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New California network mimics Kaiser's approach

UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco and Walnut Creek, Calif.-based John Muir Health have finalized an affiliation agreement, created a jointly owned network and set their sights on developing a health insurance plan.

Through the jointly owned network, called the Bay Area Accountable Care Network, the partners plan to collaborate to build new medical facilities and bring more physicians into their network, while remaining independent.

UCSF Medical Center and John Muir will also apply for a restricted Knox-Keene license, which would allow the accountable care network to contract directly with health plans to develop an insurance product.

Mark Laret, CEO of UCSF Medical Center and the UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital in San Francisco and Oakland, told the San Francisco Business Times the organizations hope to gain the regulatory approval needed to begin offering their health insurance plan in the Bay Area by the end of 2015.

The only other health network in the region that integrates hospitals, physicians and insurance is Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente, according to the San Francisco Business Times.

Other systems, such as Sacramento, Calif.-based Sutter Health, are also looking to imitate what Kaiser has done, and UCSF Medical Center and John Muir will now be better positioned to compete with those systems, according to the report.

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