Sutter Health and Anthem Blue Cross Reach Multiyear Agreement that Protects Patient Choice

Posted on Mar 20, 2019 in Uncategorized

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sutter Health and Anthem Blue Cross today announced that they have reached an agreement that continues to provide consumers access to the integrated Sutter Health network through Dec. 31, 2022.

This agreement applies to Anthem Blue Cross Medi-Cal, HMO and PPO products and provides continued in-network access to Sutter Health affiliated providers and facilities.

“Sutter Health is pleased that we have reached a multiyear agreement with Anthem Blue Cross that provides patients with access to Sutter Health’s high quality integrated network while keeping care affordable,” said Sutter Health President and CEO Sarah Krevans.  “We value the relationship we have with our patients and the ability to continue to serve them.”

Impacted patients with questions can call the number on the back of their Anthem ID card or visit  www.sutterhealth.org/anthem.

Sutter Health’s integrated network includes 24 hospitals, five medical foundation and 36 outpatient surgery centers that provide care to more than 3 million patients.


Do Adults Need a Measles Shot?

Posted on Mar 18, 2019 in Scroll Images, Uncategorized, Wellness

SAN FRANCISCO – Measles, which authorities thought was eliminated as a public health threat in the United States in 2000, has re-emerged in increasing numbers this winter. Through March 14, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported 268 individual U.S. cases—73 of them in Washington state, in a community where only 78 percent of the school-aged population is vaccinated.

By comparison, the CDC reported a total of 372 cases of measles during 2018.

In California, this year’s CDC figures include five Bay Area residents (three adult, two pediatric) in Santa Clara, San Mateo, San Francisco and Santa Cruz counties who have contracted measles. Two of these cases were contracted from another person on an airplane flight.

In the past, many thousands of Americans developed measles each year. Many would die, and many more would develop complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis.

“We have fewer deaths now because of the vaccine—and only because of the vaccine,” says Jeffrey Silvers, M.D., Sutter Health’s medical director of Pharmacy and Infection Control.

Measles is a ferociously contagious disease: The number of cases one case generates on average over the course of its infectious period is 10 to 18, compared with two or 3 for influenza.

“The only treatment for measles is prevention,” says Dr. Silvers. “Vaccination keeps you from developing the disease but also from spreading the virus. When immunization lags, outbreaks can occur. After all, many people move to America from countries without immunization programs, and global travel in general increases the chance of measles spreading to vulnerable populations.

“The vaccine works well. Two doses are about 97 percent effective at preventing measles. One dose is about 93 percent effective.”

So do you need the vaccine now if you received it as a child?

Two doses of the vaccine are required for people embarking on international travel, says Dr. Silvers—and for healthcare workers as well as people who received the inactive vaccine used from 1963 to 1967.

“Everybody else only needs one dose,” he says. “If you have been properly vaccinated, you don’t need to get it again.

“But if you received the vaccine as a child during the early to mid-1960s, you should discuss with your physician the possibility of receiving it again.”

To Mend a Broken Heart: Sutter Health Starts eCPR Protocol in San Mateo County

Posted on Mar 15, 2019 in Cardiac, Community Benefit, Innovation, Mills-Peninsula Health Services, Scroll Images, Uncategorized

BURLINGAME, Calif. — If you’ve ever watched a televised medical drama, you’ve probably seen a doctor yell “clear” before delivering a jolt of electricity to re-start a patient’s heart. Unfortunately the shows make it seem like the defibrillator works every time. In reality, it doesn’t. Sometimes a faulty heart rhythm won’t return to normal even after multiple shocks, and if the problem is a blocked artery, no amount of shocks will help. In these cases, a patient’s only hope is to receive CPR while they are rushed to a hospital, and once there, receive advanced life support until doctors can repair their heart.

These two life-saving steps form the basis for a new emergency response protocol, called eCPR, which has the potential to decrease deaths from sudden cardiac arrest by 30 percent. Sutter Health affiliated Mills-Peninsula Medical Center is the first hospital on the West Coast to adopt this new protocol, which was proven effective in a 2016 study by Minneapolis-St. Paul area hospitals.


‘Hands Free’ Device Performs CPR During Transport

Until recently, it’s been next to impossible to perform effective CPR while in transit. “Our protocol has been to perform CPR at the scene and start transport only if we can stabilize the patient,” said John Kammeyer, Fire Chief, San Mateo Central Fire. Unfortunately many patients never stabilize – and 95 percent of sudden cardiac arrest victims die before they even reach a hospital.

The widespread use of a mechanical CPR device is set to change that. The device, known as LUCAS (Lund University Cardiac Arrest System), continuously delivers the same 2-inch chest compressions that a human hand would during traditional CPR, but the machine makes the process “hands free.” This means that emergency medical technicians (EMTs) can start their drive to the hospital sooner. A LUCAS device is carried on every San Mateo Fire rig that serves the county and two of the LUCAS devices now in the field were donated by Mills-Peninsula Medical Center community benefit.

ECMO Buys Time for Treatment

Once a patient arrives at Mills-Peninsula Medical Center the second life-saving step – advanced life support – comes in. A special machine called ECMO or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, pumps oxygenated blood through the patient’s body, allowing the heart and lungs to rest while an emergency cardiac procedure is performed.

ECMO can support patients for days to weeks while doctors treat their underlying heart condition and give the heart time to heal. “Historically ECMO has only been used in support of a planned cardiac procedure,” said Joe Walsh, M.D., an interventional cardiologist with Palo Alto Medical Foundation. “Under this new protocol we’re using ECMO on an emergency basis, but time is still of the essence.”  This expanded use of ECMO can only be accomplished if the hospital has trained supportive personnel at the ready – which Mills-Peninsula Medical Center does.

Mills-Peninsula Medical Center launched its ECMO program in 2017 and has treated approximately 25 adults per year with the technology. Dr. Walsh is director of the ECMO Program and has seen first-hand that gallant CPR efforts and rapid use of ECMO can save lives.

Spotting the Signs: Sutter Health Athletic Trainers Address Student Concussions

Posted on Mar 12, 2019 in Affiliates, Community Benefit, Novato Community Hospital, Scroll Images, Uncategorized

Novato, Calif — New research studies on concussions have shown that left untreated, they can cause serious long-term health problems—a frightening prospect for student athletes and their families. In 2014, Novato Community Hospital (NCH) and Novato Unified School District came together to help. They teamed up to improve concussion detection and injury prevention for the district’s more than 1,600 student athletes across 21 different sports. The result was the NCH Athletic Trainer Program.

Designed by the NCH Orthopedics Department and supervised by the department chief, the program takes a holistic approach to safeguard the health and safety of student athletes. Launched in 2015, it funds two full-time certified athletic trainers, one at San Marin High School and one at Novato High School, who work with students on a daily basis, attending all practice sessions and games where high-impact sports are played. “The certified athletic trainers are healthcare professionals that are educated on and experienced in the evaluation and management of athletic injuries, including concussions,” said Jennifer Lehr, director of orthopedic services at NCH.


The trainers identified concussion symptoms in 47 local student athletes in 2017, all of whom needed to see a doctor. “Without this intervention, they may have continued on the field, risking permanent injury,” said Steven Dehart, the certified athletic trainer at San Marin High School.

In addition to in-the-moment concussion assessment, the certified athletic trainers also conduct extremely detailed computer-based pre-injury concussion testing at the start of every school year to establish each student’s unique brain-health baseline. Later in the year, if a concussion occurs during practice or play, the severity of injury can be objectively measured to provide information vital to medical treatment.

Finally, the certified athletic trainers provide student athletes and school coaches with basic sports medicine training, including how to avoid common bone, joint and muscular-skeletal injuries. “We really focus on injury prevention,” Lehr said. “The ultimate goal is to enhance the student-athlete experience and establish good habits now for lifelong health and well-being.”

The Athletic Trainer Program is made possible through the support of the community. The Novato Community Hospital Foundation funds a portion of the program and donors have supported the purchase and licensing of the computer-based pre-injury concussion testing software, as well as a portion of the salaries for the certified athletic trainers. In addition, donations covered the cost of advanced software the radiologists at NCH needed to conduct susceptibility weighted imaging during an MRI, which can more precisely diagnose brain injuries. Novato Community Hospital covers the remainder of program costs through community benefit investments. The Novato Unified School District provides oversight, infrastructure and acts as the first point of contact with parents.

Tiny Twin Fighters Will Win Your Heart

Posted on Mar 8, 2019 in California Pacific Medical Center, Scroll Images, Uncategorized, Women's Services

The road ahead it twists and turns .  . . but I keep, keep on pushing through,” sings John Isaac in the soulful song titled I Get Up. This song is the perfect anthem for Mason and Logan, fraternal twins, who need the specialized care of doctors and nurses at Sutter’s California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) Van Ness Campus. The neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU, is a special section of the hospital dedicated to babies born early or with delicate medical  needs. In the NICU babies gain weight and develop a little more every day until they are healthy enough to go home.

At Sutter we want all of our patients to be at their strongest and the spirit of these two twin fighters matches our mission and echoes these poignant lyrics: “With every step my heart it pounds, yes I’m sure I’ve had my doubts, but I must keep, keep on pushing through. Yeah I get up, and I may fall right back down – but your love lifts me back to solid ground.” Thank you, Mason and Logan, for showing us how to keep on pushing through.


Sutter Health Announces Stable 2018 Financial Performance

Posted on Mar 7, 2019 in Uncategorized

SACRAMENTO, Calif.–Integrated healthcare delivery system Sutter Health has announced its financial performance for 2018. Sutter Health’s combined 2018 income was $201 million, which reflects the day-to-day operations of its hospitals, physician based care centers and a variety of other healthcare services, compared to $326 million in 2017. The system’s total 2018 operating revenues of $13 billion increased slightly from 2017’s operating revenues. Sutter Health posted $(267) million in investment income and changes in net unrealized gains and losses from investments classified as trading in 2018, compared to $651 million the prior year. Income attributable to Sutter Health for 2018 was $(198) million, compared to $893 million in 2017.

Community-Based Investments to Improve Access to Healthcare

The shift in overall performance between 2017 and 2018 was due to the temporary swing in the investment market at the end of the fourth quarter, as well as the fact that Sutter Health recognized multiple years of revenue from the Hospital Fee Program1 in 2017. As an integrated network of care, Sutter Health is positioned to withstand changes such as these. This ability gives Sutter the opportunity to further expand community access to high-quality healthcare. Additionally, as a not-for-profit, Sutter continually reinvests in its communities. In 2018, Sutter Health invested $924 million in new facilities and lifesaving technology throughout Northern California—extending its total investment to nearly $10 billion during the last 10 years.

The construction of California Pacific Medical Center, which meets 2030 seismic regulations, is now complete in San Francisco. The second of two new and innovative hospitals, the CPMC Van Ness Campus located in the city center, opened on March 2. The CPMC Mission Bernal Campus, located at Valencia and Cesar Chavez, opened Aug. 25, 2018. Sutter Health also facilitated expanded access to clinics through construction projects in multiple communities, including Alameda, Contra Costa, Lake, Placer, Sacramento, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Sonoma counties.

Sutter Health continues to innovate safe, high-quality care delivery outside of hospital and clinic walls to meet community needs for flexibility and efficiency—all with an eye toward also helping reduce healthcare costs. Sutter’s support runs across the healthcare spectrum—from where people access their care to how they manage their care. Video visits and walk-in care centers helped create more options for patients to access primary care in 2018. More than 1 million appointments were scheduled online by patients last year, offering greater ease and convenience. Sutter Health also invested $54 million in research and development in 2018, supporting efforts addressing a range of health concerns including stroke, breast cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, recovery after liver and kidney transplant, and diabetes.

“Patients and families count on us to deliver high-quality care, and we are committed to serving them and all those who call Northern California home,” said Sutter Health President and CEO Sarah Krevans. “Thanks to our integrated network, we continue to make care more accessible and more equitable. We focused efforts on better connecting patients to the right care service, at the right time and in the right place. We also maintained our commitment to care for the underserved. We’re proud to play a strong role in making our overall communities healthier.”

Care for the Underserved

Sutter Health’s total investment in community benefit in 2018 was $734 million, which is an increase from $612 million in 2017. This amount includes traditional charity care and unreimbursed costs of providing care to Medi-Cal patients, as well as investments in health education and public benefit programs such as community clinics and prenatal care for those with low income. Overall, since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, greater numbers of previously uninsured people now have healthcare coverage through the Medi-Cal program.

The payments for patients who are covered by Medi-Cal do not cover the full costs of providing care. In 2018, Sutter Health invested $435 million more than the state paid to care for Medi-Cal patients. Medi-Cal accounted for nearly 19 percent of Sutter Health’s gross patient service revenues in 2018.

See more about how Sutter Health reinvests into the community by visiting sutterpartners.org.

Sutter Health – 2018 Financial Results, Continued

Sutter Health 2018 Financial Results

Dollars in millions



Operating Revenues



Operating Expenses



Income from Operations



Investment Income



Change in net unrealized gains and losses from investments classified as trading



Loss on extinguishment of debt



(Loss) Income



Less income attributable to noncontrolling interests



(Loss) Income attributable to Sutter Health



Capital Investment



1The Hospital Fee Program imposes a “quality assurance fee” on certain general acute care hospitals in California. Each of these hospital’s Hospital Fee Program’s proceeds are used to earn federal matching funds for Medi-Cal, and to increase Medi-Cal payments, helping offset the costs for expanding services to the most vulnerable population. Sutter Health’s shift in overall performance between Fiscal Years Ended December 31, 2017 and 2018 is, in part, due to Sutter Health’s recognition of multiple years of revenue from the Hospital Fee Program in Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2017. For Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2017, Sutter Health recognized $432 million from the Hospital Fee Program compared to $272 million for Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2018.

ADA compliant versions of the audit available upon request.