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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

Capital Public Radio Unveils Plans for New State-of-the-Art Headquarters in Downtown Sacramento

Posted on Apr 30, 2019 in Community Benefit, Scroll Images

Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and Sacramento City Councilmember Steve Hansen Announce New Headquarters at 8th and J Streets

 

Sutter Health Provides Lead Investment Making Landmark Project Possible

 

Courtesy of Capital Public Radio

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Capital Public Radio today unveiled its plans to move to a new state-of-the-art headquarters in the heart of downtown Sacramento and announced a significant investment from Northern California-based, not-for-profit integrated healthcare system Sutter Health. This collaboration signifies Sutter Health’s and CapRadio’s deep commitment to improving community health by creating a space that will function as both a journalism hub and a center for community engagement.

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg reveals the Sutter Health Center for Community Engagement during Tuesday’s event.

“We are proud to invest in this landmark project and provide the community with greater access to education, collaboration and community empowerment — important facets of a healthy community,” said Sarah Krevans, president and CEO of Sutter Health. “As an integrated, not-for-profit healthcare system, we have an important mission beyond the walls of our healthcare facilities to improve the overall health and wellbeing of the communities we serve. That’s why we invest in programs including those that provide shelter and resources to those who are homeless, increase access to mental healthcare and enhance our community.”

The new headquarters will be a center for news reporting, healthy civic dialogue and shared community experiences, while also contributing to the vitality and economic health of Sacramento’s downtown area. CapRadio will occupy the 34,000-square-foot facility at Eighth and J streets, allowing the NPR-member station to nearly double its staff to 140 members over time, and adding an estimated $4.8 million in wages per year. Sutter Health’s $2.25 million investment for CapRadio’s new headquarters will include the construction of the Sutter Health Center for Community Engagement, which has the capacity to host up to 220 people and as many 300 events per year, generating a potential economic impact of approximately $1.5 million for surrounding businesses in the area.

“With our move, we will add to the vitality and economic health of downtown Sacramento and we will be able to expand on our mission to inspire listeners to look at the world from multiple perspectives, learn from diverse audiences and engage our communities more broadly,” said Rick Eytcheson, president and general manager of Capital Public Radio. “We applaud Sutter Health’s recognition that our shared responsibility includes nurturing the mind and spirit, as well as the body. Sutter Health’s significant investment is making this move a reality, I couldn’t be more thrilled to work with such a committed community partner.”

CapRadio is licensed to California State University, Sacramento and is housed on the campus. Construction on the new downtown headquarters is slated to begin in late 2019 and is scheduled for completion in mid-2020.

Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and Sacramento City Councilmember Steve Hansen helped celebrate the announcement at an event that featured a performance by the Sacramento Mandarins drumline, a banner drop to reveal a life-sized image of the entry to the Sutter Health Center for Community Engagement, and more than 100 guests.

“I am excited about this investment and not just because it is in my hometown. This investment reaches far beyond Sacramento and will have positive impacts for our democracy and freedom of expression,” said Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis.

“Strong, credible journalism is crucial to our city and region, and I’m thrilled that Sutter Health’s investment will allow CapRadio to expand its coverage and be in the heart of downtown. This new center will also provide members of our diverse community a place to stay informed and achieve greater common understanding,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg.

“This state-of-the-art headquarters will soon be a destination that will add vitality to our city’s heart and support the creative economy of Sacramento’s downtown and our larger region,” said Sacramento City Councilman Steve Hansen. “As a CapRadio member, I’m elated to see the station put roots in our central city, which is at the crossroads of state and local news. Public radio continues to be the cornerstone of an informed public, and this new headquarters will be a beacon of civic engagement for the community.”

Positive Impact: Nurse-Driven Universal HIV and Hepatitis C Screening in East Bay ERs Prompts Dozens to Receive Treatment

Posted on Apr 30, 2019 in Expanding Access, Innovation, Scroll Images, Uncategorized

Nurses Week (May 6-12) Marks Two-Year Anniversary of First Patient Diagnosed with HIV Infection through Program

OAKLAND, Calif. — In the U.S., one out of seven people living with HIV don’t know it, and the majority of people living with hepatitis C might be undiagnosed. In Alameda County, HIV[1] and hepatitis C[2] infection rates have not declined significantly over the last 10 years, and a disproportionate amount of people of color are affected by both diseases.

Nurses at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center (ABSMC) in the East Bay, part of the Sutter Health not-for-profit, integrated network of care, have found a way to get more people tested and into treatment. A nurse-led, opt-out screening program at ABSMC’s Oakland and Berkeley campus emergency rooms is testing all eligible patients unless they specifically decline.

Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Oakland campus, 350 Hawthorne Ave.

“We routinely test people who come to our emergency departments for HIV and hepatitis C virus. They have the option to decline, but the majority of people choose not to opt out,” says Kara Vassily, BSN, R.N., nurse champion for the opt-out testing program at the ABSMC Oakland campus.

More than 12,500 patients have been tested for HIV and hepatitis C (HIV:  13,378; HCV: 12,599) since the ground-breaking program began in May 2017. As a result of the screening effort, 36 people were diagnosed with HIV. Thirty-four of them have been linked to medical care, and 33 are receiving lifelong anti-retroviral therapy (ART).[3] The opt-out screening program also diagnosed 342 people with hepatitis C.  Of these, 108 people have been connected with treatment services and many of them have already started or completed medications that can cure them of this chronic liver disease in just two months.

“Nurses are in a unique position to lead universal screening and testing programs for HIV and hepatitis C in the emergency department,” says Vassily. “Because they spend a significant amount of time with patients, collecting sensitive health history information and providing patient education, they are able to talk with them more in depth about their potential risk factors for transmission of HIV and hepatitis C. It is through these open and honest conversations that the stigma around these two diseases is reduced, universal screening is successful and the overall health of the community is improved.”

“Many of those who test positive for HIV would probably not have known their disease status until they got an opportunistic infection like pneumocystis pneumonia or, in the case of hepatitis C, only after they’d suffered severe liver damage,” says Ryan Anson, a nurse practitioner at East Bay Advanced Care (EBAC) and director of the ED-based testing program.

“An important outcome of our opt-out testing program,” says Anson, “is the significant number of very early (acute) HIV infections we’ve diagnosed. We are detecting HIV infection in people within two to six weeks of their initial exposure to the virus, which means we are able to start them on ART at a very early stage in the disease. And we know from research that the earlier we attack the virus with treatment, the better our patients’ outcomes–and the lower their risk of transmitting HIV.”

The emergency departments were chosen as screening sites because they are often where vulnerable people seek primary care.

Patients newly diagnosed with HIV through the universal screening program, many of them people of color, are now starting ART within 24-72 hours of their diagnosis at ABSMC’s East Bay Advanced Care (EBAC). For more than 31 years, EBAC has provided primary care for low-income people with HIV and AIDS. Beginning ART as soon as possible helps patients to live longer, healthier lives and reduces the risk of HIV transmission to others.

“The opt-out screening program in our emergency departments helps us identify not only who has tested positive for HIV or hepatitis C, but also who needs our specialized services at EBAC. Universal testing is helping us to improve the quality of people’s lives, while it also helps reduce the spread of infection in the community,” says Christopher Hall, M.D. co-medical director of EBAC.

In the Bay Area, only Sutter’s Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Alameda Health System’s Highland Hospital, and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital conduct routine emergency department opt-out testing programs for HIV and hepatitis C.

Based at the Oakland campus of Alta Bates Summit, EBAC (formerly known as East Bay AIDS Center) cares for an average of 1,500 HIV-positive and 500 HIV-negative patients each year and is the only full-time, hospital-based HIV primary care center in Alameda County.  Since 1987, EBAC’s mission is to provide highest-quality, confidential, and nonjudgmental professional treatment and support services to all clients regardless of their income status, insurance or ability to pay.

[1] Alameda County Public Health Department: “HIV in Alameda County 2014-2016” http://www.acphd.org/media/493885/hiv-report-2018.pdf

[2] California Department of Public Health: “Alameda County – Chronic Hepatitis C Cases and Rates of Newly Reported Cases, 2011-2015” https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/CDPH%20Document%20Library/Converted_Alameda_HCV.pdf

[3] Alameda County Public Health Department: “HIV in Alameda County 2014-2016” http://www.acphd.org/media/493885/hiv-report-2018.pdf. In 2016, nearly 5,000 new diagnoses of HIV infection were made in California, 275 in Alameda County.

Accidental Medication Exposure at Home Takes a Toll on Kids

Posted on Apr 24, 2019 in Eden Medical Center, Innovation, Scroll Images

CASTRO VALLEY, Calif. –You’ve heard the warnings: put medicines out of reach of children, read all labels, take only what is prescribed in the manner it is prescribed. Yet every year, nearly 60,000 kids under the age of 5 are accidentally exposed to medications, according to Consumer Reports.

So, what can be done?

Proper Disposal

Proper disposal of unwanted, unused or expired medicines is a great way to safeguard against unintentional exposure. But throwing unwanted medicines into the garbage, down the toilet, or other non-sanctioned means of disposal is not safe and poses both health and environmental hazards.

The safest way to dispose of medicines is to put them in special medication disposal kiosks where they are stored until they can be destroyed. Working with the Alameda County Med-Project, Eden Medical Center, part of the Sutter Health not-for-profit network of care, now offers medication disposal kiosks to the community. The kiosks are conveniently located in the hospital’s lobby, open to the public, and free of charge for anyone to drop off unwanted or expired medications.

Trauma registrar, Susan Choing, demonstrates how to use the new medication take-back kiosk at Eden Medical Center.

Says Eden’s trauma injury prevention specialist, Pam Stoker, “These kiosks are a symbol of our commitment to the safety and care of our community. By providing a location for safe disposal of medications, we are providing a means for people to proactively safeguard against accidental misuse of medications.”

Another option for safe disposal is to bring medications to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day event on Saturday, April 27 at the Castro Valley Library from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. DEA officers will be on hand to collect unwanted or expired medicines as well as illegal drugs for safe disposal—no questions asked.

Safe Storage

Safe storage of medicine is key in protecting against unintentional exposure. According to a new research report, Medicine Safety: A Key Part of Child-Proofing Your Home, a disconnect exists between where people “store” their medications and where they “keep” their medications. Medications that are not frequently used are “stored” in a safe location like a medicine cabinet or closet, whereas daily use prescriptions or over the counter medicines are “kept” in more convenient, easy to reach locations like the nightstand or counter top. This disconnect creates a risk for unintentional poisoning. To keep others safe, maintain all medications out of sight away from locations that are easily accessible—no matter how frequently you use them.

Working Together to Prevent Unintentional Exposure

In Alameda County, several agencies have come together to outreach to the community for medication safety education and awareness. Safe Kids Alameda County is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury. They work to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the number one cause of death for children in the United States. Its members include Alameda County Emergency Medical Services, Alameda Health Systems, Sutter’s Eden Medical Center, UCSF-Benioff Children’s Hospital, Oakland, and many other local agencies. Work is also being done by the Alameda County Meds Coalition, which meets monthly at Supervisor Nate Miley’s office in Castro Valley. The Coalition brings together various agencies to work on topics of medication safety including legislation and ease of safe disposal of medications, safe prescribing, and education/awareness on medication safety.

To learn more about medication safety visit the SafeKids website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sutter Outpatient Surgery Centers Win All Five California Women’s Choice Awards

Posted on Apr 24, 2019 in Expanding Access, Quality, Scroll Images, Sutter Medical Foundation, Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation, Uncategorized, We're Awesome, Women's Services

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The five ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) to earn a 2019 Women’s Choice Award for Best ASC in California are all Sutter Health ASCs:

  • PAMF Surgery Center, San Carlos
  • Sutter Santa Rosa Surgery & Endoscopy Center
  • Stockton Surgery Center
  • Sutter Medical Foundation Surgery & Endoscopy Center (Yuba City)
  • Sutter Elk Grove Surgery Center

“Considering that women make about 80 percent of all healthcare decisions for themselves and their families, this recognition represents a strong and important achievement,” said Sutter Surgery Center Division CEO Terry Glubka. “Congratulations on a job well done!”

About the Women’s Choice Award

The Women’s Choice Award surveys women across the country to gain insight about their most trusted businesses, brands and services. Women’s Choice Award used the most recently publicly available information from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as well as accreditation information, to select America’s Best Ambulatory Surgical Centers. It also distributed surveys to women to determine which patient satisfaction measures are most important to them.

About Sutter Health’s Ambulatory Surgery Centers

Sutter Health’s network of ASCs provide patients throughout California a safe and convenient option for many procedures, including pain and spine surgery, hernia repair, cataract surgery, and arthroscopic surgery on the knee, shoulder, ankle and wrist. For more information, please visit sutterhealth.org/surgery-center-division.

Sutter Health Supports Expanded Access to Telehealth in California Legislature

Posted on Apr 24, 2019 in Expanding Access, Scroll Images

Sutter Lakeside Chief Administrative Officer Dan Peterson was in California’s capitol voicing support for Assembly Bill 744, critical legislation that improves access to care through telehealth.

SACRAMENTO, Calif.–Sutter Lakeside Hospital Chief Administrative Officer Dan Peterson testified in Sacramento yesterday in support of California state Assembly Bill 744, by Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry, which Sutter Health believes is a critical step toward improving access to quality health care across California by ensuring that healthcare providers are adequately reimbursed for telehealth services.

Sutter Health is driven to continually transform health care – focusing on how, when and where consumers want and need health care services.  One way we are meeting patient needs is through the deployment of advanced telemedicine technology. Through the use of telemedicine we can bring high quality, around-the-clock care to patients who would not otherwise have access to specialists and specialty care.  We believe this is especially important for California’s rural communities.

At Sutter Health, we witnessed this firsthand when Lake County was devastated by a massive wild fire which left Sutter Lakeside Hospital – one of the only remaining health care providers in the county – closed for 14 days. Through Sutter’s integrated network we were able to remotely deploy physicians from parts of our network not impacted by the fires to digitally treat patients of the Lake County community – but we did so without knowing  if these providers would be reimbursed for their services.

Although current California law recognizes the practice of telehealth as a legitimate means for an individual to receive health care services, the language is insufficient to ensure that services are actually reimbursed.  As a result, health insurers may deny coverage to patients looking to benefit from telehealth services, patients are not assured that their insurance will provide coverage, and providers are unable to develop a sustainable telehealth program for the entire patient population.  AB 744 removes these barriers and will require health insurers to include coverage and reimbursement for services provided to a patient through telehealth.