Community Benefit

Collaboration Connects Asian American COVID-19 Patients with Healthcare

Posted on May 1, 2020 in Affiliates, California Pacific Medical Center, Community Benefit, Scroll Images, Uncategorized

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.

Paying it Forward: Sutter Teams with Vitalant to Offer COVID-19 Survivor-Donated Blood Plasma to Patients

Posted on Apr 27, 2020 in Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, California Pacific Medical Center, Community Benefit, Expanding Access, Innovation, Quality, Research, Scroll Images, Transformation

Convalescent plasma, rich in protective antibodies, is the liquid component of blood.

With experts predicting that a vaccine for COVID-19 is at least a year away, Sutter and Vitalant are collaborating to offer investigational treatment with convalescent plasma—blood plasma collected from people who have recovered from COVID-19—to hospitalized patients with severe cases of the disease under requirements recently outlined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Convalescent plasma, rich in protective antibodies, is the liquid component of blood. Not-for-profit Sutter Health is the first non-academic hospital system in California to participate in this research, launching expanded access program testing the use of convalescent plasma at its affiliates California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC), Sutter Medical Center Sacramento and Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, with other Sutter sites beginning the clinical trial in the coming weeks.

“By collaborating with community partners like Vitalant, we’re bringing an opportunity for the latest cutting-edge research to our patients,” says Sean Townsend, M.D., an intensive care medicine specialist in CPMC’s Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care. “Convalescent plasma is a potentially promising treatment for COVID-19 that we will test in clinical trials across the Sutter integrated network of care. We hope to build a supply of convalescent plasma that will add to our arsenal of emerging treatments to fight the virus.”

Vitalant physician colleague, Chris Gresens, M.D., adds, “We hope this therapy will serve as a type of ‘stop-gap vaccine substitute’ by providing severely affected patients just enough of an ‘immune boost’ to help them to recover more fully and quickly.”

The plasma donor must test negative for COVID-19 and be otherwise healthy. Convalescent plasma from one donor may be used to treat as many as four hospitalized patients with the illness who consent to participate in a clinical trial of the treatment.

Convalescent plasma has been studied for the treatment of numerous illnesses, most recently for infectious diseases such as Ebola, SARS, MERS and H1N1.

August 24, 2020 Update: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization on August 23, 2020 for emergency use of convalescent plasma for the treatment of hospitalized patients with severe COVID-19. A clinical trial testing the investigational use of convalescent plasma for COVID-19 is closed to participant enrollment at Sutter.

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

Posted on Apr 22, 2020 in Community Benefit, Innovation, People, Quality, Safety, Scroll Images, Transformation, Uncategorized

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.

How a Pandemic Launched a NorCal Healthcare System

Posted on Apr 14, 2020 in Carousel, Community Benefit, Expanding Access, Innovation, People, Quality, Scroll Images, Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, Transformation, Uncategorized

Spanish Flu
A nurse takes a patient’s pulse in the influenza ward at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 1, 1918. Photo courtesy of Library of Congress.

The pandemic started slowly in Sacramento. For weeks, residents of the city believed what was going around was just the usual flu that arrived every fall. But in just two months, thousands in the city had been infected and about 500 Sacramentans were dead.

That happened a century ago. Because of the inadequacy of the existing Sacramento hospitals to care for the numerous victims of the Spanish flu in 1918, local doctors and civic leaders banded together to build a new, more modern hospital to meet the growing city’s needs.

Sutter Health was born.

Begun as a single Sutter Hospital kitty-corner to Sutter’s Fort, Sutter Health now has a presence in 22 counties across Northern California, featuring thousands of doctors and allied clinical providers and more than 50,000 employees. As an integrated health system, Sutter is uniquely qualified and capable to care for residents during a health crisis such as COVID-19.

“A group of hospitals and doctor’s offices are able to band together, share resources, skills and knowledge, and institute best practices to care more effectively and efficiently for our patients and the communities we serve,” said Dave Cheney, the interim president and CEO of Sutter Valley Area Hospitals and the CEO of Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento. “We have systems in place that we test all the time to ensure we are prepared for many crises, including a pandemic like COVID-19.”

Groudbreaking
Just a few years after the devastating Spanish flu, Sacramento physicians, nurses and civic leaders gathered to break ground in 1922 for the first Sutter Hospital.

Physicians Fill a Need in Sacramento

The deadly influenza commonly called Spanish flu killed about 50 million worldwide. From August 1918 to July 1919, 20 million Americans became sick and more than 500,000 died, 13,340 of them in California. In Sacramento, slow action by the city public health office delayed care and, within a couple of weeks, sick residents flooded the hospitals. The city library was even converted into a makeshift hospital. A Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento history recounts: 

“The influenza epidemic of 1918 gave convincing evidence to Sacramento doctors that the city’s two major hospitals were woefully inadequate to provide the health care services vital to the rapidly growing community. The flu epidemic had sorely taxed these facilities and highlighted the need for a modern, fireproof hospital. Recognizing the critical need for hospital care for their patients, 17 local physicians came together with civic leaders to create a new hospital.”

The group incorporated as Sutter Hospital Association in 1921, naming it after its neighbor, Sutter’s Fort, which cared for Gold Rush pioneers as Sacramento’s first hospital. The first Sutter Hospital was built two years later and opened in December 1923 as “the most modern hospital to be found in the state,” according to The Sacramento Bee. It was the first private, non-sectarian hospital in the city, and the first to offer private rooms.

The hospital became not-for-profit in 1935 and changed its name to Sutter General Hospital. It opened Sutter Maternity Hospital in 1937 two miles away and it soon expanded its services and was renamed Sutter Memorial Hospital. In the 1980s, the old Sutter General Hospital was replaced by a modern facility across the street from Sutter’s Fort, and in 2015 all adult and pediatric services were combined under one roof when the Anderson Lucchetti Women’s and Children’s Center opened essentially in the same location as the original Sutter Hospital.

First Sutter Hospital
The first Sutter Hospital opened in December 1923 as California’s “most modern hospital.” Now, Sutter Health is an integrated healthcare system that includes 24 hospitals in Northern California.

A Health Network Grows

The 1980s and 1990s saw tremendous growth for Sutter. Struggling community hospitals in Roseville, Auburn, Jackson, Davis, Modesto and other nearby cities merged with what was then known as Sutter Community Hospitals. Then came the deal that more than doubled the healthcare system. In 1996, Sutter Community Hospitals merged with a group of Bay Area hospitals and physician groups known as California Healthcare System. These included such large, well-respected, historic hospitals as California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco and Alta Bates in the East Bay. This new system became, simply, Sutter Health.

Now as a model of healthcare integration, Sutter Health provides a user-friendly system centered around patient care — a system that offers greater access to quality healthcare while holding the line on costs. This connectivity allows Sutter teams to provide innovative, high-quality and life-saving care to more than 3 million Californians. Sutter’s integrated care model allows care teams and care locations to use the power of the network to share ideas, technologies and best practices, ultimately providing better care and a user-friendly experience, achieving healthier patient outcomes and reducing costs.

Our Heroes Wear Scrubs
Grateful community members are thanking Sutter Health front-line workers throughout Northern California.

An Integrated Network Fights COVID-19

Today, Sutter Health’s hospitals and physician groups don’t operate in a vacuum. Each hospital is supported by a larger system that can share knowledge and send materials, equipment and even manpower to where they are needed most. The system is called the Sutter Health Emergency Management System, which is organized after the federal government’s National Incident Command System.

Here’s how it works: Part of the Sutter Health Emergency Management System is a team throughout the network that works on gathering and purchasing the necessary supplies and equipment needed during this pandemic, including N95 masks and ventilators. Another team monitors bed space to ensure that each hospital can care for a COVID-19 patient surge. Clinical team members across the network are working together to address any issues that may unfold and to share best practices as they treat coronavirus patients.

That’s the power of a not-for-profit, integrated healthcare network.

“We are leveraging the strength of our united teams to increase our capacity and knowledge, and to provide the necessary equipment,” Cheney said. “We are preparing all of our network hospitals in the event we see a surge in patients due to COVID-19. Thanks to the integrated system that has been more than 100 years in the making, we are prepared for a pandemic of this magnitude now more than ever.”

Could an Experimental Drug Studied for Ebola Work Against COVID-19?

Posted on Apr 8, 2020 in Affiliates, California Pacific Medical Center, Community Benefit, Expanding Access, Innovation, Quality, Research, Scroll Images, Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa, Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital

Not-for-profit Sutter Health Launches Clinical Trials with Gilead Sciences

clinical trials for Covid-19

Sutter Health, together with health systems across Northern California has teamed up with Foster City-based Gilead Sciences on clinical trials for a promising treatment for COVID-19. The COVID-19 vaccine is at least a year away and now scientists across the globe are investigating existing medicines that might work as treatments.

In April 2020, Sutter began participating in two of Gilead Sciences’ Phase 3, randomized clinical trials to evaluate the use of the company’s drug, remdesivir, in adults diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The studies test the clinical efficacy and safety of remdesivir in patients with moderate or severe COVID-19, compared with standard-of-care treatment. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviews results from Phase 3 trials when considering a drug approval.

Promising Treatment
Remdesivir is an antiviral, intravenous drug made by Gilead Sciences. It’s been available as an experimental compound for years, but has not been approved by the FDA for use in clinical treatment.

Jamey Schmidt, Director of Clinical Research at Sutter’s California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC), quickly saw the potential benefit to patients in partnering drug manufacturers (in this case, Gilead Sciences) with Sutter researchers and physicians skilled in clinical trial start-up and ready to help tackle the infectious disease outbreak.

“Sutter research is committed to bring this investigational treatment to Sutter physicians caring for patients infected with the novel coronavirus,” says Schmidt, who collaborated with Greg Tranah, Ph.D., CPMC’s Scientific Director, and Jennifer Ling, M.D., infectious disease specialist at CPMC and principal investigator of the remdesivir clinical trials at CPMC.

CPMC, Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital, Sutter Roseville Medical Center and Sutter Medical Center Sacramento are participating in the clinical trials of remdesivir, and other Sutter sites may enroll to the studies later this month.

“In response to this global health crisis, we’re proud that Sutter is helping lead efforts across Northern California and seeking new tools to combat this novel infection and lessen the virus’s impact,” says Dr. Ling. “Through research at Sutter, new discoveries will help determine the potential of remdesivir to help individual patients with COVID-19.”

Some patients who have been infected by the novel coronavirus and are severely ill may not meet the study criteria for enrollment in the clinical trials of remdesivir. Instead, they may qualify for treatment via Gilead Sciences’ expanded access program (EAP) for remdesivir. The EAP provides alternative access to the investigational drug for severely ill patients with COVID-19 who do not meet the clinical trials study criteria.

First developed in 2009 and used during the Ebola outbreak in 2014, remdesivir is being studied in multiple clinical trials worldwide to see if it is safe and effective against the coronavirus in humans. The drug was previously tested in animals infected by other coronaviruses like SARS and MERS, and is now being tested in humans to determine if it can reduce the intensity and duration of COVID-19.

“Research at Sutter is helping deliver safe, high-quality care to our patients during this unprecedented pandemic,” says Leon Clark, Vice President, Chief Research and Health Equity Officer, Sutter Health. “By bringing innovation to the forefront of how we can best care for Sutter patients who acquire COVID-19, Sutter’s talented researchers are stepping up to the challenge presented by this global health crisis.”

April 29 Update:
Results from a clinical trial of remdesivir, an antiviral manufactured by Gilead Sciences, led by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) were reported April 29, 2020. The findings suggest that hospitalized patients with advanced COVID-19 and lung involvement who received remdesivir recovered faster than patients who received placebo, according to a preliminary data analysis from a randomized, controlled trial involving 1063 patients. The trial (known as the Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trial, or ACTT), sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the NIH, was the first clinical trial launched in the United States to evaluate remdesivir as an experimental treatment for COVID-19.

Additionally, Gilead Sciences also shared preliminary results today from the company’s open-label, Phase 3 SIMPLE trial evaluating five- and 10-day dosing durations of remdesivir in hospitalized patients with severe COVID-19. The study results demonstrated that patients receiving a 10-day treatment course of remdesivir achieved similar improvement in clinical status compared with those patients who were administered a five-day treatment course of the drug.

Sutter is not participating in the ACTT treatment trial nor the SIMPLE clinical trial. However, as described in the above article posted on April 8, Sutter is participating in the two Phase 3, randomized, controlled clinical trials that are testing remdesivir. Gilead Sciences has not yet disclosed when results of these clinical trials will be published. Clinical trials at Sutter testing investigational use of remdesivir will close to enrollment May 29, 2020.

May 4 Update:
On May 1, 2020, remdesivir received FDA Emergency Use Authorization for the treatment of COVID-19. The authorization enables the potential use of remdesivir to treat hospitalized patients suffering from severe COVID-19 disease in the U.S., outside of the context of an established clinical trial of the drug. Based on patients’ severity of disease, the authorization allows for five- and 10-day treatment durations.

Learn more about Sutter research and clinical trials.



Special Delivery: Mobile Clinic Brings Healthcare to S.F.’s Homeless

Posted on Apr 7, 2020 in California Pacific Medical Center, Community Benefit, Expanding Access, Scroll Images

SAN FRANCISCO—Imagine if you were ordered to shelter in place and your only option was a homeless shelter. How would you get care for your existing health conditions?

For low-income or homeless people who live in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood, the coronavirus outbreak is making what was already a difficult situation even more challenging. Fortunately for Tracey Gamedah, who suffers from mobility issues due to high blood pressure and congestive heart failure, the recently-launched HealthRIGHT 360 Mobile Healthcare Service brings the primary care she needs to her neighborhood, close to the women’s shelter where she is staying.

Watch Tracey Gamedah’s story:

“Sutter Health provided tremendous financial support to launch the medical mobile van and bring medical service to the vulnerable population right here on the streets of San Francisco,” says HealthRIGHT 360’s Stephanie Yeh, P.A., who cares for Gamedah.

Says Gamedah, “You can’t give up hope. I just knew that if I kept going that I would find help and I found it when I saw that truck outside.”

The HealthRIGHT 360 Mobile Healthcare Service is a collaborative effort with major support from Sutter’s California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC). Read more.