Posts by SutterHealth

When Health Inequities Become Startling Realities

Posted on Jan 22, 2020 in Innovation, Quality, Scroll Images

Bright minds from across the world continue to examine how to overcome the challenges of health equity. A recent study in the Annals of Internal Medicine offers insight into options to better meet preventative care needs, but anyone who has researched health equity knows the issue is complex and requires teamwork.


As an integrated network, Sutter Health has been exploring ways it can help identify and address disparities, as well as develop interventions for patients. Sutter developed a Health Equity Index, which can help unlock barriers some patient groups have historically faced in healthcare–and empower other health systems to better understand and address their patient populations’ needs.

Sutter’s HEI is the first implemented health equity metric that uses real-time, health system data combined with external demographic, prevalence and use statistics to help address disparities and underlying causes. “Our work to address health equity is designed to measurably improve and optimize healthcare outcomes for all our patients while reaching beyond our facility walls,” said Stephen H. Lockhart, M.D., Ph.D., Sutter Health’s chief medical officer.

In its first internal test drive, the HEI revealed some telling truths: Sutter identified and quantified inequities in ambulatory patient care settings for conditions such as asthma and diabetes. This helped inform and create programs pinpointing some of the underlying needs of patients with asthma and diabetes in various communities.

Sutter’s HEI is gaining notice and was named a winner in the Business Intelligence Group’s 2020 BIG Innovation Awards–the only health system to do so. Sutter was also named an honoree as part of AHA’s 2019 Carolyn Boone Lewis Equity of Care Awards.

Dr. Lockhart points out, “Being an integrated network has enabled us to achieve top-level performance in quality, and we expect integration will offer the same benefits on health equity outcomes, providing useful insights for best-practice models and innovative tools – like the health equity index – that can be shared and implemented nationally.”

For more information about Sutter Health’s commitment to health equity, contact us.

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 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.

Joint Sutter Health and UEBT Statement Regarding Settlement

Posted on Dec 20, 2019 in Scroll Images

Today, a settlement agreement reached between the UFCW & Employers Benefit Trust (UEBT) on behalf of a class of California Self-Funded Payers, California’s Attorney General and Sutter Health was submitted for preliminary approval to the San Francisco Superior Court.

“The parties are pleased to have reached an agreement to resolve this lawsuit and believe a long and costly trial that could be tied up in the courts for years is not in anyone’s best interest. There is no admission of wrongdoing on the part of Sutter Health.”

For additional information, please see Sutter Health’s statement or visit https://sutterhealth.org/settlement.

For media inquiries of Sutter Health, please contact: Sutter Health Media Line 1-800-428-7377

For media inquiries of UEBT, please contact: UEBTMedia@msh.law

U.S. Air Force Veteran and Army Reservist Honors Sutter Colleagues with Patriot Award

Posted on Nov 8, 2017 in Uncategorized

Ernesto Brizuela and Andrew Kim

Ernesto Brizuela, left, presents his Sutter Alhambra Surgery Center supervisor, Andrew Kim, with the Patriot Award.

Sutter Alhambra Surgery Center (SASC) team members are the proud recipients of the Patriot Award—a recognition given out by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) to acknowledge supportive employers of National Guard and Reservist service members.

Ernesto Brizuela, R.N., a director of nursing at SASC, nominated his supervisor, Administrator Andrew Kim, and his colleagues for the ongoing support he receives from them while he manages his job responsibilities at SASC and serves as a U.S. Army reservist. Read More