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Eight Sutter Medical Network Organizations Achieve IHA Top Quality Honors

Posted on May 20, 2019 in Carousel, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Quality, Scroll Images, Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation, Sutter Gould Medical Foundation, Sutter Medical Foundation, Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation

SACRAMENTO, Calif. —Integrated Healthcare Association (IHA) has recognized eight Sutter Medical Network (SMN) organizations for reaching a high level of quality care for Medicare Advantage patients.

The following five SMN organizations achieved 4.5-star ratings for performance across a subset of 12 quality measures during the 2017 reporting year:

  • Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation – Sutter East Bay Medical Group
  • Sutter Gould Medical Foundation – Gould Medical Group
  • Sutter Medical Foundation – Sutter Medical Group
  • Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation – Sutter Medical Group of the Redwoods
  • Sutter Palo Alto Medical Foundation – Palo Alto Foundation Medical Group

Three other Sutter Medical Network organizations received 4-star ratings:

  • Brown & Toland Physicians
  • Central Valley Medical Group
  • Sutter Palo Alto Medical Foundation – Mills-Peninsula Division/Mills-Peninsula Medical Group

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.

SMN consists of the Sutter medical foundations, their exclusively contracted medical groups, and contracted independent practice associations. These organizations agree to work collaboratively with the goal of achieving sustainable high quality outcomes and services at an affordable price.

PAMF Physician Honored With Distinguished Alumni Award from UC Santa Cruz

Posted on May 1, 2019 in Carousel, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, People, Scroll Images

SANTA CRUZ, Calf. – Congratulations to David Sofen, M.D., of PAMF Santa Cruz who was recently honored with a Distinguished Alumni Award from the Physical and Biological Sciences Division at University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC).

Dr. Sofen, an urgent care physician, earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from UCSC’s Kresge College in 1979. He was presented with the award at a dinner on Friday, April 26, 2019, along with two others honored at the Distinguished Graduate Alumni Award luncheon in Santa Cruz.

The UCSC division established the awards two years ago to honor graduates who have gone on to extraordinary accomplishments in diverse fields and whose careers are characterized by sustained and exemplary contributions to society through research, practice, education, policy, or service. Dr. Sofen’s acceptance letter noted that he was selected because he has “shown tremendous heart throughout his career, making Santa Cruz a better place to live.”

Dr. Sofen credits a UCSC internship in Guatemala with inspiring his career in medicine. “So here I am an undergraduate, I was catching babies or sewing people up, starting IVs… and then I thought, I like this. I think I’ll go to medical school,” he told a local newspaper.

He joined PAMF Santa Cruz in 1992. In addition to his role an urgent care physician, Dr. Sofen also has  served as medical director of patient experience. He helped developed and teach PAMFCARES, training for staff and clinicians on how to improve the patient experience through communication and empathy.

Dr. Sofen treats a patient in Haiti.

As many of his colleagues and patients know, Dr. Sofen regularly travels overseas and volunteers to provide care to people in remote areas. He has made one trip to Tanzania and he travels to Haiti once or twice a year with the nonprofit group Flying Doctors (Los Medicos Voladores), teaming up with American and Haitian doctors and dentists to provide care at mobile clinics.

Dr. Sofen received his medical degree from University of California at San Francisco and he completed a family medicine residency at Natividad Hospital in Salinas, followed by stints in emergency medicine and in local safety-net clinics from 1986 to 1992.

“David’s history tells the story of a primary care physician committed to the broader mission of health care and serving the underserved,” said Larry DeGhetaldi, M.D. Area CEO, PAMF Santa Cruz. “He embodies clinical excellence and deep compassion for the human experience.”

Dr. DeGhetaldi added: “UC Santa Cruz embeds in its graduates a commitment to service and the social responsibility of the physician/scientist. David exemplifies the fulfillment of that mission and receives this award from UCSC that closes the circle: to send university graduates into the world to do good and honor them when they finish the journey.”

Paul Koch, dean of UCSC’s Physical and Biological Sciences Division, said in a statement: “Beyond this tremendous work for our community, David has been a great partner for UC Santa Cruz, making PAMF one of the top internship sites for students in Human Biology and offering guest lectures. Through inspired leadership, teaching, and personal humility, he has applied the ethos of UC Santa Cruz to transform everyday care for Californians.”

The other two graduates to receive Distinguished Alumni Awards include Laura Helmuth, health, science and environment editor at The Washington Post, and Pamela Silver, professor of biochemistry and systems biology at Harvard Medical School.

Environmental Stewardship: A Year-Round Commitment for Sutter Health

Posted on Apr 30, 2019 in Carousel, Scroll Images, Transformation, Uncategorized

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—In just the last few years, Sutter Health’s Environmental Stewardship committees have made major strides toward minimizing waste, increasing energy efficiency, and creating healthier communities for patients and their families.

Sutter Health Chief Medical Officer Stephen Lockhart, M.D., leads Sutter Health’s Environmental Stewardship program. He says protecting the environment is integral to the not-for-profit integrated network of healthcare organization’s mission.

“Our mission is to care for the communities that we are privileged to serve,” Dr. Lockhart says. “But caring comes in many forms. It’s what I refer to as caring for creation, caring for the environment in which we all live, work and raise our families.”

One of many big Environmental Stewardship initiatives underway for 2019 is the Food Committee’s plan to increase the amount of plant-based food offered in Sutter’s hospital cafeterias.

While the production, transportation and disposing of food—most significantly of meat—accounts for a large percentage of greenhouse gas emissions, plant-based diets and diets low in red meat are associated with significantly less environmental harm.

Kim Buss, M.D., Sutter Health Telephonic Disease Management Program medical director and a member of the Food Committee, says plant-based diets have the added bonus of helping prevent and manage multiple conditions, including heart disease and high blood pressure.

“Improving blood pressure saves lives, and one of the most powerful ways we can improve blood pressure is by changing the food we eat,” Dr. Buss says.

Other big Sutter Environmental Stewardship projects underway for 2019 include:

  • measuring the energy performance of Sutter’s existing buildings, setting targets and working to make existing and new facilities more energy efficient
  • increasing the use of reprocessed surgical supplies, and a sterilization wrap recycling program in hospital operating rooms
  • donating thousands of dollars worth of medical equipment to local charities and international NGOs
  • replacing plastic straws and coffee stirrers with compostable alternatives
  • implementing a new purchasing policy that requires consideration of human health and environmental impact in purchasing decisions

CPMC Advanced Maternity Care with Nations Highest Maternity Age

Posted on Apr 4, 2019 in California Pacific Medical Center, Carousel, Scroll Images, Women's Services

SAN FRANCISCO – Yuan-Da Fan, M.D., chairman of the obstetrics and gynecology department at California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC), a part of the Sutter Health not-for-profit network, recently interviewed with Robert Honda of NBC Bay Area public affairs program, Asian Pacific America, to discuss the trend toward older motherhood.

While this is a national trend it is particularly noticeable in the Bay Area. At CPMC the average age of mother delivering babies is the highest in the nation at 34.4 years of age. The oldest mother to deliver a baby at CPMC was 58.

“Across the entire country the maternity age is getting older, especially in San Francisco where we have highly educated and professional women”, said Dr. Fan. “Many women pursuing higher educational degrees and advancement in their careers are delaying motherhood until they achieve these goals.”

While delayed motherhood is increasingly becoming more common, Dr. Fan cautions that it carries additional risk. “Advanced maternal age, mothers over age 35, is associated with higher risk of miscarriage, preterm birth, cesarean delivery, complications during labor, and fetal abnormalities” Dr. Fan added.

Women over age 35 are advised to consult with their OBGYN provider to determine their risks associated with having a baby. Providers look at family background, medical history and other determinants to assess if the risks are great or not.

“We intend to continue providing the safest care to our older and complicated patients while also extending our support for low intervention births,” Dr. Fan stated. “Our goal is to celebrate each and every birth with successful outcomes and happy memories for all of our patients.”

 

Change of Heart: Sutter Health is Poised for New Era in Cardiology Care

Posted on Mar 29, 2019 in Affiliates, Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, California Pacific Medical Center, Carousel, Mills-Peninsula Health Services

BURLINGAME, Calif. — Change can be sudden or slow, in this case it’s both. Sutter Health has been at the forefront of a decade-long journey to offer more patients with aortic valve stenosis an alternative to open-heart surgery. With new research presented last week at one of the world’s top cardiology meetings that goal seems achievable almost overnight.

Aortic stenosis is a serious cardiac condition in which the aortic valve in the heart narrows, limiting blood flow to the body. Doctors can treat aortic stenosis by replacing the patient’s faulty valve either during open-heart surgery or through a minimally invasive procedure called TAVR (Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement).

David Daniels, M.D.

It is estimated that 100,000 TAVR procedures have been performed over the past decade, yet open-heart surgery remained the standard of care. “This meant that I could only offer TAVR if open-heart surgery would put my patient at an unnecessarily high risk for complications,” said interventional cardiologist David Daniels, M.D., co-director of Sutter’s Structural Heart Program in the Bay Area and a Sutter Health clinician-investigator.

Recently a major clinical trial[1] showed that a reversal may be in order; going forward TAVR may be the routine treatment or ‘gold standard’ for aortic stenosis, and open-heart surgery may be the exception.

Sutter Health not only participated in the recently completed trial, but under a continued access protocol, three Sutter Health hospitals are able to continue offering TAVR to a broader group of patients—even while the U.S. Food and Drug Administration examines the trial’s data.

The three Bay Area hospitals participating in the continued access protocol are: Mills-Peninsula Medical Center (Burlingame), California Pacific Medical Center (San Francisco), and Alta Bates Summit Medical Center (Oakland).

“I want to stress that TAVR is not a new procedure. I’ve successfully treated over 950 patients with this technique,” remarked Dr. Daniels. “The new part of this is that we can now offer TAVR, which is done through a small incision in the groin, to even more patients than before—giving them an option that is often safer, and often has a faster recovery time, than open-heart surgery.”

A typical hospital stay for open-heart surgery is a week to 10 days. TAVR patients often go home within 24 hours and are back to their usual activities within a few days instead of six weeks or longer for open-heart surgery patients.

Remarkable Clinical Trial Results 

Sutter Health’s cardiovascular teams have been involved with TAVR since its inception and have continued to pioneer the procedure as the artificial valves themselves have evolved. Over the years, several Sutter Health hospitals have participated in studies that confirmed the safety and efficacy of TAVR in patients who have intermediate or high risk of complication from open-heart surgery.

However, the most recent trial, called the PARTNER 3 trial, specifically looked at patients for whom open-heart surgery carries a relatively low risk of complications.[2]

Sutter Health affiliated combined sites Mills-Peninsula Medical Center (MPMC) and Alta Bates Summit Medical Center (ABSMC) were major contributors to the PARTNER 3 trial and the second largest enrollment site in the state (trailing Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles). The Bay Area hospitals achieved a zero percent complication rate (one year post procedure) among low risk patients who received TAVR as part of the trial. Sutter Medical Center Sacramento also participated in the PARTNER 3 trial.

“The PARTNER 3 results are remarkable. There was a statistically significant 60 percent reduction in risk of death and stroke in TAVR compared to surgery, and this was carried out to one year,” Dr. Daniels remarked.

The study looked at rehospitalization associated with death, stroke or heart failure, and found that these negative results were 50 percent lower (half as likely) when the patient had TAVR instead of open-heart surgery. Beyond these results, there were significantly lower rates of renal failure, life threatening hemorrhage and reduced length of hospital stay among the patients in the TAVR group compared to the open-heart surgery patients.

The Future is Here

“Presently we are in the gap between the end of the PARTNER 3 trial and a decision by the FDA that might officially extend approval of TAVR to the low risk patient group,” explained Dr. Daniels. Today, the artificial valves used in the TAVR procedure are FDA-approved only for patients who are considered too old or frail to have open-heart surgery.

“We are proud to continue to offer the TAVR procedure to low risk patients as part of our participation in the valve manufacturer’s continued access protocol.” Three Sutter Health hospitals: Mills-Peninsula Medical Center, California Pacific Medical Center and Alta Bates Summit Medical Center — are the only facilities in Northern California currently participating in the continued access protocol.

“Common sense told us that even patients with a low risk of complications from open-heart surgery may benefit significantly from treatment with TAVR instead,” Dr. Daniels said. “Results from the PARTNER 3 trial indicate that, for many patients, this has proven to be true. We are pleased to be able to offer TAVR to all patient risk groups.”

These groundbreaking clinical results are an example of how Sutter Health is leading the transformation of healthcare. If you are suffering from severe aortic valve stenosis talk to your cardiologist to see if valve replacement with TAVR is right for you.

[1] Mack MJ, Leon MB, Thourani VH, et al. Transcatheter aortic-valve replacement with a balloon-expandable valve in low-risk patients. N Engl J Med. 2019 Mar 17. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1814052. [Epub ahead of print]

[2] The PARTNER 3 trial was sponsored by the makers of the Sapien artificial valve, Edwards Lifesciences of Irvine, Calif. Dr. Daniels is a consultant for Edwards Lifesciences.

Real-Life Experience without Real-Life Risk

Posted on Mar 25, 2019 in Affiliates, Carousel, Community Benefit, Eden Medical Center, Scroll Images

Eden Trauma Team Teaches Teens about the Dangers of Drinking and Driving

 

CASTRO VALLEY, Calif. – Every 15 minutes someone dies in an alcohol-related car accident. That was the statistic in 1995 when a program called Every 15 Minutes was first adopted by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) to give teens a real-life look at the dangers of drinking and driving.

Thankfully, fewer people die from alcohol-related car accidents these days, but drinking and driving by young people remains a problem—often because teens’ feelings of invincibility can lead to poor decision making.

Eden Medical Center trauma nurses apply moulage makeup to Every 15 Minutes car student accident “victims.”

To encourage teens to think about the consequences of their actions and to prevent alcohol-related car accidents, Sutter’s Eden Medical Center, the regional trauma center for southern Alameda County, has participated in the Every 15 Minutes program for the past 14 years.

The program offers real-life experience without real-life risk. Eden’s trauma nurses apply moulage makeup (mock injuries)

to the accident ‘victims’ to make them appear genuinely injured. Nurses, doctors, anesthesiologists, respiratory therapists and laboratory and radiology technicians from Eden’s trauma team work with public agencies, community organizations and local businesses to create a simulated traffic collision followed by rescue workers transporting “injured” students to Eden’s emergency department. The drama is videotaped and shared with students at a school assembly staged to look like a memorial service for the car crash “victims.”

Watch the 2019 Amador, Dublin and San Leandro high school student videos featuring Eden trauma team staff on YouTube.

Each Every 15 Minutes exercise, which takes place over two days, also involves the “living dead” –students who are removed from classrooms at 15-minute intervals to dramatize the toll of drunk driving. At an overnight retreat, students are taught strategies for making good decisions and learn how to be champions for not drinking and driving.

CALSTAR, Sutter Health’s air medical transport partner, arrives to transport student “victims” to Eden.

Says Eden’s trauma injury prevention specialist Pam Stoker, “From a training standpoint, Every 15 Minutes exercises are an excellent opportunity for our staff to run through a trauma in a practice situation. It’s not real, but they treat it as if it is, so it’s an opportunity for them to assess their skills and ask themselves how they could improve.”

“It’s also great for our trauma team from a morale standpoint,” Stoker continues, “Being part of prevention efforts is really important for the staff because they deal with the aftermath of tragic real-life alcohol-related accidents all the time. This is a way for them to try and make a difference in the community by working to prevent accidents before they happen.”

Eden’s trauma team helps run two Every 15 Minutes programs for local high schools each year, most recently for San Leandro High School and Amador High School in Pleasanton.

Every 15 Minutes student accident “victim” arrives at Eden Medical Center’s heliport.

Participants in the recent programs included the Alameda County Fire Department, Alameda County Sheriff’s Office Coroner’s Bureau and Court Services, The Braddock Foundation, California Highway Patrol, CALSTAR (the Air Medical Transport Provider for Sutter Health), Eden Medical Center Philanthropy, Paramedics Plus, Royal Ambulance, San Leandro Police Department and Santos-Robinson Mortuary.

“To see our own peers on stage, in the film, and act out the crash scene is incredibly powerful. We are able to see people we know and love, people we relate to, demonstrating the consequences of driving under the influence,” said San Leandro High School student, Lily Alvarez.