Summer 2010

UCSF Offers Weight-Loss Surgery Information Sessions

Informational seminars on weight loss surgery are offered by the UCSF Bariatric Surgery Center for prospective patients, their families and physicians. No appointment is necessary. Seminars are held on Wednesday mornings and the first Thursday of the month at UCSF Medical Center. The UCSF Bariatric Surgery Center has performed weight loss procedures since 1996, treating over 1,000 patients. Patients undergo comprehensive evaluation prior to surgery, along with nutritional counseling. Minimally invasive and investigational techniques — such as transoral gastroplasty or TOGA, an "incision-free" procedure — are available. Call (415) 353–2804 or email for more information. Learn more at

Weight Management Covered by Most Insurance Plans

The UCSF Weight Management Program helps patients lose weight to prepare for bariatric surgery as well as other procedures such as joint replacement and back surgery or to help patients with chronic conditions who would benefit from weight loss. Most insurance plans, including HMOs, Medi-Cal, Medicare and PPOs, now cover weight management because of the documented risks of obesity. Primary care doctors, who are members of Hill Physicians Medical Group, can refer HMO patients to the program without authorization. Members of other medical groups, including Brown & Toland, require prior authorization for referrals. For more information, call (415) 353–2105 or visit To make an appointment, call (415) 353–4624.

Readmission Rate of Heart Failure Patients Reduced by 30%

UCSF Medical Center has reduced its 30-day readmission rate for heart failure patients by 30 percent in a year. One of the keys to the success of the hospital's Heart Failure Program has been ensuring that patients have appointments with their primary care doctors when discharged or that appointments are scheduled within a week after returning home. These appointments are critical for the review and possible adjustment of new medications, and for addressing potential problems to prevent readmission. Two heart failure discharge coordinators — registered nurses Eileen Brinker and Maureen Carroll — work closely with patients to ensure that appointments are made. The program cares for patients 65 years of age and older with a primary or secondary diagnosis of heart failure who are admitted to one of three hospital units. Brinker and Carroll work with primary care physicians as well as representatives from nursing, home health care and local skilled nursing facilities. Later this year, they plan to meet with primary care doctors in the community for feedback on how to further improve continuity of care. To contact Brinker and Carroll, call (415) 353-1601.

Acute Care Unit for the Elderly Opens at Mount Zion

UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion has opened an Acute Care for the Elderly (ACE) unit to treat seniors. Dr. Elizabeth Murphy, a hospitalist at Mount Zion, spearheaded the five-bed unit with a $16,000 grant from the Mount Zion Health Fund. Murphy and Carla Graf, a nurse specializing in geriatric patients, developed a training program for doctors, nurses, pharmacists, patient care assistants, 12 volunteers and others to build a team with the skills needed to provide the specialized screening and care. Staff members are trained to prevent pressure sores and falls as well as to keep patients from becoming bed-bound and isolated. The unit uses evidence-based strategies to increase the likelihood that patients return home after a hospital stay rather than be transferred to a nursing home or rehabilitation center.

Specialized Evaluations for Athletes at UCSF Human Performance Center

The Human Performance Center at the UCSF Orthopaedic Institute offers assessments for all athletes, from the recreational to elite. The center has a 10-camera motion analysis system that evaluates biomechanics and measures movement in 3-D. A special floor, with built in "force plates," calculates the impact of activity. Athletes also can be evaluated with a "metabolic cart," with a meter to measure oxygen consumption and energy expenditure. Other tests measure cardiovascular and respiratory function tests at rest and on a running treadmill; energy use with a pro-level cycling ergometer; and a fatigue threshold with a lactate blood test. Evaluations can take up to two hours and cost about $250, depending on services requested. Services are generally not covered by insurance and are self-pay. Referrals are not necessary. For more information, call athletic trainer Joe Smith at (415) 353-7896 or visit

Continuing Medical Education - Essentials of Primary Care

UCSF's Continuing Medical Education (CME) Program is offering "Core Curriculum for Ambulatory Practice" from Sunday, Aug. 8 to Friday, Aug. 13 at the Squaw Creek Resort near Lake Tahoe. The cost is $715 for physicians and $565 for allied health professionals, residents and fellows. Topics include office-based preventive medicine; common problems in primary care practice; expanded skills in clinical examination; and office procedures. The course is chaired by Robert Baron, M.D., M.S., and presented by the Division of General Internal Medicine. For more information, call the CME office at (415) 476-4251 or visit and see a list of course by department.

Need Help Making a Referral?

UCSF Medical Center

The Physician Liaison Service assists physicians, medical groups and health plans refer or transfer patients or arrange a consultation. For more information, visit Members of Hill Physicians Medical Group can access referral and patient information electronically via RelayHealth.

Phone (800) 444-2559
Fax (415) 353-4395

UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital

A toll-free Physician Admitting Hotline is the gateway for inpatient services at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. For more information, visit

Phone: (877) UC-CHILD or (877) 822-4453

Send Us Your Feedback

Do you have a topic you’d like us to address or a suggestions regarding our new format? Let us know what you think by sending an email to Please put "PCC" in the subject line of your message.

Stay Connected

Get medical updates by subscribing to this email newsletter. (We will not share email address with any third parties.) Sign up here or contact us with your feedback.