Fourteen Sutter Hospitals Honored for Reducing C-Sections

Posted on Dec 13, 2019 in Pediatric Care, Quality, Scroll Images, Uncategorized, Women's Services

Cal Hospital Compare award recognizes hospitals meeting national goal.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sutter hospitals, which have among the lowest cesarean section (C-section) rates in California, were recognized today by the California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS) for reducing cesarean births for first-time moms with low-risk pregnancies. Fourteen hospitals at the not-for-profit health care network were named to the state’s 2019 Maternity Care Honor Roll, nine of which have been recognized on this honor roll for four consecutive years. Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of CHHS, announced the honor roll recognition on behalf of Cal Hospital Compare, a performance reporting initiative informed by representatives from hospitals, purchasers, health plans, and consumer groups. The following Sutter hospitals were named to the 2019 Maternity Care Honor Roll:

  • Alta Bates Summit Medical Center – Alta Bates Campus 
  • California Pacific Medical Center – Mission Bernal Campus 
  • Eden Medical Center 
  • Memorial Medical Center 
  • Memorial Hospital Los Banos
  • Mills-Peninsula Medical Center 
  • Sutter Davis Hospital 
  • Sutter Delta Medical Center 
  • Sutter Lakeside Hospital 
  • Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center of Santa Cruz 
  • Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento 
  • Sutter Roseville Medical Center 
  • Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital 
  • Sutter Solano Medical Center

“Improving the quality of patient care in hospitals is critically important,” said CHHS Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly. “These annual measurements through Cal Hospital Compare allow us to acknowledge hospitals doing excellent work.”

When complications arise during pregnancy, C-sections can save the lives of mothers and infants, but some women undergo the surgery for no medical reason, exposing both mother and baby to potentially avoidable risks. To respond to the rise in unnecessary C-sections, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services adopted the Healthy People 2020 target of reducing nationwide C-section rates for low-risk, first-births to 23.9 percent. The Maternity Care Honor Roll acknowledges hospitals that have achieved—and in many cases gone beyond—that goal. The Sutter Health system NTSV C-section Rate for a rolling 12 months ending October 31, 2019 was 20.8 percent, well below the 23.9 national goal.

“Over the last decade, Sutter Health has developed and implemented many programs to improve the care and safety of mothers and babies through pregnancy, labor and delivery,” said Sutter Health Chief Medical Officer Stephen Lockhart, M.D., Ph.D.. “We’ve worked hard to enhance quality and safety at our hospitals to ensure we have among the lowest C-section rates in California, rates which are experienced equitably by mothers of all races and ethnicities—so it’s especially gratifying to receive recognition for leadership in this area.”

Sutter hospitals consistently outperform state and national averages for many measures of quality, and Sutter Health is committed to accurately and transparently sharing quality data with patients. The Sutter Hospital Quality Dashboard allows patients to learn more about the care provided throughout Sutter’s integrated network. In addition, patients are encouraged to talk with their doctors and nurses about any questions or specific outcomes related to their care.

Food Rx: Sutter Health Invests $265,000 to Support Community Food Banks

Posted on Nov 19, 2019 in Carousel, Scroll Images, Uncategorized

Working with partners to provide nutritious food is one more way Sutter helps keep communities healthy.

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Dedication to Duty: Blackouts and a Wildfire Won’t Stop Sutter Nurses

Posted on Nov 1, 2019 in Uncategorized

A spine injury at age 19 left Santa Rosa resident Ken Kilgore with paralysis in both his arms and legs. Bedbound and dependent on a special electric mattress that circulates air to prevent bedsores, Kilgore was nervous about the planned power shutoffs, until his bigger fear came true: an evacuation order.

Kilgore was one of approximately 150 patients routinely seen in their homes by the staff of Sutter Care at Home in Sonoma County who had to evacuate in response to the Kincade Fire. Through the uncertainty, fear and displacement, Kilgore says there was one constant: his nurse Paige Medeiros and the whole Sutter Care at Home family. “I must have gotten three calls a day from Sutter,” remembers Kilgore who is now safely back at home.

While the wildfire raged and blackouts rolled, Medeiros worked every day to make sure patients who rely on Sutter Care at Home had an in-person visit, or when that wasn’t possible, repeated phone calls to check on symptoms, give medical advice and guide patients to in-person care options as needed.

“These are people with feeding tubes, IV pumps, wound vacuums or special air mattresses like Ken’s,” Medeiros explained. “These are very frail patients that have high medical needs and are all homebound.” Working down a list, Medeiros drove to each patient’s house or the location where they’d been evacuated to, and checked if they needed supplies or nursing services, seeing to the needs of her regular patients and several patients who were normally cared for by other nurses, who had themselves been evacuated.

“It was a real team effort,” recalls Medeiros. “All of my co-workers and the whole Sutter family pitched in.”

Medeiros praised a nurse who drove from Marin to Mendocino (approximately 131 miles one way) to give a patient an in-home infusion (a special treatment that not all nurses can provide) and another who problem-solved through a four-day power outage, charging patients’ phones from her car battery and driving medical devices to the community resource center to be charged before returning them to her homebound patients.

James Conforti, chief operating officer for Sutter Health, knows that staff work tirelessly to provide quality care to patients. “Sutter’s integrated network allows us to coordinate care and contact patients. From filling prescriptions, rescheduling appointments to keeping vital chemotherapy infusions on track, we make sure our patients have continuity of care. The resilience of our staff and community never ceases to amaze me.”

But perhaps Kilgore said it best: “It’s not just a job to them—they really care about us.”

Preparedness Tips for Power Shutoffs

Posted on Oct 31, 2019 in Scroll Images, Uncategorized

Many Northern California communities have been impacted by PG&E’s Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) throughout the last month.

When PSPS plans are announced, we work with PG&E to identify facilities located in potential outage areas and implement preparedness protocols to minimize potential impacts. Sutter is also able to leverage the strength of our integrated network to help keep patients connected to care.

As additional shutoffs are announced, or you prepare for colder winter weather, consider these personal preparedness tips to help safely manage power outages.

  • Make sure you and your family are prepared for an outage at home, helpful information can be found at: prepareforpowerdown.com
  • Have emergency supplies, food and water.
  • Consider a backup plan for your refrigerated and frozen foods. Buy ice at the grocery store and place needed items and prescriptions in coolers.
  • Have a plan for child and pet care, should school or work places be affected, or your normal schedule change.
  • Fill up your gas tank in advance of known power outages.
  • Allow for extra travel time as traffic signals may be out, and limit travel when possible.
  • Be cautious when using open flame light/heating sources and generators, as they can be dangerous.
  • If you receive home healthcare support, ensure your provider has contact information to reach you, as well as your emergency contacts.

Find out more about the shutoffs at pge.com or call PG&E at (866) 743-6589

Seven Sutter Medical Network Organizations Achieve IHA Top Quality Honors

Posted on Jan 17, 2020 in Quality, Scroll Images

SACRAMENTO, Calif. —Integrated Healthcare Association (IHA) has recognized seven Sutter Medical Network (SMN) organizations for reaching a high level of quality care for Medicare Advantage patients in its Align.Measure.Perform program.

Three SMN organizations achieved a 5-star rating for performance across a subset of 13 quality measures during the 2018 reporting year:
Sutter Gould Medical Foundation – Gould Medical Group
Sutter Palo Alto Medical Foundation – Mills-Peninsula Division/Mills-Peninsula Medical Group
Sutter Palo Alto Medical Foundation – Palo Alto Foundation Medical Group

Three other Sutter Medical Network organizations received 4.5-star ratings:
Central Valley Medical Group
Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation – Sutter East Bay Medical Group
Sutter Medical Foundation – Sutter Medical Group
Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation – Sutter Medical Group of the Redwoods

Nearly 200 physician organizations participate in IHA’s Medicare Advantage Measurement Program. IHA is a statewide, multi-stakeholder leadership group that promotes quality improvement, accountability and affordability in healthcare. IHA collects clinical quality data and provides it to the Office of Patient Advocate (OPA) for the Health Care Quality Report Card. OPA considers physician organizations “very good” for achieving 4.5 and 4-star ratings. To learn more, visit the OPA website.

Sutter Health is nationally recognized for its high quality care. The not-for-profit network’s employees and clinicians implement best practices throughout its integrated system, helping Sutter exceed safety standards, improve outcomes and help drive down costs. SMN consists of the Sutter medical foundations, their exclusively contracted medical groups, and contracted independent practice associations. Their collaborative work helps drive these outcomes.

Sutter Health and Lyft Collaborate to Provide Patients and Staff With Improved Transportation Options

Posted on Jan 13, 2020 in Expanding Access, Innovation, Scroll Images

Collaboration increases access to care and enhances patient/provider experience

SACRAMENTO, CALIF. AND SAN FRANCISCOLyft, the transportation network company, and the not-for-profit network Sutter Health are collaborating on an opportunity to help support patient and staff transportation needs. Starting today, Sutter hospitals and care centers around Northern California will have the option to start implementing customized, individual transportation programs — an important next step in simplifying access to care.

How clinical staff get to and from work isn’t always considered when evaluating pain points within a workflow, but it plays an important role in health care delivery. Sutter recognized this when looking for ways to better support its home health care teams, who can use their own vehicles to travel to and from patient homes. As an alternative, Lyft can arrange transportation for Sutter home health providers who support patients with needs ranging from wound care, physical therapy or nutritional support. This arrangement can help maximize a clinician’s time with each patient, while also saving wear and tear that comes with using a personal vehicle for work.

“We are reimagining the ways we provide and deliver care, which includes increasing access to services and making them more convenient,” said Chris Waugh, chief innovation officer for Sutter Health. “For some, it’s not as simple as traveling from Point A to Point B. There are numerous real-world factors in between. Our approach takes the burden away from our patients and staff, and puts them in the best position to receive the care they need or deliver the care they are trained to give.”

Sutter and Lyft were able to test several transportation scenarios through previous pilot work over the course of the past couple of years. Several examples, below, resulted in increased efficiencies, including faster, more reliable pick-ups, lower costs, and an understanding of the unique needs of a healthcare environment.

Reduced wait times: At Sutter’s California Pacific Medical Center Pacific campus, patients discharged from the emergency department were offered a ride to a location of their choice. In three months’ time, the program reduced wait times from an average of 23 minutes to three minutes.
Cost savings: The pilot achieved a cost savings of approximately 25% compared to other transportation services previously used.
Greater transportation efficiency: Ambulatory surgery center staff throughout Sutter’s Palo Alto Medical Foundation were able to more easily transport staff between care centers as compared to services previously used.

“At Lyft, we’re committed to improving access to care while also increasing operational efficiencies and driving down costs for medical providers. Sutter’s headquarters in Northern California are home to some of the greatest diversity in the nation – socioeconomic, ethnic and geographic – resulting in an incredibly unique set of transportation challenges for both patients and staff. We’re looking forward to a continued partnership that allows us to provide innovative transportation options that make an impact in urban, suburban and rural settings alike. Pilot results have already shown reduced wait times and improved rider experience,” explained Megan Callahan, VP of Healthcare at Lyft.

The diverse needs of Sutter’s patient and staff call for flexible options, and this partnership with Lyft allows different care sites to customize their rideshare services to best support their communities.

For example, in more rural areas where transportation options historically aren’t as reliable, patients can count on rides to and from chemotherapy, radiation or dialysis appointments. In cities, Sutter staff can take a Lyft ride from public transit centers to Sutter care centers as an affordable alternative to parking. This allows Sutter to positively impact social determinants of health – notably, making care more accessible through transportation and increasing opportunities for patients to get the treatment they need.

“We’re excited for how these results will interplay,” said Waugh. “We believe they can help spur fundamental change on a macro level, and also help relieve stress and create comfort for individuals on a micro level. Big or small, these shifts can help create a more meaningful experience that gives patients the opportunity to stay on track with their care plans.”

Forward-Looking Statements 

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Forward-looking statements generally relate to future events or Lyft’s future financial or operating performance as well as Lyft’s other expectations, strategies, priorities, plans or intentions. Lyft’s expectations and beliefs regarding these matters may not materialize, and actual results in future periods are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected, including those more fully described in Lyft’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), including in Lyft’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2019, filed with the SEC on November 4, 2019.

Colorful Baby Keepsake Doubles as Medical Diary

Posted on Jan 8, 2020 in California Pacific Medical Center, Pediatric Care, People, Quality, Scroll Images

“Tiny Victories of Life” beads track critically ill and premature infants’ medical journeys

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – At Sutter’s California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) Van Ness Campus hospital, Child Life Specialists help parents mark their critically ill or premature newborns’ milestones using colorful beads and charms with the “Tiny Victories of Life” program.

Just ask new mom Amanda Bates about her son Asher’s Tiny Victories strand of beads.

“Each bead that has a figure represents an achievement of that day,” says Bates, while holding a string with nearly 40 beads.

Critically ill and premature babies at CPMC spend their first weeks or months fighting to achieve crucial health markers. Child Life Specialists use the aptly-named “Tiny Victories of Life” program as visual storytelling to document and celebrate each baby’s remarkable journey.

Amanda Bates’ son Asher, who arrived six weeks early, is steadily hitting important milestones that babies in the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) are required to reach before discharge.

The program was started in 2016 by hospital Child Life director, Lori Denault, who modeled it after “Beads of Courage,” a similar national initiative that tracks patient progress using beads. (Sutter Medical Center in Sacramento participates in Beads of Courage.)

Blue beads represent individual days, while special charms represent significant or personally meaningful achievements such as a duck charm for baby’s first bath or a music note each time baby receives music therapy. Asher’s Tiny Victories strand includes a red bead to mark meeting Santa Claus because he spent his first Christmas in the hospital.

The Tiny Victories of Life program encourages parents to forge a strong bond with their newborns—which can be a challenge when a baby is very ill and must remain in the hospital for a long period of time after birth. Beads are added to the strands each week during one-on-one family sessions or at a NICU parent group meeting.

Bates Family
Kyle and Amanda Bates pose with baby Asher at Sutter’s California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) Van Ness Campus hospital.

CPMC Child Life Specialist Shannon Banahan says, “Tiny Victories is a way for parents to look forward to the progress their baby is making. Families can get overwhelmed in thinking about the long and seemingly never-ending days in the NICU. But once they look back on their beads and see how far their baby has come, it feels like there’s an end in sight and makes them hopeful and proud.”

On Asher’s discharge day, he received the final bead in his strand—the butterfly bead, which signifies he’s ready to spread his wings.

“Receiving the butterfly bead is always emotional for parents, both because they are leaving this community of nurses and new parent friends and also because they are finally being able to start this new chapter of life at home with baby,” says Banahan.

Sutter Health Plus Adds Dignity Health Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz County

Posted on Jan 8, 2020 in Affiliates, Expanding Access, Scroll Images, Sutter Health Plus

The HMO’s network expands to include Dominican Hospital as of Jan. 1, 2020

SANTA CRUZ, Calif.Sutter Health Plus, a not-for-profit HMO affiliated with Sutter Health, and Dignity Health, a healthcare provider system, announce the signing of agreements to add Dignity Health Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz to the Sutter Health Plus network effective Jan. 1, 2020.

The Sutter Health Plus network in Santa Cruz County includes Palo Alto Medical Foundation and its care centers throughout the county, Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center, and Watsonville Community Hospital.

“We’re excited to add Dominican Hospital to our network,” said Brian Fellner, Sutter Health Plus CEO. “Our members are at the center of everything we do, and Dominican Hospital will offer members who live or work in Santa Cruz more choice and increased access to high-quality, affordable care.”

As of Jan. 1, the Sutter Health Plus network includes 30 hospitals and campuses, more than 8,000 providers, hundreds of conveniently located facilities, and dozens of urgent care centers and Sutter Walk-In Care locations, including the recently opened walk-in care in Aptos. Members also have access to same-day video visits for non-urgent, everyday health needs.

Dominican Hospital has been serving the Santa Cruz County community for more than 75 years, offering advanced, comprehensive care including cardiac surgery, a cancer center, orthopedic care, robotic surgery, a birth center and level 3 NICU, and emergency services.

“Dignity Health and Sutter Health have been longtime partners providing care to Santa Cruz County residents,” said Todd Strumwasser, MD, president of Dignity Health’s Northern California Division. “As part of the Sutter Health Plus network, we’re pleased to offer increased access to the county’s full-service, nationally recognized hospital.”

Dominican Hospital is the third Dignity Health facility in the Sutter Health Plus network, joining St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Stockton and Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City.

An Ounce of Prevention, a Hope for Cure of Cervical Cancer

Posted on Dec 30, 2019 in California Pacific Medical Center, Innovation, Quality, Research, Scroll Images, Uncategorized

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 13,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, but the disease can be prevented with vaccination and appropriate screening. Read how researchers in our network are discovering new ways to prevent and treat cervical cancer.

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Holiday Cheer is the GOOOOOOOAL!

Posted on Dec 20, 2019 in California Pacific Medical Center, Uncategorized

San Jose Earthquakes players visit patients at CPMC Van Ness Campus hospital

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Smiles stretched from ear-to-ear at California Pacific Medical Center’s Van Ness Campus hospital as players from the San Jose Earthquakes Major League Soccer team sought to unwrap joy for patients in the Sutter facility’s Novack Family Child Life Services and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

San Jose Earthquakes players Tommy Thompson and Shea Salinas visit patients at CPMC Van Ness Campus hospital for the holidays.
San Jose Earthquakes players Tommy Thompson and Shea Salinas visit patients at CPMC Van Ness Campus hospital for the holidays.

Quakes teammates Tommy Thompson and Shea Salinas weren’t shy about bringing their holiday spirit A game. Eager and excited, the duo visited with several patients and their families in their rooms. Patients’ faces lit up as Tommy and Shea talked with them, snapped selfies and handed out toys, games and Quakes soccer balls.

“Even patients’ parents got in on the action, especially the dads,” said Lori Denault, child life specialist at CPMC Van Ness Campus hospital. “It can be hard to get excited about the holidays when your child is in the hospital, so having this kind of fun distraction is beneficial for the health and well-being of the entire family.”

CPMC Van Ness Campus hospital is celebrating its first holiday season in its new facility, having opened in March 2019. CPMC offers many healthcare options for pediatric specialty care. These include a state-of-the-art birthing center, a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Novack Family Child Life Services. The adjacent Medical Office Building, emphasizing the benefit of Sutter Health’s integrated network, provides even more pediatric offerings, including CPMC’s Newborn Connections

Sutter Health Statement Regarding Settlement with UEBT and the California Attorney General

Posted on Dec 20, 2019 in Scroll Images

Sutter Health Senior Vice President and General Counsel Flo Di Benedetto released the following statement:

“We were able to resolve this matter in a way that enables Sutter Health to maintain our integrated network and ability to provide patients with access to affordable, high-quality care. Together with the Attorney General, the parties selected an experienced monitor who will oversee the agreement, which specifies parameters for contracting between Sutter Health and insurance companies going forward. There were no claims that Sutter’s contracting practices with insurance companies affected patient care or quality. In fact, Sutter’s quality of care is nationally recognized with the majority of our hospitals and care facilities outperforming state and national averages in nearly every measure of quality.

“Over the past decade, we have invested nearly $10 billion in new technologies and state-of-the-art facilities to increase access to safe, high-quality care in our communities. We have rebuilt hospitals to withstand earthquakes, taken care of millions of Medicare and Medi-Cal patients, expanded services in rural communities and spread new life-saving technologies and best practices across our integrated network. As an organization, we will have to evaluate future capital investments based on the impact of the settlement.

“Sutter Health is committed to keeping our care connected so patients continue to receive affordable, high-quality, personalized and coordinated care. Despite the increasing cost of care and operating in high-wage markets, we remain focused on making healthcare more affordable for our patients.”

Additional Settlement Details
• Injunctive relief: The settlement agreement provides self-funded payers with additional network flexibility, while preserving Sutter’s ability to ensure that certain insurance networks, when they include Sutter providers, are fair to patients in terms of access to Sutter doctors and hospitals, and to minimize the risk of unforeseen patient costs.
• Monetary relief: California-based self-funded group health plans that are class members will receive financial payments with amounts determined by the plaintiffs under a plan of allocation to be approved by the court. An independent claims administrator is responsible for all claims administration and information.
• There is no admission of wrongdoing on the part of Sutter Health, and no court has found that Sutter violated any laws.

For additional information, see the Sutter Health and UEBT joint statement.