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Home > News > Press Releases & Media Advisories > Press Release

CHOC, UCI to create world-class center for children's health

Affiliation will enhance pediatric care, clinical research and medical education

Orange, Calif., November 20, 2008

Children’s Hospital of Orange County, UC Irvine Healthcare and UC Irvine School of Medicine will form a strategic affiliation to better serve children and families.

Approved Thursday by the Regents of the University of California, this affiliation will create a pediatrics center that integrates high-quality, comprehensive patient care; leading-edge research; and excellent teaching programs. The CHOC Children’s Board of Directors and Pediatric Subspecialty Faculty, a medical pediatric specialty physician group, previously approved the affiliation.

“Orange County’s children and families will see far-reaching benefits as the region’s top pediatric care institutions create a world-class children’s academic health center,” said Dr. David Bailey, UCI’s vice chancellor for health affairs. “The volume and variety of patients available as a result of this affiliation will strengthen UCI’s research and its education of future pediatricians and specialists.”

CHOC will provide inpatient and outpatient specialty care to patients. UC Irvine Medical Center will continue to provide pediatric emergency services, burn care, trauma services requiring immediate surgery, neonatal intensive care, newborn nursery care, and child and adolescent psychiatry.

“With this affiliation, CHOC and UC Irvine are transforming the way pediatric care is delivered in Orange County, enhancing and combining premier services to increase access to the best treatment for our community’s children,” said Kim Cripe, CHOC’s President and CEO. “In an effort that has already yielded success, we will collaborate on recruiting the nation’s best and brightest pediatric specialists, while retaining the leading experts already on staff at both institutions for the continued care of our children.”

The affiliation will make more pediatric beds available and will provide greater access to pediatric and neonatal intensive care services. CHOC has added 30 new beds since October 2007 and will add six more in March. In April, CHOC opened the Dhont Family Outpatient Infusion Center, making it possible for patients to receive infusions and procedures on an outpatient basis. CHOC’s renovated and expanded Ambulatory Care Center opened in June with the capacity to handle more than 130,000 patient visits annually. UCI will expand its neonatal intensive care unit by 16 beds when it moves into its new University Hospital early in 2009. Clinical care for children in UCI trauma units will continue to be provided by UCI pediatric nurses and physicians.

CHOC and UC Irvine Healthcare will retain their individual institutional identities; the strategic alliance is not a merger. The affiliation will be effective Jan. 1, 2009.

About CHOC Children’s: CHOC Children’s is exclusively committed to the health and well-being of children through clinical expertise, advocacy, outreach and research that brings advanced treatment to patients. CHOC’s regional healthcare network includes two state-of-the-art hospitals in Orange and Mission Viejo, several community clinics, a residency program that trains tomorrow's pediatricians, and four centers of excellence – the Heart, Cancer, Neuroscience, and Orthopaedic Institutes.
CHOC earned the Bronze Level CAPE Award from the California Council of Excellence – the only children’s hospital in California ever to earn this distinction, and was one of only eight children's hospitals in the nation to be named to the Leapfrog “Top Hospitals 2007” list for hospital safety and quality. CHOC also was awarded Magnet designation – the highest honor bestowed on hospitals for nursing excellence by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

For more information about CHOC, call 714-997-3000 or visit

About UC Irvine Medical Center: UC Irvine Medical Center is Orange County’s only university research hospital, Level I trauma center, American College of Surgeons-verified regional burn center and National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center. It offers acute- and general-care service and opens its 482,000-square-foot new University Hospital in early 2009.

In 2008, the medical center was included for the eighth consecutive year in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Hospitals report and was selected by the Leapfrog Group for its Top Hospitals 2008 list. Also this year, the medical center’s commitment to nursing excellence earned it a second designation as a Magnet hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. The medical center was the first Orange County hospital to receive Magnet designation in 2003.

About the University of California, Irvine: The University of California, Irvine is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Founded in 1965, UCI is among the fastest-growing University of California campuses, with more than 27,000 undergraduate and graduate students and nearly 2,000 faculty members. The third-largest employer in dynamic Orange County, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $3.6 billion. For more UCI news, visit

CHOC – UC Irvine Affiliation Fact Sheet

The strategic affiliation among CHOC, UC Irvine Healthcare and UC Irvine School of Medicine will create higher quality patient care, teaching and clinical research dedicated to children than is presently possible. The goal is to complete a world-class children’s academic health center.

Both UC Irvine and CHOC offer pediatric residency education. The programs will be combined within three years and UCI medical students will rotate through CHOC as a training site. The combined effort will improve patient care and provide a more complete environment in which to train high-quality pediatricians.

Orange County’s children and families will have access to more pediatric beds under the affiliation. By March 2009, CHOC will have added 36 more pediatric beds over 18 months, an increase planned in anticipation of the proposed affiliation. This will offset the 25 pediatric beds UCI will convert to adult medicine-surgery beds much needed by the community.

The area of pediatric care with the greatest demand at UCI – neonatal intensive care – will see a net increase in available beds as a result of the affiliation.

Inpatient Care

  • UCI currently averages less than 10 patients per day for 25 beds, or 39.6 percent of capacity.
  • CHOC has 232 beds and averages 165 patients daily, or 71 percent of capacity. CHOC will add six more beds in March and 64 beds when it opens a new tower in 2012-13.
  • CHOC at Mission Hospital, with 48 beds, will provide additional capacity as needed.

Outpatient Care

  • In April 2008, CHOC opened the Dhont Family Outpatient Infusion Center, making it possible for patients to receive transfusions and procedures on an outpatient basis without being admitted to the hospital.
  • CHOC’s newly renovated and expanded Ambulatory Care Center, which houses primary and specialty care clinics, is capable of handling more than 130,000 patient visits annually.

Pediatric Intensive Care Unit/Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

  • After UCI closes its 8-bed pediatric intensive care unit, it will convert the space into one accommodating 16 more neonatal intensive care beds. NICU currently operates at 110 percent of capacity, with 30 beds averaging 33 patients per day.

Pediatric trauma

  • UCI will continue treating pediatric trauma cases. The medical center will retain 10 FTE of pediatric surgical intensive care unit nursing staff to work pediatric traumas in the adult intensive care unit.

Services to Be Retained at UC Irvine Medical Center

  • Emergency services;
  • Pediatric burn;
  • Pediatric trauma  (UC Irvine Medical Center will continue to serve as Orange County’s only Level 1 Trauma Center, and will continue to maintain its status as an American College of Surgeons-verified Level I Adult and Pediatric Trauma Center);
  • Child and adolescent psychiatry; and
  • Neonatal intensive care (UC Irvine Medical Center unit will increase by 16 beds in new University Hospital opening in early 2009).


Non-physician employees working in pediatric services transferred to CHOC will be offered comparable positions — with the same or better pay and training — either in the remaining pediatric services or elsewhere at UCI. 

CHOC is working closely with UCI to ensure that UCI pediatric nurses interested in CHOC employment are aware of available career opportunities and can participate in a fast-tracked interview process.

Other Benefits of Affiliation
The affiliation will benefit the children of Orange County and beyond by:

  • Contributing to a more efficient healthcare system by centralizing and regionalizing services in a unified state-of-the-art facility designed, staffed and equipped specifically to meet the unique needs of pediatric patients;
  • Enabling the affiliates to offer diagnostic and therapeutic interventions that neither could efficiently support separately, thus augmenting local access for Orange County’s children in need of specialized services;
  • Enhancing the affiliates’ ability to collaborate in recruiting nationally recognized pediatric clinicians, resulting in greater local access to experts for Orange County’s children;
  • Improving education for the next generation of pediatricians and pediatric specialists by consolidating their training in a program with an increasingly large volume and diverse array of patients and their families; and
  • Enabling the affiliates to conduct — and offer patients access to — a wider array of pediatric clinical trials.

Dr. David Bailey Dr. David Bailey

Related Links


John Murray
UC Irvine Healthcare

Denise Almazan
CHOC Children’s


Feb. 2015
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