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John Muir Health and Stanford Children's Health Continue to Grow Partnership and Services in Contra Costa County

Walnut Creek, Calif. (December 6, 2016)John Muir Health and Stanford Children's Health are continuing to expand access to children's specialty care services in Contra Costa County through an innovative partnership launched just a few years ago. Local families now have access to nearly 50 pediatric specialist physicians and nurse practitioners in 14 different specialties, including cardiology, gastroenterology, orthopedics and sports medicine, pulmonology, urology and more.

"We listened and responded to the requests from our community and general pediatricians to enhance and expand the availability of children's specialty services in our community so families could access and receive the care they need close to home," said Jane Willemsen, president and CAO of John Muir Health's Walnut Creek medical center. "Our partnership is exceeding what we originally envisioned and continues to grow, all for the benefit of our community and young patients and their families."

"Stanford Children's Health has long been committed to successful community partnerships with Bay Area health care providers," said Christopher G. Dawes, president and CEO of Stanford Children's Health. "Our strong partnership with John Muir Health increases access and convenience to world-class pediatric specialty care and is a very successful example of how our combined strengths can benefit the community."

The partnership includes outpatient, inpatient, neonatal and emergency care, which enables children with conditions ranging from allergies to more complex illnesses to see specialists locally through John Muir Health. In April 2015, John Muir Health and Stanford Children's Health jointly opened a state-of-the art pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) at John Muir Medical Center, Walnut Creek -- the only one of its kind in Contra Costa County. The PICU is complemented by a 16-bed child and adolescent unit and 35-bed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) also at the Walnut Creek medical center.

In just 18 months, the PICU team of Stanford Children's Health physicians and John Muir Health nurses and staff has cared for 450 critically ill children. The PICU offers leading-edge medical technology, and a broad complement of pediatric specialists, including pediatric-trained nursing staff, pediatric anesthesiologists, radiologists, neurologists, surgeons, gastroenterologists, orthopedists, oncologists, and hematologists, among others. John Muir Health and Stanford Children's Health are also in the process of finalizing all necessary steps to have the PICU certified by California Children's Services (CCS), a rigorous and exclusive certification program for the treatment of children with complex medical conditions.

"Pediatric specialists are rare. In partnership with Stanford Children's Health, we have broadened our services so we can care for children and families close to home, right here in Contra Costa County," said Budi Wiryawan, M.D. medical director, John Muir Health PICU, and clinical associate professor of pediatric critical care medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine. "It's a privilege to work with a team of professionals so dedicated to working with children and families, a team that consistently goes above and beyond to deliver top quality care for children with critical needs."

The need for PICU and other specialty services in Contra Costa County has been proven many times in the past few years. "My son had a near drowning experience last year, when he was four years old. We performed CPR on site and he was brought to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek where he was treated by the team in the PICU. The doctor was concerned about the 24-48 hour window post resuscitation, as my son could have had a fatal injury to his brain and lungs," said Sadie Hannah, parent of a former John Muir Health PICU patient.

"I remember walking into the unit and seeing the kindness in the team's eyes, as if they knew exactly how we felt and knew exactly what to do. I knew immediately we were in the right place for healing. The atmosphere was quiet and serene, it seemed we had 100 percent of the staff's attention. We had caring, honest discussions with the medical team. We are grateful to John Muir Health for its quality care, good communication, quiet comfort, and its location close to home. Thankfully my son is fine. He returned to swim lessons five days after being in the PICU and started kindergarten this year."

"It's heartwarming to hear the stories of children who we have cared for and to meet their grateful parents," said Willemsen. "We've always been here for our patients and the community, but now we can treat and care for children of all ages."

For more information about the specialty services available at John Muir Health through the Stanford Children's Health partnership, please visit

About John Muir Health

John Muir Health is a nationally recognized, not-for-profit health care organization east of San Francisco serving patients in Contra Costa, eastern Alameda and southern Solano Counties. It includes a network of more than 1,000 primary care and specialty physicians, nearly 6,000 employees, medical centers in Concord and Walnut Creek, including Contra Costa County's only trauma center, and a Behavioral Health Center. John Muir Health also has partnerships with Tenet Healthcare/San Ramon Regional Medical Center, UCSF Medical Center and Stanford Children's Health to expand its capabilities, increase access to services and better serve patients. The health system offers a full-range of medical services, including primary care, outpatient and imaging services, and is widely recognized as a leader in many specialties – neurosciences, orthopedic, cancer, cardiovascular, trauma, emergency, pediatrics and high-risk obstetrics care.

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About Stanford Children's Health

Stanford Children's Health is the largest Bay Area health care enterprise exclusively dedicated to children and expectant mothers. At the heart of our network is the renowned Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford in Palo Alto. Together with our Stanford Medicine physicians, nurses, and staff, we can be accessed within 10 miles of most Bay Area homes through partnerships, collaborations, outreach, specialty clinics and primary care practices at more than 60 locations across Northern California and 100 locations in the U.S. western region. We are a leader in world-class, nurturing care and extraordinary outcomes in every pediatric and obstetric specialty, with care ranging from the routine to rare, regardless of a family's ability to pay. As a non-profit, we are committed to supporting our community – from caring for uninsured or underinsured kids, homeless teens and pregnant moms, to helping re-establish school nurse positions in local schools. Learn more at and on our Healthier, Happy Lives blog. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

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