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Six Sutter Medical Network Organizations Achieve IHA Honors

Posted on Nov 6, 2020 in Quality Care, Scroll Images

SACRAMENTO, Calif. —Integrated Healthcare Association (IHA) has recognized six Sutter Medical Network (SMN) organizations for achieving top marks on quality and/or patient experience measures while effectively managing cost of care for Commercial HMO patients in 2019.

Excellence in Healthcare Award

The Excellence in Healthcare Award represents the highest level of achievement awarded by the IHA. To earn this award, physician organizations must perform in the top 50th percentile across three domains: clinical quality, patient experience and total cost of care for their commercial HMO population.

Sutter Medical Group, part of Sutter Medical Foundation, was one of just 20 physician organizations statewide to receive a 2020 Excellence in Healthcare Award from IHA. Of the nearly 200 physician organizations statewide participating in the Align. Measure. Perform. program, one in ten received an Excellence in Healthcare Award this year.

Exemplary Performance

IHA also recognizes physician organizations that demonstrated exemplary domain-specific performance. Sutter-affiliated Mills-Peninsula Medical Group and Palo Alto Foundation Medical Group, both affiliated with the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, achieved high performance (top 10th percentile) in the clinical quality and patient experience domains. Three more Sutter-affiliated physician organizations, Sutter Medical Group, Gould Medical Group, and Sutter East Bay Medical Group achieved high performance (top 10th percentile) in the patient experience domain only.

Most Improved

IHA also recognizes eight physician organizations—one from each region— that demonstrate the greatest year-to-year improvement in clinical quality and patient experience domains. Sutter Independent Physicians* earned the Ronald P. Bangasser Most Improved honor for making the greatest improvements in quality and patient experience from 2018-2019 among all physician organizations in the Sacramento and Northern California Region.

Sutter Medical Network is part of Sutter Health’s not-for-profit network of care, which proactively implements programs across its system that continuously improve the quality and value of healthcare for patients. Integration across Sutter’s regions, clinical settings and data environments is delivering care models with some of the best clinical outcomes in the nation.

* Sutter Independent Physicians contracts with Sutter Valley Medical Foundation to provide care to its HMO and SutterSelect patients. 

Health Policy Leader Took Values to the National Stage

Posted on Nov 5, 2020 in Access to Care, Scroll Images

Last week, Philip Randolph Lee, M.D., passed away at age 96. A nationally known advocate for access to high quality healthcare, Dr. Lee served presidents, desegregated hospitals, led San Francisco through the AIDS epidemic, served as a university chancellor, co-authored health policy texts, and more. But before he did all those things, he cared for patients as an internist at the Palo Alto Clinic (precursor to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation), the multi-specialty medical practice his father, Russel V.A. Lee M.D., co-founded in 1930.

“PAMF was home to him,” said Shira Lipton, M.D., a dermatologist practicing at PAMF, who was mentored by Dr. Lee. “Not just because his father was one of the founders, but because it exemplified excellent medical care and patient-centered research. PAMF was a place he would always go back to, an institution that delivered on the potential of what he hoped for our nation’s health system.”

Dr. Lee had seen elderly patients have poor health outcomes as a result of not having insurance and he entered the realm of public policy believing that healthcare is a service to society. In 1963, Dr. Lee first moved to Washington D.C. to serve as director of health for the Agency for International Development. Two years later Dr. Lee left his post to join the Lyndon Johnson administration as assistant secretary for health and scientific affairs at the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. There, Dr. Lee played a key role in the implementation of Medicare, including conditioning Medicare payments on a hospital’s adherence to provisions in the then new law that covered desegregation of hospitals.

In 1969 Dr. Lee returned to the Bay Area to become chancellor for the University of California, San Francisco and he worked with the UCSF Black Caucus to improve diversity at the university. He then became director of the UCSF Institute for Health Policy Studies, which bears his name today.

Former PAMF Research Institute Director Harold “Hal” Luft, Ph.D., worked with Dr. Lee at the Institute from 1973 to 1993. At the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, in 1985, Dr. Lee was also appointed the first President of the San Francisco Health Commission. Dr. Luft recalls how difficult the work was but also how uniquely suited Dr. Lee was to the role.

“He really cared about people,” Dr Luft said. “He cared about equity. He’d always be there for individuals, remembering everyone’s name and offering help before being asked. He put relationships before transactions.”

Dr. Lee was again called to Washington D.C. in 1992 to step into the role of Assistant Secretary for Health under the Clinton administration. When PAMF become part of Sutter in 1993, the complimentary PAMF and Sutter values of community service grew and strengthened each other as the organizational cultures blended, and the Lee family legacy was a big part of this, recalls Sutter Health President and CEO Sarah Krevans.

“Dr. Philip Lee mentored and inspired those around him to advance the causes of health equity and health policy reform because he grew up seeing the progress possible when clinicians collaborate to advance public health and improve the lives of others,” Krevans said. “His example still inspires us today through our Advancing Health Equity team, and our overall commitment to enhancing the health of our communities through our integrated, not-for-profit network of care.”

‘Catwalk For A Cure’ Raises $140K In Virtual Event

Posted on Nov 5, 2020 in Cancer Care, Scroll Images

In Sonoma County, Calif., approximately 2,400 people are diagnosed with cancer each year.

“We are living in extraordinary times, and in spite of all this, cancer diagnoses are still happening,” said Lisa Amador, assistant administrator and director of philanthropy for Sutter Health in the North Bay.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sutter’s philanthropy team knew they needed to change up their famed Catwalk For A Cure event, which raises money to support programs and services for those with living cancer.

“A reimagining was necessary and vital to support Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation’s Cancer Support and Integrative Health & Healing services. We got busy planning a fun and meaningful tribute,” said Amador.

Going Virtual in 2020

This year’s revamped format featured interviews with cancer survivors, ‘did you know’ Catwalk trivia, music, and hundreds of photos of the most outrageous fashions from years past.

Cindy Cantril, RN, MPH, OCN, CBCN, regional director of cancer support services and patient navigation for Sutter Bay Medical Foundation, shared that Sutter’s Cancer Support Services are available to anyone battling cancer, whether they are receiving care through Sutter or not.

“Our goal is to serve patients from the moment of diagnosis to end of life. We provide virtual support groups, pain relief, equine-assisted therapy, retreats, counseling, and educational programs that help with anxiety, nutrition, and exercise,” said Cantril.

Tara Jasper was among the interviewees who opened up to viewers about her cancer journey.

“The network of women and survivors I have met through the Catwalk community has given me an incredible safety net. I’m grateful to all the donors for being so committed to keeping this program and these services alive,” she said.

Catwalk’s Legacy

Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation’s (SPMF) Cancer Support and Integrative Health & Healing services have been assisting cancer patients and their families since 2004. Programs are philanthropically funded, provided at no cost to individuals, and are kept going because of grants, foundation support and individual donors.

This year, more than $140,000 was raised virtually, with more than $5 Million raised since the first Catwalk event. To watch the 2020 recording, please visit here.

Sutter Announces Nurse of the Year Award Winners

Posted on Nov 2, 2020 in Quality Care, Scroll Images

Pandemic underscores value of nursing and midwifery excellence

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—Sutter Health has announced its first-ever Nurse of the Year Award winners at a virtual Nursing Symposium attended by hundreds of nurses and midwives from across Northern California.

In addition to recognizing excellence in nursing and midwifery, celebrating the not-for-profit health system’s first Nurse of the Year award winners during the pandemic also serves to highlight the critical role of nurses and midwives who demonstrate nursing excellence, courage and compassion for patients and families and keep them safe during this challenging time, says Sutter Health’s Chief Nurse Officer Anna Kiger, DNP, DSc, RN.

The World Health Organization and the American Nurses Association designated the year 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife.

At the virtual event, Kiger announced three nurses and one nurse midwife out of nearly 300 nominees as the first winners of the awards. Each award winner was chosen for excelling in one of the four pillars of Sutter’s Nursing Philosophy of Care.

Sutter Nursing Philosophy of Care Pillars

  • Unlimited Potential: Our nurses are curious, life-long learners, teachers, mentors and leaders.
  • Unique Contribution: Our nurses honor the holistic needs of those in their care and find creative, evidence-based ways to promote health and healing.
  • Force of Good: Our nurses take pride in advocating for what is right for our patients, families and the communities we serve.
  • Humble Presence: Our nurses are a steady force for patients and their families during life’s most vulnerable moments.

“Each of these winners of Sutter’s first Nurse of the Year Award bring their best every day, living our organization’s values and the Sutter Nursing Philosophy pillars while making a profound difference for the patients and families they serve,” Dr. Kiger says. “They also stand out because their co-workers see them as leaders in our noble profession. We are truly blessed to have them as a part of our organization.”

John Fassett, CNM, Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation, Unlimited Potential

Out of more than 20,000 certified midwives across the nation, only about 1% are male. John Fassett, a certified nurse midwife (CNM) at Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation demonstrated his pioneering spirit by becoming one of the first male midwives in San Francisco 26 years ago and has been a registered nurse for 40 years.

John Fassett, CNM

Patients and staff alike talk about how his ability to listen and his sense of humor keep them relaxed, even during the tense times that accompany pregnancy, labor and delivery. Fassett, a military veteran, has demonstrated his Unlimited Potential by showing leadership during his 8-year tenure with Sutter by chairing the Advanced Practice Committee and serving as a nurse reviewer for Nurse Midwife practice with the California’s Board of Registered Nursing.

Cara Phillips, RN, Pre-Admission Testing, Memorial Medical Center, Unique Contribution

Cara Phillips, RN

Cara Phillips, RN, started her nursing career at Sutter’s Memorial Medical Center in Modesto in 1979 as a nurse on the surgical unit. She transferred to the Preadmission Testing (PAT) Department 10 years later and became the PAT charge nurse/coordinator in 2008. She partnered with Dr. Tamim Wafa, chief of Anesthesia, to bring the evidence-based Perioperative Surgical Home (PSH) model to Memorial Medical Center in 2017.

The PSH is a patient-centered, team-based system of coordinated care that guides patients through the entire surgical experience. One year after Phillips helped implement PSH at Memorial, the hospital realized all eight quality goals set by the American Society of Anesthesiology. Through Cara’s Unique Contribution, more than 1,000 orthopedic, bariatric, vascular, and high-acuity patients have benefited from the enhanced care of PSH.

Deborah Swartz, RN, Education, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Community Health Resource Center, Force of Good

Deborah Swartz, RN

Deborah Swartz, RN, has been a calming Force of Good for patients and staff since 2006 as the nurse educator at Sutter’s Palo Alto Medical Foundation Community Health Resource Center (CHRC). She works with clinicians to develop educational lectures and videos intended to help patients make choices toward healthier lifestyles. Most recent, she developed a free online asthma management course that’s expected to be a Sutter systemwide class soon.

Since becoming a registered nurse in 1977, Swartz has served in emergency rooms, at the bedside, in clinical departments, and at the VA, but has spent most of her career at Sutter. The CHRC provides compassionate guidance to patients and families—educating them about various diseases, caregiving responsibilities and how to make informed treatment decisions.

Andrea Trimble, RN, Med/Surg, Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Humble Presence

Andrea Trimble, RN

Andrea Trimble, RN, a charge nurse, demonstrates Humble Presence as a steady force in Sutter’s Alta Bates Summit Medical Center’s medical/surgical unit in Berkeley. She reviews charts and researches patients to anticipate their needs and needs of their families. In nominating her, her colleagues said they appreciate her respectful way of leading and working with nurses. Nurses maintain their close bond with patients while Trimble supports them and guides them in the background.

Co-workers describe Trimble as calm, poised and interactive as she finds the balance of supporting both staff and patients with the daily goal of providing the best possible care.

Sutter’s Nursing Philosophy of Care

Sutter’s Nursing Philosophy of Care and the four pillars are the product of many interviews with Sutter Health nurses, who shared their stories, beliefs and experiences. The philosophy provides a framework to inspire nurses, remind them why they entered the profession and highlight their unique role in their patients’ healing process. It is designed to support nurses from their first entry into nursing through retirement.

Award Winners with a Common Purpose

In different ways, Sutter’s first Nurse of the Year Award winners serve patients and families as they help them navigate through the complexity of healthcare today. This year’s winners also partner closely with doctors and other healthcare professionals as they seek to provide patients with a quality, personalized experience, no matter where they enter Sutter’s integrated healthcare system.

Safety First

Posted on Oct 27, 2020 in Quality Care, Scroll Images

The Hippocratic Oath has a special significance in the field of medicine. While its meaning has evolved over centuries with modernized text, its core truth remains: safety.

Hospitals across Sutter Health’s integrated network recognize safer care is fundamental to high-quality care. This approach has helped Sutter’s performance exceed state and national averages in the six main quality measures.

  • Key Quality Measures
    • Sepsis
    • Central line-associated blood stream infections (CLABSI)
    • Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI)
    • Surgical site infections from colon surgery (SSI)
    • C-section rates for first-time mothers with uncomplicated deliveries (NTSV)
    • Clostridium difficile intestinal infections (C-Diff)

Why do these measures matter? They are the most common to prolonging hospital stays, complicating care patient care plans and most importantly, influencing patients’ experiences. They also increase costs that can impact overall affordability in healthcare.

The Information Exchange

William Isenberg, M.D.

“Teams across our organization share a common goal of high quality care, so it becomes a question of, ‘How do we partner to meet that goal?’” said William Isenberg, M.D., chief quality and safety officer for Sutter Health.

The collective sharing of best practices—in support of high-quality, safer care—is made easier through integrated networks like Sutter Health. Standard approaches and protocols can spread across integrated systems through numerous channels.

And that collaboration goes both ways. Sutter has hospital-based committees and subcommittees working on lowering rates all the time. These groups then team up with other hospital departments as “communities of interest” to tackle quality measures that may be more prevalent in their respective areas. These intersections of information amplify quality efforts, which are bolstered too, through Sutter’s single electronic health record platform.

Communication is Key

Dr. Isenberg reminds us there is one major element to quality improvement that can’t be overlooked. Beyond understanding metric baselines and best practices, healthcare teams must clearly communicate with each other.

This can make a considerable difference when clinicians understand the implications their decisions have for patients, as well as other clinicians caring for them. Dr. Isenberg gives the hypothetical example of catheter use and keeping care teams accountable throughout the process.

“For me to be reminded by others on the care team to be sure to place an order for prompt catheter removal to prevent post-operative bladder infections, not only reminds me, but also demonstrates that all of us on the team have shared goals for our patient,” he said. “And those cues and conversations continue along the way.

“Our Informatics team created a reminder for doctors in our electronic health record. Once doctors place the order to have a catheter removed, our nursing teams will need to step in to remove it in a timely fashion. Our nursing leaders then monitor the time interval to make sure it’s completed within that appropriate window.”

That continuous real-time communication and collaboration among care teams minimizes waste, decreases errors, increases efficiency and ultimately improves quality of care.

Patients as Partners

Patient participation plays an important role in quality improvement, too. Dr. Isenberg says having conversations early and often with patients about care goals and expectations establishes a place of understanding and sets the stage for ongoing dialogue. For example, doctors can emphasize that vaginal deliveries are normal and most often the safest option for babies and moms. Clinicians can educate patients they may have catheters during their surgeries and the goal is to remove them as soon as possible post-operation to help avoid infection.

Dr. Isenberg acknowledged sometimes circumstances will lead to changes in care—but the communication clinicians had all along will help patients know their safety always comes first.

Continuous Improvement

Dr. Isenberg recognizes while Sutter appreciates the progress that has been made in key quality areas, the organization continuously strives to do better.

He points out the network is expanding beyond to look into social determinants of health and health equity. Teams are examining what other impacts are hitting different racial and ethnic groups, those who are uninsured or underinsured, or who have chronic health conditions like obesity, high blood pressure or diabetes. Sutter is also looking into how COVID-19 has further exacerbated those issues.

“We need to constantly look at these issues through different lenses,” Dr. Isenberg said. “What other creative ways can we do our work? How can we expand upon our learnings? This is how we will continue to serve the diverse needs of our communities and improve overall health.”

Athletes Know: the Flu Shot Keeps You Healthy On and Off the Field

Posted on Oct 26, 2020 in Scroll Images, Wellness & Integrative Health

Despite cold conditions, rain and mud, players and fans eagerly anticipate Major League Soccer’s playoffs in November and December. And while things certainly are different this year with COVID-19, very few things normally keep a fan out of the stands or an athlete off the field. However, the flu is one of them.

“Our playoffs are in the winter months, when flu and seasonal colds are circulating,” said Shea Salinas, midfielder for the San Jose Earthquakes. “I get the flu shot every year to guard against getting sick and potentially missing an important game.”

Instead of being benched by the flu, Salinas is scoring goals. He recently scored a crucial goal in a 2-1 win over Los Angeles Football Club just days after getting his flu shot at a Sutter Walk-In Care Center. “They say defense wins championships, and defending yourself from the flu keeps you performing your best,” remarked Salinas.

Passionate about promoting health, Salinas was happy to use his celebrity status to spread the word about the importance of getting a flu shot, especially because people who skip the flu vaccine this year could run the risk of getting the flu and COVID-19 at the same time.

Working with Sutter Health, exclusive healthcare partner of the San Jose Earthquakes, Salinas filmed a public service announcement that emphasizes that it’s quick, easy and safe to get your flu shot.

The flu shot won’t protect you from getting COVID-19, but it’ll help prevent you from getting sick with both the flu and COVID at the same time. To schedule your flu shot at a Sutter Health Walk-In Care, call (800) 972-5547 or visit our website for other appointment options.