Integrated Network

How an Integrated Health System Improved Care for Patients During the Pandemic

Posted on Oct 6, 2020 in Integrated Network, Scroll Images

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Sutter Health’s network of 22 hospitals has reduced the stays for COVID-19 patients from an average of 20 days to just eight days today, thanks to a coordinated response deployed by the integrated healthcare system.

It is one of the ways to show the power of an integrated network in responding to this health emergency. Care teams across the Sutter Health network give patients high-quality care whether at a medical center in San Francisco or Sacramento or a rural hospital in Amador County or Lake County.

Some other key examples of the effectiveness of Sutter Health’s integrated network include:

  • The ability to increase care capacity by 200-300% in the midst of the pandemic
  • Expanding telehealth services to shift from serving 20 to 7000 patient visits per day
  • Doubling the capacity of remote electronic intensive care units so patients could access 24/7 critical care specialists
  • Reallocating crucial resources to get personal protective equipment and ventilators where they were needed most
William Isenberg, M.D.

“We made investments very early on in the beginnings of our network so that we could best support the hospitals, care centers and other health services in our communities,” said William Isenberg, M.D., chief quality and safety officer for Sutter Health. “That planning has helped us in ways we could never have imagined during the pandemic, as well as during some of the wildfires that have touched parts of our Northern California service area.”

Sutter Health serves one of the most demographically and geographically diverse regions in the nation, which means the healthcare system works to identify and respond to the different needs of different communities. An integrated network is able to quickly respond and adjust to the needs in local communities.

Phillip Yu, M.D.

“Rural healthcare has historically faced unique challenges, like location, capacity and supplies. The COVID-19 pandemic has only placed more pressure on these communities,” said Phillip Yu, M.D., chief medical executive and administrator of Memorial Hospital Los Banos. “Being part of an integrated network, however, our rural-based or remote area hospitals have the necessary resources to meet the needs of residents.”

An integrated network also supports an easier sharing of best practices, which can help improve clinical outcomes. For instance, care teams across Sutter were able to minimize the need for ventilators in COVID-19-positive patients by using other appropriate therapies. Consistent meetings and briefings between hospital clinical leaders and those within Sutter Health’s Emergency Management System helped provide the timeliest information and developments. Hospital clinical leaders then could quickly turn around and share these findings and approaches with their own hospital incident command centers and teams on the ground.

Abhishek Dosi

“Our mission has always focused on enhancing the well-being of people in the communities we serve,” said Abhishek Dosi, CEO of Sutter Solano Medical Center. “We meet our mission when we collaborate with teams across our network. These efforts have made an even greater impact during this remarkable point in time–helping improve patient outcomes and slow the spread of the virus. While there are still many unknowns with the pandemic, our network has the structure and our teams have the experience and expertise to continue serving the needs of patients and families.”

Sutter’s Electronic ICU Helps Hospitals Handle Influx of Coronavirus Patients

Posted on Sep 9, 2020 in Integrated Network, Scroll Images

COVID-19 is bringing new relevance to Sutter’s longstanding electronic intensive care units (eICUs) and to telemedicine. The integrated healthcare network’s two eICUs, one in San Francisco and one in Sacramento, enable it to provide hospitalized critical care patients, including COVID-19 patients, in both rural and urban hospitals with the safest, most advanced medical care—as well as expanding the system’s critical care bed surge capacity during the pandemic.

Tom Shaughnessy, M.D. and medical director of Sutter’s Bay Area eICU, says the program’s goal hasn’t changed much since its earliest days: “Making sure the sickest patients across the system’s geographically diverse footprint get access to specially trained nurses and doctors 24-hours a day,” he says.

Sutter’s innovative eICU program began in 2004 and the first of its kind on the West Coast.

Expanding Critical Care during a Pandemic

eICUs allow critical care doctors and nurses to check in on patients remotely using cameras, microphones, alarms and other monitoring tools. This approach not only helps protect on-site physicians, critical care nurses and other professional staff at the patient’s bedside, it also conserves precious personal protective equipment (PPE) and helps provide backup to caregivers who may be stretched thin at both rural and urban ICUs. Electronic ICUs have also helped increase critical care bed capacity in the event of a COVID-19 patient surge.

Read more on CNET.com about how Sutter’s eICU is helping the integrated network handle the influx of patients during the pandemic.

“If you choose to live in a rural community, it doesn’t mean your health should suffer because you don’t have access to the resources that you need,” says Vanessa Walker, D.O., a pulmonary critical care physician and director of the eICU for the Valley area of Sutter Health.

“Sutter’s eICU program has been especially beneficial to nursing staff at our smaller hospitals. [In this pandemic], they’ve had to take a crash course on managing incredibly complicated patients. Our eICU nurses have been there to help, whether it was for a second signature for medications to prevent further exposure or as a practical guide on how to place a patient in a prone position. The teamwork between the eICU and the bedside has been phenomenal,” she says.

Pre-dawn Cheers and Applause Buoy Spirits of Weary Firefighters

Posted on Sep 4, 2020 in Integrated Network, Scroll Images

The town of Aptos is typically quieter than neighboring Santa Cruz, but last Tuesday that tranquility was broken by shouts of gratitude and applause for firefighters battling the CZU Lightning Complex fires – all organized by Sutter’s Lisa Haux.

“We made so much noise they could hear us across the highway,” Haux said.

Nella, age 8 and Clara, age 5 of Santa Cruz show
off the banner they made for the firefighter tribute.

The pre-dawn event that drew more than 100 community members was spurred by equal parts sincerity and serendipity, said Haux, a compliance officer with Sutter Health. “As part of the Sutter family, I’ve seen the salutes that our frontline healthcare workers have received from first responders – including fire, police, sheriff and ambulance units – thanking our nurses and doctors for their bravery and dedication to duty in the face of COVID-19. Those tributes were so meaningful to us, I thought we could do the same for the firefighters.”  

A small town has no secrets, and Haux learned which hotel was housing most of the out-of-town firefighters and that the end of their shift varied day to day, depending on firefighting conditions. “So I decided to organize a surprise early morning send-off, to lift their spirits at the start of their shift,” she said.

Haux quickly realized that firefighters – like healthcare workers – start work early. To catch the firefighters before they headed to base camp, the community needed to gather in the hotel parking lot, with their signs and balloons, by 5:45 a.m. “I honestly expected maybe 20 people would show up, given how early it was, so I was blown away by the response.”

The crowd was five times larger than Haux’s expectation and even drew reporters from the Santa Cruz Sentinel and KTVU. “When we started it was still dark outside, but we held our banners high as the sun slowly rose. It was awe-inspiring to see the turnout and see how heartfelt the appreciation was from our community to these brave professionals, risking themselves for strangers.”

Crews from across California filled the two dozen fire trucks that pulled out that morning, flashing their lights and waving back in thanks.

Stephen Gray, chief administrative officer for Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center of Santa Cruz and operations executive of Palo Alto Medical Foundation Santa Cruz said that wildfire season is something we know all too well in Northern California.

“Several parts of our network, including our employees who live and serve in these communities, have been personally impacted,” Gray said. “We’re so happy to express our appreciation for the efforts of the firefighters to keep us safe, which helps us continue our mission of serving others.” 

A week later Haux still delights in how her community showed their spirit, saying, “Fire is a horrible way to bring out comradery, but it does show that people really do want to help each other, and we are all in this together.”

Hungry People Fed through Food Waste Reduction Pilot

Posted on Sep 1, 2020 in Integrated Network, Scroll Images

35,000 meals donated in first seven months of project

SACRAMENTO, Calif. –In its first seven months, a pilot project involving 14 Sutter hospitals reduced food waste and fed the hungry by donating nearly 35,000 meals to 17 local nonprofits. The effort comes at a critical time as increasing numbers of people experience food insecurity due to the pandemic-induced economic downturn.

Last January, 10 hospitals in Sutter Health’s integrated network launched a collaboration with nonprofit Health Care Without Harm to implement the program, which is partially funded by a grant from the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) through California Climate Investments. Over the summer, an additional four Sutter hospitals joined in Sutter’s efforts.

“From our earliest days, Sutter Health’s network has provided access to high-quality, affordable medical care in our facilities – but we’ve also been deeply invested in the health and wellbeing of our broader communities,” says Chief Medical Officer Stephen H. Lockhart, M.D., Ph.D., executive sponsor of Sutter Health’s Environmental Stewardship program. “The teams behind this project with Copia and Health Care Without Harm are putting our values into action by leveraging innovation to not only reduce our environmental footprint, but also help feed community members in need.”

The work is powered by a technology platform designed by San Francisco-based Copia – a zero waste and hunger technology platform that allows food service employees to measure and prevent food waste while seamlessly donating all unsold or unserved edible excess food. Hospital food services workers measure daily food waste and submit their edible food donations in one streamlined process through Copia’s software application on mobile tablets. Copia’s mobile app then automatically dispatches drivers to pick up and deliver the food to local non-profits feeding food insecure populations.

And local really does mean local in this case – the average distance donated food traveled from the hospitals to someone who needed it was 3.4 miles.

In its first week in the program, Sutter Delta Medical Center recovered nearly 140 pounds of surplus food from the hospital—enough for 116 meals for Love a Child Missions, which serves homeless women and children in Contra Costa County, and Light Ministries Pentecostal Church of God, which serves meals to needy families in Antioch.

“This is an exciting partnership,” says Sutter Delta’s assistant administrator Tim Bouslog. “We’ve always had a vested interest in sustainability at our hospital, and the positive impact on the community during these difficult times makes this a great step forward.”

Another program benefit? The food donations efforts have helped Sutter reduce carbon emissions by 185,000 pounds and saved 15 million gallons of water!

Says Maria Lewis, director of Food and Nutrition Services at Sutter’s Eden Medical Center, “Eden’s first donation provided 45 meals to The Salvation Army in Hayward. This one donation not only consisted of 55 pounds of perfectly edible food, but also saved 241 pounds of CO2 emissions. We are humbled to be able to support our community, as well as help preserve our environment in the same process.”

“Over the first six months of this pilot project, we have gained valuable insight into how to contribute to community health, reduce waste and be good stewards of our own resources,” says Jack Breezee, regional food and nutrition services director for Sutter’s Valley Area. “I can only look forward to what we will learn over the pilot’s remaining year, and how we can build on these successes to serve our patients and communities.”

“Food waste among hospitals is a solvable problem,” says Komal Ahmad, founder of Copia. “If every hospital in the U.S. partnered with Copia, we could provide more than 250 million meals each year to people in need and save hundreds of millions of dollars in purchasing and production of food. Copia is thrilled to partner with Sutter Health to lead the healthcare industry in filling the food insecurity gap and building community resilience, especially during a time when insecurity has never been higher.”

Participating Sutter hospitals are Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Eden Medical Center, Mills-Peninsula Medical Center, Memorial Hospital Los Banos, Memorial Medical Center, Sutter Amador Hospital, Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital, Sutter Center for Psychiatry, Sutter Davis Hospital, Sutter Delta Medical Center, Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, Sutter Roseville Medical Center, Sutter Solano Medical Center and Sutter Tracy Community Hospital.

Sutter Delta Medical Center Welcomes New Chief Nurse Executive

Posted on Aug 31, 2020 in Integrated Network

ANTIOCH, Calif. –Sutter Delta Medical Center, part of the not-for-profit Sutter Health integrated network of care, recently welcomed a new chief nurse executive, Kevin Streeter, MBA, RN. Streeter joins the hospital during a time of unprecedented challenge in healthcare across the country.

“Kevin is an experienced nurse executive with a track record of improving patient care quality and service and maintaining strong relationships with staff and physicians at all levels,” said Sherie Hickman, Chief Executive Officer of Sutter Delta Medical Center.

Kevin Streeter, MBA, RN

Streeter brings with him a wide breadth of experience. Most recently, he served as chief nursing and clinical executive at Emanate Health’s Queen of the Valley Hospital in West Covina, Calif. where he oversaw all nursing and ancillary departments. Prior to that, he served as the director of Perioperative Services for Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles; corporate director of Perioperative Services at Emanate Health for a three-hospital system in Southern California; as well as director of Ambulatory Surgery Center, interim director of Perioperative Services, and interim director of the Center for Sports Science for Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica.

Among his many accomplishments, Streeter has led initiatives leading to improvement of patient experience, reduction in patient harm, recruitment of experienced nursing professionals and favorable management of operational budgets. Having earned a bachelor of science degree in management and an MBA (Leadership & Managing Organizational Change) from Pepperdine University, Streeter also holds a bachelor of science degree in nursing from the University of Phoenix. In January 2022, he will earn a master’s degree in Health Care Delivery Science from Dartmouth College.

Employees Rate Sutter as one of the Best in Latest Forbes Poll

Posted on Aug 24, 2020 in Integrated Network, Scroll Images

Employees across Sutter Health hold the network in high regard, according to the latest list by Forbes. In its second annual ranking of America’s best employers by state, Sutter Health was listed as one of California’s top employers.

“Sutter Health appreciates our entire workforce and how they help enhance the health and well-being of our communities,” said Jill Ragsdale, chief people and culture officer for Sutter Health. “Our teams live our values every day. With caring and compassion, they support patients and families, as well as each other.”

Using anonymous surveys, Forbes and market research company Statista verified the best-liked organizations by employees. Determining factors included potential for development, working conditions, diversity, salary, etc. Employees were also asked to rate on a scale from 1-10 whether they would recommend working for their employer to others.

This ranking takes special significance this year. Surveys took place from Oct. 2019 – May 2020, a portion of time that included the COVID-19 pandemic hitting stateside. Healthcare providers were facing challenges not seen before in their lifetimes. In response, Sutter identified resources that helped compassionately support the needs of staff. These creative solutions include offering temporary lodging around hospitals where staff may be relocated to support, retraining for staff asked to care for patients in other parts of the network, child care options close to work, self-care and mental health support, and remote work help.

Sutter Health was recently named one of 22 healthcare systems on Forbes’ 2020 list of “America’s Best Employers for Women.” Sutter ranked on Forbes list of California employers in 2019, too.

Sutter Health is more than 60,000 people strong, thanks to our 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, telehealth, home health and hospice services.