UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland unveils new outpatient center, doctors are concerned about lack of local control

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland unveiled a new expanded outpatient center today. While everyone is thrilled about the larger space some doctors are concerned they're losing a say in how the facility is run.

Hospital leadership, patients, and family cut a ceremonial ribbon inside Children's new outpatient building. The six-story building adds 89,000 square feet of exam rooms and workspace. It's a ribbon-cutting that's long overdue.

"Children's Hospital is amazing, but it's definitely dated so to see all the new facilities and to experience that is pretty awesome," said Lindsay Bolin. Her daughter, Leah Carroll, has been treated in the hospital and has monthly outpatient bone marrow treatments.

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You can't miss the color blocked facade of the new building.

"It's exciting for her to come. It's new. It's bright," said Bolin.

UCSF leaders say it's an example of where healthcare is going. Patients will spend less time in the hospital and be treated more often in the outpatient facility.

"We know the future of healthcare is going to be much more outpatient based. In other words, we're keeping kids home with very serious diseases and that's great. Home is where these kids should be," said Dr. Michael Anderson, President of UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals. He says advances in technology have made this possible.

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"People (are) going home quickly after very invasive procedures because the technology has advanced," explained Dr. Anderson.
But not all is cheery at Children's. The merger with UCSF has left some Oakland doctors feeling like all of the decision making comes from San Francisco.

"We're seeing instability in our staffing and we're seeing a loss of local governance," said Dr. Stephen Long, a pediatric anesthesiologist.

Concerned doctors created a petition on Change.org. https://www.change.org/p/dr-hawgood-members-of-the-board-of-directors-support-for-ubcho-faculty?recruiter=689706053&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=share_petition

"The physicians have less control over the programs and the patients," said Dr. Long.

While hospital leadership and doctors sort out differences work continues to open the new outpatient center. Ambulatory management coordinators are stocking supplies so the facility can open in two weeks.

The $180 million facility was funded by donors, fundraising efforts, and grants.

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