Canopy Health, San Francisco Health Network Announce Collaboration that will Expand Hospital-Based Midwifery Access in San Francisco

ZSFG signs first-ever contract to offer midwifery services to commercial health plan enrollees.

EMERYVILLE, Calif. – August 5, 2019 — Canopy Health and San Francisco Health Network (SFHN) announced today they have signed a contract, effective July 1, 2019, to expand hospital-based midwifery access at Zuckerberg San Francisco General (ZSFG). This is the first time SFHN, which includes ZSFG, has signed a contract to provide services to enrollees with commercial health plan coverage.

“Through strategic expansion and partnerships, Canopy Health can give commercial HMO members increased access to care and more choice when they have a baby,” said Jeff Burnich, M.D., Chief Physician Enterprise Executive at Canopy Health.

ZSFG’s Family Birth Center is home to the longest-standing hospital-based nurse midwifery practice in San Francisco. The midwifery program was established in 1975 by a team of obstetricians and nurse-midwife community leaders to provide more choices for childbearing women.

“The ZSFG midwifery program is a great option for healthy women who want limited interventions and continuous support during labor and delivery, but still want to be in the vicinity of a medical physician in case of an emergency,” said Rebecca Jackson, M.D., Division Chief of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproduction at ZSFG.

The contract allows UCSF patients through Hill Physicians Medical Group, one of the five physician groups that comprise the Canopy Health alliance, to access ZSFG’s midwifery program and other obstetric services.

“We are pleased to see our partnership with Canopy Health extend to ZSFG. Every time Canopy Health expands its network of facilities and medical groups, our patients benefit from having more choice and access to high-quality care,” added David Joyner, CEO of Hill Physicians Medical Group.

The Family Birth Center leads the state in multiple perinatal indicators, and the strong partnership between midwives and doctors has been integral to its success. Currently, one-third of the babies born at ZSFG are assisted by midwives at no additional charge.

“We see birth through a different lens,” added Laurie Jurkiewicz, CNM, midwife at ZSFG. “We see pregnancy and birth as normal processes and important life transitions and believe it is essential to support those processes, engage patients fully in the care experience, and use medical interventions only when necessary.”

ZSFG is the only medical facility in San Francisco to have a 24/7 midwifery service and hold a “Baby-Friendly Hospital” designation, an award from the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF for the hospital’s high level of support for successful breastfeeding.

“As a practicing family doctor at both UCSF Health and ZSFG, I know firsthand how the family centered care model at ZSFG results in the Family Birth Center having one of the lowest Cesarean section rates of any hospital in California,” said Kevin Grumbach, M.D., Chair of the UCSF Department of Family and Community Medicine and Canopy Health board member. “For the first time, women with private insurance will now have the option of delivering their babies at this wonderful high-touch, high-tech birthing center.”

Canopy Health’s mission is to reinvent healthcare in the Bay Area through improving health outcomes, coordinating care, and increasing access and choice for members no matter where they live, work, or play. By welcoming ZSFG into the Canopy Health network, members who have access to Canopy Health through their health plan will have greater access to diverse and comprehensive support throughout pregnancy, labor, and delivery.

“Studies show that access to comprehensive and holistic maternity care can help improve patient health outcomes for both mom and baby,” added Burnich. “Canopy Health is excited to see how this collaboration benefits our members and supports growing families.”

Women who are interested in having a midwife-assisted delivery should talk to their healthcare providers first. ZSFG Family Birth Center services are available to women who are:

  • SF Health Network members who get their care at one of the SF Health Network health centers, including the Women’s Health Center at ZSFG, Chinatown Public Health Center, Maxine Hall, Potrero Hill, Silver Avenue, Southeast, Tom Waddell, Castro Mission, Ocean Park, or ZSFG Family Health Centers.
  • San Francisco Health Plan members who have chosen SF Health Network’s ZSFG for hospital services regardless of which program they are enrolled—Medi-Cal, Healthy San Francisco, or Healthy Workers. 
  • Canopy Health members who are privately insured through Health Net or UnitedHealthcare.
  • Anthem Blue Cross and Partnership Health Plan members who are enrolled in Medi-Cal and come to ZSFG for hospital services.

About Canopy Health
Canopy Health is a physician- and hospital-owned medical alliance that focuses on delivering a refreshing approach to healthcare and providing transparent, affordable care from a network of exceptional providers.

Incorporated in March 2015 as an affiliation between UCSF Health and John Muir Health, Canopy Health aims to provide a top-quality continuum of care across the Bay Area through its premier network of primary care providers, top-tier academic medical facilities, community hospitals, and medical groups.

In addition to its founding members, Canopy Health currently includes five physician groups — John Muir Health Physician Network, Meritage Medical Network, Hill Physicians Medical Group, and Santa Clara County IPA (SCCIPA), and Dignity Health Medical Network – Santa Cruz (DHMN-SC).

Canopy Health also includes 19 participating medical centers across nine Bay Area counties — including Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, and Sonoma.

About Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital
Learn more about the ZSFG Family Birth Center and midwifery programs at or Find a SF Health Network health center at

Zuckerberg San Francisco Hospital and Trauma Center (ZSFG) is the only Level 1 trauma center in San Francisco and is a part of the San Francisco Health Network (SFHN). The San Francisco Health Network is a community of top-rated clinics, hospitals, and programs within the Department of Public Health that connect San Franciscans to quality health care, regardless of immigration status or lack of health insurance.