UC San Diego Health and Tri-City Healthcare District announced Wednesday that they have entered an exclusive, long-term partnership that could boost the Oceanside hospital's long-term viability while expanding the university’s reach into North County.

The affiliation is a boon for Tri-City, which will remain administratively independent while gaining new patients and UCSD’s respected brand.

"We considered a number of health care providers in San Diego County before making this decision,” said Tim Moran, CEO of Tri-City Healthcare District. “By affiliating with UC San Diego Health, Tri-City Healthcare District will greatly expand the depth and breadth of specialized medical and surgical services available to our community. Connecting to the region’s only academic health system will also benefit our clinical teams, helping them to gain access to novel research and education of UC San Diego School of Medicine.”

Through the affiliation, patients of Tri-City Healthcare District will have local access to UC San Diego Health experts for neurosurgical and certain other designated subspecialties of care, as well as continued access to comprehensive psychiatric services.

Tri-City has had a less-than-stellar reputation in the community over the years, largely due to public fights among board members. Although the board has recently been stable, it has struggled to rebuild the hospital’s reputation for quality care. Moran recently told the Union Tribune San Diego that he believes the UC San Diego affiliation will go a long way toward reversing that trend.

“UCSD has a great reputation, and we are going to make sure that the community knows about this affiliation,” Moran said.