Alta Bates Summit Medical Center

Doctor Warns Delaying Care Is Not Without Risk

Posted on Jul 28, 2020 in Affiliates, Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, 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.

Sutter Hospitals Honored By U.S. News & World Report

Posted on Jul 28, 2020 in Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, California Pacific Medical Center, Memorial Medical Center, Mills-Peninsula Health Services, Quality, Scroll Images, Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital, Sutter Delta Medical Center, Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, Sutter Roseville Medical Center

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Three hospital campuses within Sutter Health’s not-for-profit, integrated network of care achieved recognition today as among the best hospitals in California for 2020-2021 from U.S. News & World Report. The annual rankings rate top hospitals in the state and in major metropolitan regions according to their performance across 26 adult specialties, procedures and conditions.

Sutter hospital campuses ranked among the top 50 in the state include:

California Pacific Medical Center – Van Ness Campus* (High-performing in five procedures/conditions and four specialties)
Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento (High-performing in six procedures/conditions and one specialty)
Sutter Roseville Medical Center (High-performing in five procedures/conditions)

Coming just outside of the top 50 were Alta Bates Summit Medical Center – Summit Campus in Oakland and Mills-Peninsula Medical Center in Burlingame, both ranking at 51. Both hospitals had high-performing rankings in three procedures/conditions.

Three Sutter hospitals are among the top 10 hospitals in the San Francisco metro area, including Alta Bates Summit Medical Center – Summit Campus, California Pacific Medical Center – Van Ness Campus* and Mills-Peninsula Medical Center. Additionally, two Sutter hospitals are among the top 10 hospitals in the Sacramento metro area, including Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento and Sutter Roseville Medical Center.

Seven additional Sutter hospital campuses earned recognition today as “high performers” in at least one adult specialty, condition or procedure, including:

• Alta Bates Summit Medical Center – Alta Bates Campus in Berkeley (High-performing in two procedures/conditions)
• Alta Bates Summit Medical Center – Summit Campus in Oakland (High-performing in three procedures/conditions)
Memorial Medical Center (High-performing in two procedures/conditions)
• Mills-Peninsula Medical Center (High-performing in three procedures/conditions)
Stanislaus Surgical Hospital (High-performing in one procedure/condition)
Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital (High-performing in one procedure/condition)
Sutter Delta Medical Center (High-performing in two procedures/conditions)

“Safety and quality are in our DNA,” said Bill Isenberg, M.D., chief quality and safety officer for Sutter Health. “Recognitions like these honor our network’s doctors, nurses, clinicians and employees who compassionately care for patients and their families across Northern California.”

Sutter Health’s not-for-profit network set out to build a truly integrated system—one that offers comprehensive patient services and quality health programs tailored to the diverse communities it serves. Today, Sutter Health cares for more than 3 million patients throughout its Northern California network of physicians, hospitals, home health providers and other services. Its coordination and focus on standardizing best practices reduce complications in care, lower hospital readmission rates and bring down the total cost of care.

“For more than 30 years, U.S. News & World Report has been helping patients, along with the help of their physicians, identify the Best Hospitals in an array of specialties, procedures and conditions,” said Ben Harder, managing editor and chief of health analysis at U.S. News. “The hospitals that rise to the top of our rankings and ratings have deep medical expertise, and each has built a track record of delivering good outcomes for patients.”

The U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals survey ranked hospitals according to risk-adjusted survival and readmission rates, volume, patient experience, patient safety, quality of nursing care, physician surveys and other care-related indicators.

For more information and complete rankings, visit U.S. News & World Report.

*Many of the services recognized had originally been performed at California Pacific Medical Center – Pacific Campus and are now located at California Pacific Medical Center – Van Ness Campus.

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

Posted on Jul 17, 2020 in Affiliates, Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Scroll Images, Uncategorized

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!”

It’s Time to Get the Care You’ve Been Waiting For

Posted on Jun 18, 2020 in Affiliates, Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Mills-Peninsula Health Services, Quality, Safety, Scroll Images, Uncategorized, Wellness, Women's Services

OAKLAND, CALIF. — California is slowly reopening, but like so many unknowns with COVID-19, it’s unclear how long our return to routine will last.

“A surge in virus spread and infected patients could occur this fall or winter,” says Bill Isenberg, M.D., chief quality and safety officer for Sutter Health. “If this happens, and overlaps with the normal flu season, there could be a significant strain on healthcare services.”

With this in mind, medical experts agree that if you had an appointment postponed or canceled due to COVID-19, now is the time to reschedule it.

Norma Lester-Atwood, RTRM, is a mammographer at the Carol Ann Read Breast Health Center at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland, so she’s well-versed in the importance of catching breast cancer early. Lester-Atwood is typically right on schedule for her own mammogram, but this spring, shelter-in-place orders delayed her mammogram by two months. As soon as she could, she had the screening procedure and she’s glad she did, because her mammogram and a subsequent biopsy revealed a Stage 0 (non-invasive) tumor in one of her breasts. After a lumpectomy to remove the tumor, Lester-Atwood feels she is well on her way to recovery.

“As a mammographer, I’ve always told my patients that it’s important to come in every year for a mammogram because I’ve seen patients who developed fast-growing tumors between screenings,” says Lester-Atwood. “And now because of my personal experience, I’ve seen the other side of the coin and I have even more reason to encourage patients to get their regularly scheduled mammograms.”

Timing is Everything
As Lester-Atwood’s experience shows, timing is everything when it comes to staying healthy. Getting cancer screenings at the recommended intervals can help spot early signs of abnormal cell division or tumor growth before it turns into advanced cancer.

Public health department-mandated cancellation of elective procedures and many routine appointments earlier this year caused many screenings to be delayed, which may, unfortunately, have serious repercussions for some people.

Because of the importance of cancer screenings to maintaining good health, Sutter-affiliated clinicians track annual completion of mammograms, says Isenberg. “We estimate that of every 200 mammograms, one patient’s is suspicious for breast cancer and needs further attention. Because so far to date 4,000 – 5,000 people have postponed mammograms, that means approximately 20-25 cancers may have gone undiagnosed.”

The 0.5 percent detection rate for mammograms is roughly the same for colon and cervical cancer screening, says Isenberg, so similar undiagnosed cancers are likely for these diseases. “Mammograms and screenings for other cancers such as skin or prostate cancer, as well as preventative care are all important to keep on top of,” he says. “And although we often think of cancer as a disease that people get at a later stage in life, cancer can strike at any age. In fact, some hormone-sensitive cancers grow more rapidly in younger patients, so having regularly scheduled Pap test or mammograms can be lifesaving.”

“Some women don’t realize that mammograms are needed regardless of your family history, because most women with breast cancer have no family history or other identifiable risk factors,” says Harriet B. Borofsky, M.D., medical director of breast imaging with Mills-Peninsula Medical Center in San Mateo, Calif., part of the Sutter Health not-for-profit integrated network of care.

Screening for colorectal, prostate and lung cancers are also vital. “Simply put, screening saves lives,” says Borofsky. “Delayed screenings can postpone detection of cancer, which may translate into needing more intensive treatment and a more difficult path for patients.”

Taking Steps to Protect Patients and Staff
Catching up on care is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health. All Sutter imaging centers have resumed some level of cancer screening services, or are preparing to resume soon, and each has taken steps to protect patients and staff from exposure to viruses. These steps include:

Mandatory Masking – Staff, patients and visitors must wear masks at all times.
Isolation – Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms is isolated from waiting areas, patient rooms, entrances and spaces the general population uses.
Cleaning – Our teams have increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting in all spaces.
Screening – Everyone is screened for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 before entering our care.
Contact-Free Check-In – Skip the front desk and check in from your mobile device at some locations through Hello Patient, a new feature on My Health Online.

These protocols apply to all visits to our outpatient care centers, including scheduled office visits, radiology, lab and walk-ins to Urgent Care.

Resources to Help with Health Insurance Disruption

Health insurance coverage can be disrupted by wage or job loss, but there are options that provide access to important cancer screenings, even if you’ve lost your normal source of coverage.

In California, the Every Woman Counts program covers mammograms and cervical cancer screening for women with no or limited insurance who meet other eligibility criteria. To learn more, patients can call 1(800)-511-2300.

Other options include extending employer-based coverage through COBRA and CalCOBRA, shopping for plans and applying for premium assistance through Covered California, or applying for and qualifying for Medi-Cal. Charity care and financial assistance options may also be available. You can learn more about these options by visiting sutterhealth.org/coverage-options.

PPE Donations: Like Mother, Like Daughter

Posted on Jun 17, 2020 in Affiliates, Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, People, Safety, Scroll Images

Jiaqi Yu

OAKLAND, Calif. –It’s not quite the family business, but 15 year old Jiaqi Yu has definitely learned how to make connections and obtain much-needed PPE like masks and shoe coverings by watching her mom, Minfen Ding, RN.

Minfen Ding, RN

In April, Yu’s mother facilitated donation of 13,000 masks and other PPE to Sutter’s Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland where she works as an oncology nurse. Now Yu has helped make connections and facilitate the delivery of 20,000 masks to the hospital.

“I am very proud of Jiaqi. She cares about the safety of our staff and is able to advocate for our hospital,” says Ding.

The College Preparatory School ninth grader says she was inspired to facilitate the donation of masks by watching her mom’s efforts to gather PPE to protect her colleagues.

“I believe that every medical worker on the frontlines deserves the best equipment,” says Yu. “They are all working hard to protect us, but they need protection too, and I wanted to do what I can to help them.”

Yu facilitated donation of the masks, which she secured from the Fountain Project Foundation, an East Bay non-profit working to help people with no health insurance obtain medical care.

Critical Blood Shortage May Impact Hospitals

Posted on Jun 9, 2020 in Affiliates, Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Scroll Images, Uncategorized

OAKLAND, CALIF. – Hospitals across the country are facing the potential for critical blood shortages as a result of blood drive cancellations during mandatory shelter in place orders. Blood donation may also be hampered by the changes blood banks have had to make to keep donors safe.

Now Ronn Berrol, M.D., medical director of the Summit campus emergency department at Sutter’s Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, explains the impact of the blood shortage on hospitals in a recent interview with KTVU Fox 2.

Watch the video interview

For a while, the drop in blood donation wasn’t as problematic since there was a lower demand for blood as people obeyed shelter in place orders—the number of emergency surgeries and hospitalizations was reduced— and elective procedures were cancelled, says Dr. Berrol. But as people begin venturing out and hospitals resume urgent and elective surgeries, he says there is the potential for disruption or delays for blood-intensive surgical procedures such as complicated heart, cancer, gynecologic or orthopedic surgery because of the blood and blood product shortage.

The solution?

Dr. Berrol urges healthy people to contact their local blood bank to make an appointment to donate blood. He also counsels patience because, though the need for blood donation is urgent, there may be a delay of a week or two for an appointment since blood banks have had to reduce the number of appointments they can offer in order to implement safety measures like physical distancing and extra cleaning.

Contact the Red Cross or Vitalant to learn more about how you can donate blood in your community.