Posts by Monique

Sutter Delta Medical Center Welcomes New Chief Nurse Executive

Posted on Aug 31, 2020 in Integrated Network

ANTIOCH, Calif. –Sutter Delta Medical Center, part of the not-for-profit Sutter Health integrated network of care, recently welcomed a new chief nurse executive, Kevin Streeter, MBA, RN. Streeter joins the hospital during a time of unprecedented challenge in healthcare across the country.

“Kevin is an experienced nurse executive with a track record of improving patient care quality and service and maintaining strong relationships with staff and physicians at all levels,” said Sherie Hickman, Chief Executive Officer of Sutter Delta Medical Center.

Kevin Streeter, MBA, RN

Streeter brings with him a wide breadth of experience. Most recently, he served as chief nursing and clinical executive at Emanate Health’s Queen of the Valley Hospital in West Covina, Calif. where he oversaw all nursing and ancillary departments. Prior to that, he served as the director of Perioperative Services for Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles; corporate director of Perioperative Services at Emanate Health for a three-hospital system in Southern California; as well as director of Ambulatory Surgery Center, interim director of Perioperative Services, and interim director of the Center for Sports Science for Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica.

Among his many accomplishments, Streeter has led initiatives leading to improvement of patient experience, reduction in patient harm, recruitment of experienced nursing professionals and favorable management of operational budgets. Having earned a bachelor of science degree in management and an MBA (Leadership & Managing Organizational Change) from Pepperdine University, Streeter also holds a bachelor of science degree in nursing from the University of Phoenix. In January 2022, he will earn a master’s degree in Health Care Delivery Science from Dartmouth College.

COVID-19 and Wildfire Smoke: Doctor Answers Masking Questions

Posted on Aug 20, 2020 in Pulmonary & Lung Health, Scroll Images

OAKLAND, Calif. –Wildfire season is suddenly upon us and thick smoke from multiple wildfires around Northern California, coupled with hot weather and the COVID-19 pandemic, has led to some confusion about masks: when to wear them and what type is best.

Now Ronn Berrol, M.D., medical director for Alta Bates Summit Medical Center’s emergency department in Oakland, offers tips to help you and your loved ones stay healthy in the Q & A below and in this KTVU interview.

Q: It’s so hot and smoky out! Do I need to wear a mask?

A: Yes! It’s important that everyone who can medically do so continues to wear a mask when they are in public to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Between the heat, the smoky air and COVID-19, the virus still poses a significant risk.

Q: Does it matter what type of mask I wear? Will a homemade mask protect me or do I need an N95 mask?

A: With respect to COVID-19, for most people it’s probably more important that you wear a mask whenever you are in public than the type of mask you wear. This is because the COVID-19 virus is transmitted to others by droplets that people produce when they exhale—and especially when they cough, laugh, sing or speak loudly. By wearing a mask, you help protect the people around you.

If you have a lung condition such as asthma, emphysema or COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), that makes you more susceptible to wildfire smoke, the type of mask you wear becomes more important. This is because tiny particulates and chemicals in the smoke can cause inflammation or difficulty breathing. And homemade cloth masks or surgical masks are not very effective at filtering out harmful particulates and chemicals from the smoky air. To filter out these particulates, an N95 mask is preferred. However, N95 masks can be more difficult to breathe through and lead to more overheating when it’s hot out.* So my advice is to stay indoors, keep doors and windows closed and use air conditioning and an air purifier, if you have them. I also recommend changing your home’s air filter and running the air conditioner in your car on recirculate so you’re not pulling outside air in.

Q: What else can I do to protect myself from the heat and the smoke?

A: It’s always a good idea to keep hydrated –when you are well-hydrated, your body can better respond to infectious challenges and the mucous membranes in your nose and lungs are better able to protect your body from environmental insults like smoke particulates. If you have asthma, emphysema or other respiratory illness, use your maintenance inhalers as directed by your doctor and be sure to carry your rescue inhaler with you if you do have to leave your home. Contact your doctor if you experience symptoms such as asthma, difficulty breathing or chest pain.

Read more about wildfire smoke and its effect on lung health here.

Read more about Sutter’s respiratory care clinics here.

*Important note: Some N95 masks have valves in them that vent exhaled breath without any filtration. Though they may be helpful to filter out wildfire particulates, these vented N95 masks will not provide protection for nearby individuals in the event the wearer has COVID-19.

How To Keep Your Kids Safer in the Water

Posted on Aug 10, 2020 in Scroll Images, Wellness & Integrative Health

As parents scramble to find ways to keep their kids active during the pandemic, water safety is even more important

ANTIOCH, Calif. –When the weather’s hot, it’s natural for kids to be drawn to water — a pool, lake, river or ocean. Water is sparkly and refreshing, a place to have fun.

But now more than ever, experts are warning parents and families to be sure to take the right safety precautions around water.

Late summer and early fall raise special concerns in the Bay Area—especially in the inland areas like the Delta and the Tri-Valley, where warm weather is typical as late as October. Because of the pandemic, community centers that once offered supervised swimming pools may be closed. And schools are again providing instruction remotely, so kids are spending more time at home and possibly more time around a swimming pool or taking end-of-summer-vacation trips to rivers, lakes and other natural bodies of water. Add to this that many parents are working from home and may be distracted, and the potential for danger increases.

“Many people think about pools as fun and not necessarily as a hazard, but I always ask parents what steps have you taken to keep your child safe around the pool,’’ said Geri Landman, M.D., a pediatrician based in Berkeley with Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation (SEBMF), part of the Sutter Health integrated network of care.

Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death for children 1 to 4 years of age, and at least one in five drownings are children ages 14 and younger, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

William Francis, M.D., an emergency room doctor at Sutter Delta Medical Center in Antioch, said he has treated several children for water-related injuries since the pandemic started.

“There’s an explosion of above-ground pools and spas, and part of that is because people start to look at what they can do around their house and there’s a rush to install equipment,” Dr. Francis said. “We have to remember that when a pool is installed – either above ground or in the ground – children need to be supervised 100 percent around water.”

Pediatricians with SEBMF say they counsel parents on safety measures and may also remind them that accidents around pools, even drowning, are a reality.

“Counseling is important during well-child visits and it’s important to remind parents it doesn’t take much for a child to for a child to drown,” said Susan Adham, M.D., an SEBMF pediatrician based in Antioch. “If necessary we remind parents that this continues to happen in our communities. Kids can get into trouble so quickly.”

To help kids stay safer in the water, clinicians at Sutter Health recommend:

  • When young children are in or around water, an adult should be supervising at all times. If adults are in a group, appoint a “water watcher’’ who will pay close attention to the children, and avoid distractions like talking on a cell phone or drinking alcohol.
  • Pam Stoker, a trauma injury prevention specialist at Sutter’s Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley, encourages parents to follow a protocol for active supervision that includes:

    Attention – focusing on your child and nothing else because anything that takes your attention away increases your child’s injury risk.

    Continuity – constantly watching your child. For example, don’t leave your child by the pool to go inside and get a towel.

    Closeness – stay close enough to actually touch your child. If you are out of arm’s reach of your child, your ability to prevent injury goes down significantly. While it is impossible to actively supervise your child 24 hours a day, it is important to do so during activities that are high risk to your child’s safety.
  • Pools should be fenced on all sides with a 4-foot fence that kids cannot climb. The fence should have a gate with a lock that kids can’t reach.
  • When using inflatable or portable pools, remember to empty them immediately after use. Store upside down and out of children’s reach.
    Consider installing a door alarm, a window alarm or both to alert you if a child wanders into the pool area unsupervised.
  • Don’t rely on water wings or noodles as flotation devices. They are fun toys but no substitute for a Coast Guard-approved life jacket. A life jacket is particularly important in natural bodies of water that may be murky because the bright color stands out and is an effective way to locate children.
  • Teach children to swim. They can start swimming lessons as young as 1 year.
  • Learn CPR. Check for resources on first aid training at a local fire department, American Red Cross or American Heart Association.

Doctor Warns Delaying Care Is Not Without Risk

Posted on Jul 28, 2020 in Access to Care, Scroll Images

OAKLAND, Calif. –A Bay Area physician is warning people that delaying critical or preventive care because of fears of COVID-19 could have detrimental effects on their health.

Junaid Khan, MD
Junaid Khan, MD

In an interview with KPIX 5’s CBSN, Junaid Khan, M.D., a cardiothoracic surgeon and director of cardiovascular services at Sutter’s Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland, says some concern about coming to hospitals or care centers during a pandemic is understandable, but delaying care should be balanced against the need to maintain good health.

“What we’re concerned about is some patients are afraid to come to the hospital and delaying care for serious problems such as heart attacks, stroke and even lung cancer,” says Khan. “Putting off care for chest pain or trouble breathing could lead to serious health consequences, like irreversible heart damage.”

Khan says patients should feel reassured because hospitals in the Sutter Health integrated network of care are taking extraordinary measures to help keep patients safe, from increasing the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting spaces, to testing all hospitalized patients, screening employees for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 before each shift, restricting visitors and requiring masks.

Learn more about the precautions Sutter hospitals and care centers are taking to help protect everyone’s health.

Preventive Care is Crucial

But it’s not just emergency care that’s critical, says Khan. “We want patients to get their regular preventive care including cancer screenings, treatment for chronic conditions like asthma, high blood pressure or diabetes, as well as vaccinations. Some parents are putting their kids at risk by skipping vaccinations and that is worrisome —we don’t want a measles outbreak.”

Read more about why preventive care like vaccinations is critical for kids.

People who are concerned about coming in for preventive care should call their doctors’ office or schedule a video visit, says Khan. “Start there,” he says, “then you’ll know if you need to come in for an in-person visit.”

Learn more about getting care during COVID-19 here.

Paying it Forward: Alta Bates Summit Virtual Food Drive Raises $13.4K

Posted on Jul 17, 2020 in Community Health, Scroll Images

OAKLAND, Calif. –The outpouring of support from East Bay communities for the staff and physicians of Sutter’s Alta Bates Summit Medical Center during the pandemic has been humbling. Community members from Oakland and Berkeley have donated cases of personal protective equipment and hot meals for staff, mailed letters of gratitude, and local first-responders even organized a mile-long healthcare hero parade –all demonstrating the community’s support for frontline healthcare workers.

To return the gratitude and give something back to the people who most need it right now, Heidi Voellger, RN, assistant nurse manager for the Alta Bates Summit emergency department in Oakland, organized a virtual food drive for the Alameda County Community Food Bank (ACCFB). Together, thirteen departments at the medical center raised over $13,400 to help provide much-needed food for struggling community members.

“When the COVID-19 emergency took hold, we experienced a 1,000 percent increase in calls to the food bank’s emergency food helpline – more than half were from households that had never reached out for help before,” said Suzan Bateson, executive director of Alameda County Community Food Bank. “Communities impacted hardest by this emergency are in places where we’re already serving. Months into our emergency response effort ACCFB and its Network of Member Agencies continue to respond to unprecedented need and we are bracing for a prolonged response. Our partners will be critical for the duration of this crisis, and beyond, and we’re extremely grateful to Sutter’s Alta Bates Summit Medical Center for stepping up to nourish neighbors – especially now.” 

“I know the sense of community, family, and comfort that food can provide, and I believe that nourishing the body can also nourish the soul,” says Voellger. “We love this community and have been supported by them for years. Now is the time for us to pay it forward and share a little love!”