STANFORD and SAN RAFAEL -- Stanford Hospital & Clinics announced that it has acquired CareCounsel, a San Rafael-based provider of employer-sponsored health advocacy and health care assistance services.

CareCounsel was founded in 1996 with a mission to help employees, retirees and their families navigate the complex health care environment through an employer-sponsored benefit that provides consumer education, advocacy and access to expert health care resources and information, according to Stanford.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

CareCounsel will continue to function independently and to provide services for employers, health insurance brokers and other clients, while drawing upon the medical expertise and extensive resources of Stanford Hospital & Clinics to expand and enhance its offerings, according to Stanford

CareCounsel’s founder, Lawrence Gelb, DMH, will remain in his current role as the company’s president and CEO. Before founding CareCounsel, Mr. Gelb held senior positions at Foundation Health Corporation, Occupational Health Services, Preferred Health Care and Kaiser Permanente's Total Health Care Program. He has served on the clinical faculty of the University of California-San Francisco Department of Psychiatry.

“We are delighted to be collaborating with CareCounsel, which has a solid track record of health care advocacy for consumers and has earned the confidence of major employers in the Bay Area and beyond,” said Amir Dan Rubin, president and CEO of Stanford Hospital & Clinics, in a statement.

CareCounsel currently serves approximately 150,000 employees, retirees and family members across the country. Services range from assistance with open enrollment, help with navigating the health care system, resolving insurance claims issues, Medicare questions and coordination of care.

“As we embark on this exciting period in our history, we couldn’t have asked for a better partner,” Mr. Gelb said. “Stanford exemplifies CareCounsel’s longstanding service commitment to caring and educating individuals through compassion, respect, integrity and teamwork. This is a match made in heaven.”