medical Center in Oakland to provide most adult inpatient and surgical care and emergency care. It also is negotiating with 146-bed Children's Hospital Oakland to provide pediatric inpatient care and specialized neonatal intensive care and emergency care.
Kaiser members also would receive emergency care at those hospitals.
Kaiser plans to close its Oakland emergency department when all hospital services have been transferred to Summit, Alta Bates and Children's Hospital.