Children's Hospital Oakland, which has had its share of financial and other troubles in recent years, may soon be joining forces with UCSF's Benioff Children's Hospital. In a letter to the medical staff of the 190-bed Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland last week, CEO Bertram Lubin said talks, initiated by UCSF, "have progressed with great enthusiasm and respect on both sides." Neither side would disclose details of the talks. Mark Laret, CEO of UCSF Medical Center, said the two organizations are "engaged in discussions to develop a stronger affiliation between Benioff Children's Hospital and Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland. The specific structure is still under review by both organizations."