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The Dog-tor Will See You Now

Posted on Jun 18, 2019 in California Pacific Medical Center, Carousel, Pediatric Care, Scroll Images

Therapy Dog Cares for Patients at CPMC Van Ness Campus

Posey with 16 year old pediatric patient Buddy Pendergast

SAN FRANCISCO–Anxiety and fear are common issues that pediatricians and staff address every day when caring for children inside Sutter’s California Pacific Medical Center Emergency Department. They enlist child life specialists to assist, as well as a very special team member, Posey the Therapy Dog.

Posey partners with emergency department pediatrician, Vince Tamariz, M.D., to see young patients who come in for assistance with an illness or injury. While Dr. Tamariz addresses the health issue, Posey addresses the stress children face when coming into this unfamiliar environment. With a soft and unhurried approach, Posey can easily distract a child from the frightening medical activity that is underway and bring a sense of calm and curiosity to the child, reducing the fear and anxiety.

“When Posey walks into the room kids have something to focus on that is a distraction from what is happening with their care,” said Dr. Tamariz. “Even parents admit that Posey helps relieve the stress they feel resulting from the need to bring their child to the emergency department.”

When there is a break in the activity of the emergency department, Posey can be found on the pediatric floor of the hospital. Posey makes her rounds, checking in on young patients to see if anyone needs her loving assistance. When she walks into a room spirits lift and children have a break from the ailments that bring them to the hospital. While patients love to see Posey and pet her soft fur, she will also hop up on the bed—when invited—to lay beside a patient who may have difficulty reaching her or getting out of the bed.

Many studies show that petting a dog makes you feel good; it increases oxytocin in the body, which amplifies feelings of happiness and empathy. It also lowers the heart rate, decreases blood pressure and reduces cortisol (the stress hormone). These results can make a big difference for children in the hospital.

Best Employers in Sacramento? Forbes Ranks Sutter No. 1

Posted on Jun 12, 2019 in Affiliates, Carousel, Expanding Access, People, Quality, Scroll Images, We're Awesome

Sutter Health, with hospitals, medical offices and other care facilities throughout Northern California, is the top-ranked Sacramento-based organization on the Forbes list of top employers.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Employees love working for Sutter Health, according to a new list by Forbes. In its first-ever ranking of America’s best employers by state, Sutter Health was listed as Sacramento’s top locally based employer. The Sacramento Bee was first to report the news, and their story is available here.

Using anonymous surveys, Forbes and market research company Statista pinpointed the organizations liked best by employees, according to the Forbes website.

Sutter Health, a not-for-profit healthcare organization in Northern California with 55,000 employees, ranked 26th on California’s list, but took the top spot for employers headquartered in the Sacramento region. Several of the companies listed – including Costco, which is ranked No. 1 in California – are not based in the state. Excluding those employers headquartered out of state, Sutter ranks in the top 20 at No. 17, and is in the top 10 for employers based in Northern California, with such tech giants as H-P, Cisco and Apple.

The Forbes’ list isn’t the only one to rank Sutter organizations as being top-notch employers. During the past 10 years, Modern Healthcare has named several Sutter hospitals and even the entire Sutter Health Valley Area as being Best Places to Work in Healthcare. This year, two hospitals were honored: Sutter Roseville Medical Center and Sutter Amador Hospital.

Sutter Health is more than 60,000 people strong, thanks to our integrated network of clinicians, employees and volunteers. Grounded in our not-for-profit mission, our team members partner to provide access to high quality, affordable care for more than 3 million Northern Californians through our network of hospitals, medical foundations, urgent and walk-in care centers, home health and hospice services.

The full Forbes listing can be accessed here.

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.