Posts by SutterHealth

An Open Letter from M.D.s

Posted on Mar 21, 2020 in Safety, Scroll Images

By: Warren Browner, M.D., MPH and Stephen Lockhart, M.D., PhD

As physicians, we want you to know why we are so concerned about the novel coronavirus/COVID-19.

Some of you may have heard that it’s a minor inconvenience, like a bad cold. So far, that’s true for the majority (but not nearly all!) of people who are young and healthy. However, that’s only a very small part of the story. Here’s the rest:

• Up to one in five of those infected with the coronavirus will get pneumonia and have to be treated in a hospital, often for a few weeks.
• So far in the U.S., more young and middle-aged people have needed hospitalization than in China.
• In those who are infected and over age 70, especially those with underlying health problems, up to one in 15 to 20 will die.

Coronavirus needs people like all of us to multiply and spread. So what matters is not just whether you get sick, but also whether you pass the virus to other people. None of us—except maybe those who have recovered from COVID-19—are immune to it. All of us are potential carriers who can be infected without knowing it.

Right now, on average, every infected person passes coronavirus to two or three other people, who in turn infect two to three others. After only 10 cycles, a single original person can infect 20,000 people in only four or six weeks. Much of Northern California will be infected in no time if we don’t act now.

If we can reduce social contacts by one-third, the number of people who will need to be hospitalized will drop 20-fold. If we do even better, and can reduce social contacts by two-thirds, the pandemic will end. This helps buy time for clinical teams and other scientists to determine what treatments work. We will give hospitals more time to prepare—and keep the healthcare system from being overwhelmed.

How do we do this? By staying away from other people, which means anyone outside your immediate household, including friends and relatives. That means avoiding:

• Birthday parties
• Sleepovers
• Play-dates or meet-ups
• Public places (like playgrounds) where virus particles can linger
• Air travel or sitting too close to someone on public transit

Other important notes to keep your home virus-free:

• Leave only if absolutely necessary and head straight back as soon as your errand is done.
• Exercise out of the house alone or with just members of your household.
• If you buy groceries or cook meal for neighbors who cannot get out, call to let them know you are coming by, and leave your delivery outside their front door.
• If you do go out, wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly for at least 20 seconds as soon as you can, preferably before you touch any surfaces in your home.
• Make sure that people—like kids—who can’t or don’t follow these instructions are kept away from those who are especially vulnerable, like their grandparents or someone with a chronic disease.
• Think about possible exposures. A card or tennis game with friends may sound like fun, but the virus travels on the cards or the tennis balls. Play only with those in your immediate household.

A virus-free home is only as strong as its weakest link, so please stick to the approach, as difficult as it may seem. Following these guidelines can help the nurses, doctors, first responders, pharmacists and grocery store employees continue doing their jobs to support you.

If you do need us, our teams are equipped to provide you with high-quality care while protecting the safety of our care providers. Our staff are well trained to address infectious respiratory illnesses, including coronavirus. If you are sick, and don’t require emergency care, call your doctor before coming in. Do a video visit. Know that if you need care, we’re here for you.

Stay safe. Stay six feet away.

Dr. Browner, an internist, is the CEO of Sutter’s California Pacific Medical Center. He has a master’s degree in public health in epidemiology and is an adjunct professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at UCSF. Dr. Lockhart, Sutter Health’s chief medical officer, has a PhD in biostatistics and is a trained anesthesiologist.

Sutter Health | Aetna Continues Innovation Through Anytime Access

Posted on Mar 9, 2020 in Sutter Health | Aetna

SAN FRANCISCO – Sutter Health | Aetna is providing transportation solutions powered by LogistiCare l Circulation through its new anytime, anywhere access features.

LogistiCare | Circulation, an innovative technology enabled healthcare service company, partners with rideshare providers to facilitate rides to and from healthcare-related appointments and services. Members can request rides through Sutter Health | Aetna’s new care navigation service provided through Docent Health.

Last year millions of patients nationwide missed their medical appointments due to transportation issues, according to a report by Medbridge Transport, a company that provides transportation services to ambulatory surgery centers.

“Breaking down transportation barriers can help reduce the number of missed healthcare appointments and relieve concerns for members and their families who will now have convenient options for roundtrip service,” said Steve Wigginton, Sutter Health | Aetna CEO. “This relationship furthers our commitment to improving quality and affordability, and creating a differentiated member experience in Northern California.”

LogistiCare | Circulation is the fourth partner to join Sutter Health | Aetna’s anytime, anywhere access features, which include the following:

98point6, a text-based app virtual doctor visits service that provides virtual doctor visits to members 24/7, with text, phone and video options.
Heal, a service that brings a “doctor to your door” to provide primary, urgent and preventive care services, seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Docent Health, a concierge service that members navigate the network of care, care options and resources.

“Our company is deeply rooted in the belief that no one should be unable to get the care they need to be healthy and happy simply because they can’t get a ride,” said Dan Greenleaf, LogistiCare l Circulation CEO. “Partnerships like this enable us to increase the number of lives changed as a result of the accessibility to healthcare services. We are all fortunate to live in a time when technology like ours assists in making that happen.”

The new Sutter Health | Aetna anytime, anywhere access features are the latest addition to our high-performance network. Additional plan features include a 24/7 nurse line, an online portal, Sutter Walk-In Care locations, urgent care, CVS Minute Clinics and pharmacies, Sutter Health video visits, behavioral health support, and mail-order prescriptions.

Anytime, anywhere access features are offered as of Jan. 1, 2020.

Sutter Health Announces 2019 Financial Performance

Posted on Mar 5, 2020 in Uncategorized

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—Integrated healthcare delivery system Sutter Health has announced its financial performance for 2019. Investment income helped offset the losses associated with operations as the organization ended the year with $114 million in 2019 income. The UFCW/California Attorney General settlement and related litigation expenses, one-time capital costs associated with the opening of the Van Ness Campus in San Francisco, and costs associated with the wildfires and public safety power shutoffs contributed to operating losses of $548 million. Sutter Health posted $737 million in investment income and changes in net unrealized gains and losses from investments in 2019, compared to $(267) million the prior year.

Community-Based Investments to Improve Access to Healthcare
The shift in overall performance between 2018 and 2019 was primarily due to the recovery in the investment market. Overall, Sutter implements a long-term investment strategy, with steady operating results and a conservative balance sheet. This approach allows us to further expand community access to high-quality healthcare and lower total cost of care.

In 2019, Sutter Health invested $662 million in new facilities and lifesaving technology. The California Pacific Medical Center Van Ness Campus opened March 2, 2019, signaling the completion of multiple modernization and seismic upgrade projects in San Francisco. Sutter Health also facilitated expanded access to care through construction projects in multiple communities, including Contra Costa, Marin, Placer, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Sonoma and Yolo counties.

Sutter continues to innovate new ways of delivering safe, high-quality care outside of its hospital and clinic walls to meet community needs for flexibility and efficiency—all with an eye toward reducing healthcare costs, too. Video visits and Walk-In Care clinics continued to create more options for patients to access primary care needs in 2019. Patients met with care providers through video visits 7,400 times last year, and sought primary care assistance through Walk-In Care appointments nearly 125,000 times. Sutter Health also reached multi-year contracts with several insurance companies, preserving patient access to Sutter care teams while keeping care affordable.

Sutter Health also invested $60 million in research and development, supporting efforts addressing a range of health concerns including stroke and other neurological disorders, cancer, liver and kidney transplants, gastrointestinal disorders and diabetes.

“Caring for our patients and for their communities drives the work we do across Sutter Health every day,” said Sutter Health President & CEO Sarah Krevans. “When we draw on the benefits of our integrated network, we’re able to give patients more doors to access care, develop more tools and spread innovative practices that expand access to affordable, safe and personal healthcare.”

Care for the Underserved
Sutter Health’s total investment in community benefit in 2019 was $830 million, which is an increase from $734 million in 2018. This amount includes traditional charity care and unreimbursed costs of providing care to Medi-Cal patients, as well as investments in community health programs to address prioritized health needs as identified by regional community health needs assessments.

• As part of Sutter Health’s commitment to fulfill its not-for-profit status and serve the most vulnerable in its communities, Sutter hospitals, affiliated medical foundations and other healthcare providers offer charity care policies to ensure that patients can access needed medical care regardless of their ability to pay. Sutter’s charity care policies, which have been in place for many years, offer financial assistance to uninsured and underinsured patients earning less than 400 percent of the annually adjusted Federal Poverty Level. In 2019, Sutter Health invested $125 million in charity care, compared to $89 million in 2018.

• Overall, since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, greater numbers of previously uninsured people now have more access to healthcare coverage through the Medi-Cal and Medicare programs. The payments for patients who are covered by Medi-Cal and Medicare do not cover the full costs of providing care. In 2019, Sutter Health invested $499 million more than the state paid to care for Medi-Cal patients.

• Examples of regional prioritized health needs include access to mental health and addiction care, disease prevention and management, access to basic needs such as housing, jobs and food, as well as increased access to primary care services.

See more about how Sutter Health reinvests into the community by visiting sutterpartners.org.

Sutter Health 2019 Financial Results
Dollars in millions
  2019 2018
Operating Revenues $13,304 $12,697
Operating Expenses 13,852 12,586
(Loss) Income from Operations (548) 111
Investment Income 246 187
Change in net unrealized gains and losses from investments 491 (454)
Other components of net periodic postretirement cost 90
Loss on extinguishment of debt (54)
(Loss) Income 189 (120)
Less income attributable to noncontrolling interests (75) (78)
(Loss) Income attributable to Sutter Health 114 (198)
Capital Investment $662 $924

This is a Heavy Cold and Flu Season—Your Sutter Care Team is Ready to Help

Posted on Mar 2, 2020 in Safety, Scroll Images

You may be feeling worried about the spread of the coronavirus, COVID-19. Given the widespread media attention of this illness, that is understandable. Many of us and our loved ones have runny noses, coughs and sneezes these days. Almost everyone with these symptoms will ultimately have the flu, a cold, or even bad allergies. Below are some things you can do to minimize your exposure and prevent the spread of these illnesses, including COVID-19.

• Wash your hands regularly with soap and water. This is one of the best ways your caregivers protect themselves from the spread of germs—it will help protect you, too! Remember to clean the ‘webs’ between fingers and thumbs.
• Don’t have access to soap and water? Use hand sanitizers.
• Avoid touching your face, particularly your eyes or nose, with your hands.
• When you or your loved ones are sick—stay home from work and school to prevent infecting others.
• Sneezing into tissues or your elbow are great ways to minimize spread of germs. Always wash your hands with soap and water after you sneeze.
• Unless you are in the healthcare profession or caring for an ill family member or friend, always try to avoid others who are sick.

If you do feel ill, you can contact your care center or clinician to discuss the most appropriate treatment option. You can also visit https://www.sutterhealth.org/ for more information.

For more information on COVID-19, please visit the CDC’s website.

Sutter Health Statement on State of the State

Posted on Feb 19, 2020 in Scroll Images, Uncategorized

Sarah Krevans, president and CEO of Sutter Health, today issued the following statement on Governor Newsom’s State of the State:

“I was honored to view Governor Newsom’s State of the State address from the Assembly gallery today, and I applaud the Governor’s commitment to making a difference in the lives of the thousands of people experiencing homelessness across our state. We see firsthand the adverse impact homelessness has on California’s vulnerable populations each day throughout our integrated network of care. Driven by our mission to improve community health, we work with public and private partners to help reduce the root causes and effects of homelessness in the communities we serve. We look forward to working with the governor and local stakeholders to build on the work we’ve done to date.”