Thirty-four years ago, Yale University and The New Haven Hospital laid out a framework for their joint activities in patient care, teaching and administration. The hospital changed its name to Yale-New Haven, but the two institutions have remained separate entities, each with its own finances, governance and administrative structure.

While that 1965 agreement remains unchanged, leaders of the two institutions decided several years ago that it was time to factor in a major new player: the Yale New Haven Health System, parent of the hospital as well as a growing number of other nonprofit health-care enterprises. (The health system’s corporate members are Yale-New Haven, Bridgeport and Greenwich hospitals; it also has contractual relationships with hospitals in Norwalk, Conn., and Westerly, R.I.)

A new agreement between the University and health system, signed in July by Yale President Richard C. Levin and Yale New Haven Health System President and CEO Joseph A. Zaccagnino, sets out guidelines for how the two institutions will grow together in the areas of medical education, clinical programs and managed-care contracting.

“This is an exciting new partnership with some very tangible, immediate benefits for patient care as well as clinical research and program development,” said Dean David A. Kessler, M.D. “Our overriding goal is to help build the Yale-New Haven Medical Center into a clinical powerhouse, one that is clearly distinguished from its peers nationally.”

According to Associate Dean Ruth Katz, J.D., M.P.H., the agreement includes a joint fund to develop new clinical programs at Yale-New Haven Hospital, with equal contributions coming from the medical school and the health system. A process is under way to identify the most likely programs for investment in the coming year.