Community Health

Giving Thanks: Sutter Health Shows Gratitude for Communities with Support of Food Banks

Posted on Nov 23, 2020 in Community Health, Scroll Images

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, frontline healthcare workers within Sutter Health’s network have received an outpouring of support from community members in the regions they serve. Individuals and organizations have donated equipment, bought meals for physicians and staff, sent cards of gratitude and well wishes, and organized hero walks for our essential workers.

Sutter Health clinicians and staff have been deeply touched by these meaningful tributes and remain grateful to serve such tightly knit communities.

As the season of gratitude quickly approaches, Sutter clinicians, staff and volunteers are proud to be able to give back and continue the organization’s annual support of food banks, food kitchens and pantries. This year, Sutter Health is contributing to 31 food banks and other similar organizations across Northern California, Oregon and Hawaii. Due to the hardship of the pandemic, food banks are experiencing a significant increase in demand as more families rely on their services. Media reports state that the percentage of those without access to adequate food during the pandemic has doubled.

Bridging the Gap

As a not-for-profit organization, Sutter Health’s mission is to help improve the health of the communities it serves, inside and outside the walls of its clinical care sites. The health of individuals and families are often directly tied to specific social determinants like being able to access fresh, nutritious groceries or gain better access to stable housing.

Due to the terrible economic effects of the pandemic, helping families put fresh, wholesome food on their table is more important than ever and we applaud the community partners who are working hard to meet this pressing need.

Sutter’s annual investment to support food banks aligns with priority areas identified in Sutter Health’s tri-annual Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA). A key focus area of many communities’ CHNA is active living, healthy eating and reducing food insecurity. One way we help keep communities healthy is by annually supporting local food banks across Northern California to help improve access to nutrition for underserved communities.

As an example of this work, at the beginning of this year, Sutter Health started a pilot program to redirect excess, unserved food from hospital kitchens and cafeterias to local nonprofits. The program, which now involves 14 Sutter hospitals, has reduced food waste from our facilities and provided consistent food delivery to 17 nonprofits, totaling more than 35,000 meals to date.

Sutter has also supported the Yolo Food Bank’s outstanding efforts to provide access to food for Yolo County residents. During the pandemic, Sutter Health Park – home of the Sacramento River Cats – became home to Yolo Food Bank’s drive-through distribution of free, fresh food to people in need. Volunteers from Sutter Davis Hospital have been proud to help sort, package and place food in vehicles during some of the weekly distributions.

Over the summer, the staff and clinicians at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Berkeley and Oakland organized a virtual food drive with the Alameda County Community Food Bank to show their community some love. The drive fostered healthy competition between different departments of the hospitals and raised $13,400 to help provide much-needed food to people struggling with hunger.

These are just some of the ways Sutter Health can bridge the gap and step in to support underserved communities in need. In 2019, Sutter Health invested $830 million in community benefit, which includes supporting health education, community clinics, traditional charity care and unreimbursed Medi-Cal costs. For more information about Sutter’s investment into Northern California communities, visit Sutter Health’s Community Benefit page www.sutterhealth.org/community-benefit.

Healthcare Heroes Encourage Everyone to #MaskUp

Posted on Nov 19, 2020 in Community Health, Scroll Images

One hundred of the nation’s leading health care systems, including Sutter Health, have come together with an urgent plea for all Americans: mask up.

“By wearing a mask, we’re telling everyone we see or come near how much we care about them and their health. In these days of COVID when we can’t give hugs, we can still express our love and concern by masking,” said William Isenberg, M.D., Sutter Health’s chief quality and safety officer.

The current number of COVID-19 cases across the nation are climbing at a rapid rate. Recently, like other areas in California, Sutter’s network has seen an increase in COVID-19 cases as well.

Healthcare systems have answered the call since the start of the pandemic. Sutter Health, for example, activated and deployed a coordinated response across its integrated network that has helped protect patients, employees and communities. However, there is growing concern that increasing cases will place only more strain on healthcare staff and facilities in the U.S. The Mask Up campaign emphasizes how wearing a face mask limits the spread of the COVID-19 virus, as recent studies have shown, with the intention to better manage this health emergency. In an effort to reach a broader audience, the Mask Up public service effort will also include messages on digital platforms, social media, online information, links to vital health resources and more.

The message reads:

“As the top nationally-ranked hospitals, we know it’s tough that we all need to do our part and keep wearing masks. But, here’s what we also know: The science has not changed. Masks slow the spread of COVID-19. So, please join us as we all embrace this simple ask: Wear. Care. Share with #MaskUp. Together, wearing is caring. And together, we are saving lives.”

For further information about masking guidelines – how to choose a mask and how to properly wear a mask – visit the CDC website.

In addition to masking, the CDC suggests that everyone minimize the number of non-household contacts, maintain a physical distance of at least six feet and limit the amount of time around others, especially while indoors and in poorly ventilated areas. These healthy habits can be especially helpful as the holiday season quickly approaches.

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

Posted on Jul 17, 2020 in Community Health, Scroll Images

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!”

Nurses Give Blood—Encourage Others To Do The Same

Posted on May 15, 2020 in Community Health, Scroll Images

SAN FRANCISCO – During 2020’s Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, front-line workers at Sutter’s California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) continue to give back.

At the hospital’s Van Ness campus in San Francisco, healthcare workers, including doctors, nurses and staff, took part in a blood drive hosted by Vitalant.

The drive was open to all Sutter employees and held in a large conference room to allow for social distancing.

Interventional radiology technologist Lauren Hamilton said while donating, “I always try to give blood as often as I can. You can save multiple people’s lives in one donation.”

Nearly 60,000 units of red blood cells are transfused in patients across Sutter Health each year. Donated red blood cells do not last forever; they have a shelf-life of up to 42 days.

There is currently a national blood shortage due to COVID-19, which is why CPMC continues to host blood drives at least once a quarter.

“It’s incredibly important and a very easy way to give back to society,” beamed Hamilton, who has the universal Type O blood.

According to The American Red Cross, O negative is the most common blood type used for transfusions when the blood type is unknown. For this reason, it’s used most often in cases of trauma, emergency, surgery and any situation where blood type is unknown.

California Pacific Medical Center, part of Sutter’s not-for-profit integrated network of care, has three campuses in San Francisco: Davies, Mission Bernal and Van Ness. CPMC’s state-of-the-art Van Ness campus hospital opened in March 2019.

Collaboration Connects Asian American COVID-19 Patients with Healthcare

Posted on May 1, 2020 in Community Health, Scroll Images

SAN FRANCISCO — California Governor Gavin Newsom has made it clear in recent weeks that the State must greatly increase COVID-19 testing in order to re-open. Testing provides critical information to public health and government officials to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

In order to achieve the governor’s goal of 60,000 tests performed per day, providers like North East Medical Services (NEMS), one of the largest community health centers in the Bay Area, are offering drive-through testing. Drive-through testing greatly increases the number of people who can be tested.

NEMS currently serves 70,000 patients in San Francisco, many of whom are low-income, best-served in a language other than English, and are from immigrant families.

Partnership Connects COVID-19-Positive Patients to Care

Thanks to a decades-long relationship between NEMS and California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC), part of Sutter Health’s integrated network of care, San Francisco-based NEMS patients who test positive—and who need immediate medical care—receive a referral to CPMC. Together, these organizations provide care for 32,000 Medi-Cal patients; NEMS provides primary and specialty care, while CPMC serves as the in-network hospital for NEMS’ patients.

According to NEMS President & CEO, Eddie Chan, “NEMS is very fortunate to have CPMC as our partner in providing world-class medical care to the majority of our patients in San Francisco.”

Eighty percent of NEMS’ patients prefer to be served in a language other than English, and NEMS offers linguistically-competent and culturally-sensitive health care services in many languages and dialects. NEMS drive-through testing is limited to current patients, but anyone who wishes to get tested can call NEMS to register as a patient without coming into the clinic.

CPMC is one of the largest not-for-profit medical centers in California with three hospital campuses in San Francisco, including Davies, Mission Bernal and Van Ness. The medical center supports a system of care for patients across the City when they need emergency and hospital services.

In San Francisco, Sutter affiliates take patients in partnership with many providers and clinic groups. By partnering with NEMS, Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation and Brown & Toland Physicians, CPMC is helping ensure that shared patients have access to COVID-19 testing and a comprehensive set of services should they become symptomatic.

COVID-19 Heightens our Love for Mother Earth, and One Another

Posted on Apr 22, 2020 in Community Health, Scroll Images

A message from Stephen H. Lockhart, M.D., Ph.D., Sutter Health Chief Medical Officer and Executive Sponsor of Sutter Health’s Environmental Stewardship Program

With fewer cars on the road and less traffic in the skies, some news outlets have reported a climate benefit. While none of us wanted this short-term positive effect at such high health and economic costs, we are getting a peek at an environment with less human interference — a brief glimpse at what could be possible if we took steps to reduce waste and advance alternative energy solutions in the years ahead.

As champions of health, we know that nature holds a special place in our lives, supporting our mental and physical wellbeing. It’s never been more important to take a walk outside, take a deep breath, enjoy the sunshine and wave at our neighbors — all while staying 6 feet apart, of course. Nature lifts our spirits and helps restore our hope.

Please join our Sutter team in celebrating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Mobilizing to care for our planet over the long term is one more way we’re showing our love for our communities and one another.

Here are a few ways you and your family can get involved with Sutter’s sustainability efforts:

1. Plant a garden. Digging your hands in the soil is good for your health. Welcome spring by planting native plants, fruits and vegetables. Take it a step further by starting a compost pile. Composting food waste reduces the amount of waste you send to a landfill, and once it fully decomposes, you’re left with a fertilizer for your garden. Check out some simple tips on composting from the EPA.

2. Donate clothing. While spring cleaning, consider donating unwanted items rather than throwing them away. Each year, nearly 40,000 gallons of water are used in the production and transport of new clothes bought by the average American household.

3. Watch creativity grow. Promote your kids’ love for our planet by encouraging them to create art from natural or recycled materials.

4. Conserve water. Install a low-flow shower head to reduce water use. In one year, a family of four can save up to 18,200 gallons of water.

5. Carry a reusable water bottle. Lessen your environmental impact by replacing your single-use plastic bottles with a stainless-steel water bottle or travel mug.

6. Calculate your carbon footprint. Simply reducing the amount of time we spend running errands, driving to work and to other activities plays a significant role in reducing our carbon footprint. Check out the EPA’s Carbon Footprint Calculator.

7. Learn about sustainability efforts at Sutter Health. Did you know that Sutter completed five solar-power projects; launched a pilot program to reduce the amount of harmful anesthetic gasses released into the atmosphere during surgeries; and increased plant-based meals by 20% in our 24 hospital cafeterias? You can find out more here.