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UC San Diego Health System, Scripps Health Partner in Hospice Care, Training and Research


April 22, 2015  |  

UC San Diego Health System and Scripps Health are partnering to provide improved continuity of patient care, fellowship training and research in hospice and palliative medicine. Under a new five-year agreement, Scripps will work with UC San Diego to provide outpatient and inpatient hospice care for UC San Diego patients, allowing UC San Diego physicians to better coordinate post-acute care for patients with chronic illness. The joint fellowship program is the only physician training program of its kind in San Diego County.

“We look forward to collaborating with Scripps to offer comprehensive, patient-centered care to our patients in need of long-term or end-of-life medical care, support and comfort,” said Paul Viviano, CEO, UC San Diego Health System and associate vice chancellor, UC San Diego Health Sciences. “In addition, the hospice and palliative medicine fellowship program will train many physicians in the core principles of pain and symptom management, communication skills and care coordination for patients with serious and life-limiting conditions.”

UC San Diego patients who select Scripps Hospice for post-acute hospice care will benefit from UC San Diego and Scripps providers working closely together to ensure the highest quality and continuum of care.

“Scripps is pleased to partner with UC San Diego on this integrated program to improve patient care, physician training and research,” said Scripps Health president and CEO Chris Van Gorder. “This initiative fits with Scripps’ mission to collaborate with others to deliver the continuum of care that improves the health of our community.”

The hospice and palliative medicine training program is an extension of a fellowship that was previously offered through San Diego Hospice. Gary Buckholz, MD, UC San Diego, and Holly Yang, MD, Scripps Health, co-direct the joint fellowship program, which will be housed at UC San Diego beginning in July 2015. The program will engage faculty from both organizations, exemplifying the teamwork required to meet the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of palliative care and hospice patients and their families.

Candidates for the fellowship program represent many different specialties, including internal medicine, family medicine, emergency medicine, pediatrics, surgery, neurology, radiology and others. Once accepted, physician-trainees will divide their time among hospice and palliative care training and rotations at UC San Diego and Scripps. Specializing in hospice and palliative medicine gives a physician the knowledge and skills to prevent and relieve the suffering of patients and families, while working with an interdisciplinary team of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, counselors, social workers and other health care providers.

The agreement also includes provisions for Scripps and UC San Diego to collaborate on clinical trials and research programs involving hospice and palliative care.

Scripps Hospice is one of the largest providers of hospice services in the San Diego region. It builds on a foundation of experience developed through Scripps Home Health and Palliative Care Services. Scripps has been offering home health services for more than 25 years, providing tens of thousands of patient visits annually. Scripps’ highly regarded palliative care program provides pain management, emotional, psychosocial and spiritual care to patients facing life-limiting illness. 

The fellowship program helps fill a growing need for hospice and palliative care physicians. According to the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, the U.S. physician work force is failing to keep pace with increasing demands for hospice and palliative care services, as more people live longer with chronic diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 117 million people — half of the U.S. adult population — have at least one chronic health condition.

About UC San Diego Health System
UC San Diego Health System is the region's only academic health system and is dedicated to delivering outstanding patient care through commitment to the community, groundbreaking research and inspired teaching. It ranked #1 in San Diego for the fourth consecutive year in 2014 in U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Hospitals" issue. UC San Diego Health System is composed of UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest, and Thornton Hospital, Moores Cancer Center, Shiley Eye Institute, Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center and Jacobs Medical Center (opening 2016) in La Jolla, as well as other primary and specialty practices located throughout Southern California. For more information, visit 

About Scripps Health
Founded in 1924 by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps, Scripps Health is a nonprofit integrated health system based in San Diego, Calif. Scripps treats more than 600,000 patients annually through the dedication of 2,600 affiliated physicians and more than 14,000 employees among its five acute-care hospital campuses, hospice and home health care services, 28 outpatient centers and clinics, and hundreds of physician offices throughout the region.

Recognized as a leader in prevention, diagnosis and treatment, Scripps is also at the forefront of clinical research, genomic medicine and wireless health care. With three highly respected graduate medical education programs, Scripps is a longstanding member of the Association of American Medical Colleges. In 2014, Truven Health Analytics named Scripps one of the top five large health systems in the nation for the third year, and Scripps hospitals are consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the nation’s best. Scripps is regularly recognized by Fortune, Working Mother magazine and AARP as one of the best places in the nation to work. More information can be found at

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Heather Buschman, PhD

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