John Muir expansion

Photo courtesy of John Muir Health

John Muir Health Outpatient clinic in Brentwood is undergoing an expansion that will triple the facility's ability to treat patients. The project is expected to be complete by 2020.

Brentwood’s John Muir Health Outpatient Center is in the midst of a $25 million expansion and remodeling plan that will triple the local urgent care facility’s capacity to treat patients.

When completed in early 2020, the expansion will also include extended hours of service, according to Ben Drew, the health system’s director of communications.

“Our hope is to be serving patients up to midnight, “Drew said, “up from the current 9 p.m. closing time.” The Brentwood clinic currently operates 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends.

John Muir’s expansion involves a redesign of their facilities, with an emphasis on primary care and preventive care, Drew went on to explain. Besides the facility remodel, the health center will also add three main primary care doctors, a cardiology therapist, an obstetrician/gynecologist and 25 to 30 support workers. Drew estimates the urgent care center currently sees about 2,500 patients per month.

Mayor Bob Taylor considers the expansion a very big deal for the city of Brentwood and local area.

“It’s a boon for the health and welfare of our great community,” Taylor said. “It’s good for health care, for jobs, for our growth.”

Drew noted that John Muir Health continues to hear from the community about the company’s plans in East Contra Costa County. Many from said community are curious whether there are any plans for a full, acute care hospital.

“We continue to evaluate our long-term plans as the community grows,” Drew said.

“The new services they will be offering there mean you can go in, get a hip replacement and be back home for dinner,” Taylor said. On the subject of a full-service hospital, the mayor noted the current trend toward urgent care centers, observing, “I’m not sure they would want to or intend to build big hospitals anymore.”

John Muir Health now operates three hospitals in Concord, Walnut Creek and San Ramon, and seven urgent care centers in Brentwood, Berkeley, Concord, Orinda, Pleasanton, Walnut Creek and San Ramon. The health system’s annual income is about $1.8 billion, according to Drew. The three-story, 108,000-square-feet Brentwood facility on Balfour Road opened in 2005.

“The goal of urgent care is to allow patients to have access to high-quality health care without having to go out of their home area,” said Chris Taylor, executive director of John Muir Health East Region Practice Operations, adding that Brentwood’s remodel will also include expanded diagnostic services, like radiology, MRI and CT scans as late as 9 p.m.

Drew and Chris Taylor also emphasized the importance of the system’s mobile health clinic, operating at the Village Community Resource Center, 633 Village Drive, Brentwood, on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. John Muir also signed a partnership with Stanford Children’s Health in 2012 which should also lead to expanded pediatric services in Brentwood.

Terrence Grindall, Brentwood assistant city manager, said, “We’re excited for John Muir making this investment, and we’ve been in full support of the hospital expanding its services.” He said John Muir has been in close contact with the city manager’s office. “We’ve been encouraging them to do an emergency room, and been urging them to do more.”

Although Grindall declined to predict when East County might see a full-service hospital in the area, he said, “I try to avoid looking into a crystal ball, but I hope it’s soon.”

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