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Intelligently Ramping Up In-Person Care

Posted on May 20, 2020 in Scroll Images, Uncategorized, Wellness

SANTA ROSA, Calif. – Sutter physicians are moving into the clinical phase of recovery amid COVID-19, with in-person visits resuming with greater frequency.

While fears over contracting the virus persist, Sutter is working hard to communicate to patients the many safety measures in place so they feel comfortable coming in.

“Thanks to residents who continue to practice physical distancing and other responsible public health practices, we are starting to bring back our patients who deferred time-sensitive or preventative care in March and April,” said Gary McLeod, M.D., president of Sutter Medical Group of the Redwoods.

Opening Up, Gradually

California Governor Gavin Newsom said that re-opening the state will not happen all at once.

“There’s no light switch here. It’s more like a dimmer,” he told reporters during an April press conference, where he outlined six indicators, including the ability of hospitals and health systems to handle surges.

Sutter is taking a similar phased approach to reintegrating its operations. According to Bill Isenberg, M.D., Sutter’s Chief Quality and Safety Officer, “We anticipate that full resumption of our operations is likely months away.”

“We are taking a phased approach, not only because we want those patients most in need to be seen first, but also to allow us to continually monitor PPE inventory and testing capability to ensure we can provide care safely and remain prepared for a surge should the number of COVID-19 patients begin to increase again,” Isenberg said.

As patients begin to navigate the new normal of receiving care, it’s important they coordinate closely with their primary care provider to discuss timing and options.

Facilities Going the Extra Mile

Sutter hospitals, outpatient clinics and doctors’ offices are open and have the following safety measures in place:

• Each staff member, patient and visitor are screened for COVID-19 symptoms
• Temperatures are taken for all staff, patient and visitors at every building entrance
• Visitors are limited
• Masks are required and provided for everyone entering any Sutter building
• Lobbies and waiting areas are modified to support social distancing
• Enhanced cleaning of every exam room between visits

“We are continuing to open up and work through measures to ensure safe patient care, which is especially important for our vulnerable patients with complex health issues like heart disease, lung disease, and cancer. These patients really need to see us,” McLeod said.

“At this time, the public can rest assured that medical care is available and safer than ever.”

Sutter’s Alta Bates Summit Medical Center Welcomes New CEO

Posted on May 18, 2020 in Affiliates, Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Uncategorized

OAKLAND, Calif. – David D. Clark, FACHE, begins a new role as chief executive officer of Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, part of the Sutter Health not-for-profit integrated network of care, on May 18. Clark served as interim CEO at Alta Bates Summit for the past year.

David D. Clark

“David Clark is an engaged and tireless leader who quickly immersed himself into all levels of the medical center’s operations when he assumed the interim CEO role at Alta Bates Summit a year ago. Since joining Sutter, David has built a diverse, cohesive, and values-driven team focused on strategy development and deployment, community relations, and operations improvement with a focus on patient-centered care,” said Julie Petrini, president and CEO of Sutter Bay Hospitals.

Clark is an accomplished healthcare executive with more than 25 years of leadership, including 15 years as CEO in various hospitals and health systems spanning rural, urban, academic medical centers, and integrated health systems.

Prior to joining Sutter, Clark served in executive roles at three different integrated health systems: Intermountain Healthcare as regional vice president and CEO in Provo, Utah; Trinity Health as regional president and CEO in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and CHRISTUS Health as senior vice president/chief administrative officer in Corpus Christi, Texas. Clark has provided interim healthcare leadership, executive coaching and consulting for hospitals, health systems, physician groups, and other organizations. Before his interim CEO position at Alta Bates Summit, Clark was interim chief operating officer for El Camino Health in Mountain View.

Clark grew up in Chico, California. He earned an MBA in Health Organization Management from Texas Tech University and a B.S. in Finance from Brigham Young University.

Program Designed to Attract Docs to Rural Areas Receives Accreditation

Posted on May 15, 2020 in Community Benefit, Expanding Access, Scroll Images, Sutter Amador Hospital, Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, Uncategorized

The Sutter Rural Residency Program received a U.S. grant last year and this week was accredited and is ready to screen applicants. Leaders involved in the program include, from left, Dineen Greer, M.D., program director of the Sutter Family Medicine Residency Program; Sutter Amador Hospital CEO Tom Dickson; HRSA regional administrator Capt. John Moroney, M.D; Jackson Mayor Robert Stimpson; Sutter Valley Area Chief Medical Officer Ash Gokli, M.D.; former Sutter Amador CEO Anne Platt; and Robert Hartmann, M.D., longtime Amador County internal medicine physician and an instructor in the Rural Residency Program.

JACKSON, Calif. – Sutter Amador Hospital’s Rural Residency Program this week received accreditation from ACGME (Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education), the organization responsible for accrediting all graduate medical training programs for physicians in the United States. This Sutter Health program is designed to bring more primary-care physicians to rural regions, which have been hampered throughout the country by a shortage of family doctors.

The ACGME accreditation allows the Sutter Health Rural Residency Program to begin screening and selecting residency applicants. Those selected – two each year for six total in the program – will complete core inpatient training in Sacramento during the first year, with their next two years on the campus of Sutter Amador Hospital and in community medical offices.

The goal of the Sutter Health program is to develop a sustainable, accredited rural training track in Amador County and to ultimately expand the area’s rural primary-care workforce. In Amador County, there is a high need for primary-care physicians (PCPs) in the area as the ratio of the population to one PCP is 1,760-to-1; the ratio throughout the state of California is 1,280-to-1, according to the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps website.

“This is welcome news for Amador County, as it will provide an influx of bright, young physicians into our community to care for our families and should give us a steady supply of primary-care physicians for years to come,” said longtime Amador County internal medicine physician Robert Hartmann, M.D., who will be one of the instructors in the Rural Residency Program. “This is a major collaborative accomplishment between Sutter Amador Hospital, Sutter Medical Group physicians and the Sutter Family Medicine Residency Program.”

The Rural Residency Program was made possible through a grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), which allows not-for-profit Sutter Health to expand its successful Sacramento-based physician residency program to Amador County as part of the federal agency’s efforts to provide better access to quality medical care in rural areas.

Since its inception in 1995, the Sutter Family Medicine Residency Program has graduated 139 physicians, all of whom passed their Board Certification assessments on the first effort. Currently there are 21 residents in the program, and the Amador County program will expand the program to 27 residents.

“We are working to strengthen the physician pipeline throughout our integrated network so our patients receive the same high-quality care no matter where they live,” said Dineen Greer, M.D., program director of the Family Medicine Residency Program. “We have combined a strong, dedicated core faculty, community preceptors, innovative curriculum and access to Sutter hospitals so that our residents develop the skills needed to be outstanding family physicians and leaders in their communities.”

The accreditation was welcome news for the state legislators who serve the Gold Country. State Sen. Andreas Borgeas said: “The physician shortage continues to be a prevalent issue in Amador County and many rural areas of California. I offer my sincere congratulations and gratitude to Sutter Health on the program’s latest achievement, and for its targeted effort to bring much-needed family practice physicians to our community. This is a significant step to help expand access to quality care for our communities in the beautiful, remote areas of our state.”

State Assemblyman Frank Bigelow echoed Sen. Borgeas’ sentiment. “Sutter Health has long supported hospitals in more rural regions of California and they understand how family doctor shortages can have a negative impact on a community’s health,” Bigelow said. “I am so pleased they are pursuing this program and continuing their investment in bringing needed primary care physicians to Amador communities.”

Drs. Greer and Hartmann expect the program to be successful in filling the need for well-trained, community-minded primary-care physicians in Amador County and the greater Mother Lode region.

“The medical students applying for this residency opportunity will enter the program with a strong desire to serve in rural communities,” said Dr. Hartmann, “so their career focus will be the health and well-being of families in our towns and smaller cities. This is great for the future of health care in our community.”

For more on the Sutter Family Medicine Residency Program, go to www.suttermd.com/education/residency/family-medicine

Guy Fieri Serves up Meals and Thank-You’s to Hospital Staff

Posted on May 15, 2020 in Scroll Images, Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital

SANTA ROSA, Calif. – Celebrity chef Guy Fieri’s bright smile and goatee may have been tucked behind a cloth mask while serving meals to medical staff at Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital, but make no mistake, his iconic bleached-out tips, tattooed arms, and jovial attitude were on full display.

For Fieri, a wildly popular Food Network show host and a resident of Sonoma County, giving back to hospital staff boils down to one local supporting fellow locals.

Dubbed the ‘Mayor of Flavortown’, Fieri’s lunchtime menu for staff did not disappoint. Out of his camo-colored Knuckle Sandwich food truck, he served up more than 600 meals to staff, including pulled pork sandwiches, penne pasta, grilled vegetables and hearty green salads.

Due to social distancing, Fieri could not hand off each meal face to face. Rather, unit managers came out to the truck collect the food boxes and t-shirts for their staff. To make it personal, Fieri autographed and wrote ‘good job’ on each box.

Fieri made the meal donation a family affair by including his wife, two sons and Knuckle Sandwich crew.

“This is for all those in there working hard day and night,” said Fieri. “This is for them.”

Fieri continues to use his celebrity for helping during the COVID-19 pandemic. He recently teamed up with the National Restaurant Association to raise more than $23 million for struggling restaurant workers across the country.

“Pela-thon” Turns Exercise into Encouragement for Healthcare Workers

Posted on May 14, 2020 in Uncategorized

In a world turned upside-down by COVID-19, exercise can be relief for some. Palo Alto residents Christie and Jon Callaghan decided to turn their own love of Peloton into a “Pela-thon” to support the care team at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) San Carlos center and one of their favorite local restaurants Coupa Café. In mid-April the challenge was on. Riders were encouraged to pick one of two rides and light up the leaderboard to support frontline healthcare workers. The Callaghans pledged to purchase one lunch from Coupa for every rider on the board. They were riding to honor close friend and PAMF physician Erika Drazan, M.D., as well as Kelly Look, M.D., a fellow PAMF pediatrician who has cared for their four sons. But their gratitude runs deep for all frontline workers and first responders during this pandemic.

Jon and Christie Callaghan

“It was energizing and amazing to see the leaderboard light up with our local community of riders, ultimately 500 in all, sweating for a good cause,” says Christie. “We’ve made five lunch deliveries in all. Our family has been going to Coupa for years and it was special to pick-up and deliver the final lunches during a shift that Erika was working.”

Christie and Jon met Erika on spin bikes 15 years ago at a local gym that has since closed. Riders from there stayed in close contact and deeper friendships ensued. COVID-19 brought another point of intersection for Christie and Erika though. Christie’s 84-year-old father and 79-year-old mother both contracted coronavirus in the first half of March. She was only able to see them for the first time in May.

Denise Henry rode for the cause!

“During the entire time, I was checking with Erika trying to learn more about what to do for my parents, what to do as community members,” says Christie. “We saw all the preparations that Erika, and everyone at PAMF were going through, and Jon and I wanted to help.”

The idea for the ride was inspired by a similar event in New York. One of Christie’s sons attends NYU, so the family had been closely following the outbreak there. A fundraising ride for a nurse at one of the hardest hit hospitals in New York City set the idea in motion as something the Callaghans could do in California.

“The Pela-thon provided a mental break for those of us working at home, and allowed us to show our commitment to organizations we love, with a community of riders who all wanted to help,” concludes Christie. “This was a win for everyone.”

If you are interested in supporting PAMF’s COVID-19 response visit sutterhealth.org/pamf-giving.

Stroke and Heart Attack Rapid Response: Timing is Everything!

Posted on May 13, 2020 in Affiliates, Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Mills-Peninsula Health Services, Scroll Images, Uncategorized

May is National Stroke Awareness Month

If you or a loved one is experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or visit your nearest emergency room.

SAN FRANCISCO –Fear of exposure to COVID-19 shouldn’t keep you away from the emergency department – especially if you’re experiencing signs of stroke or heart attack.

Sutter emergency departments have COVID-19 precautions in place and the capacity to treat those in need. Safety measures include masking patients; keeping patients with COVID-19 symptoms away from common waiting areas, entrances and other patients; arranging for environmental service staff to perform extra cleaning and disinfecting; visitor restrictions (with a few exceptions) and requiring all staff to have their temperature taken before each shift. (Read more here.)

Each year, thousands of people come to Sutter emergency departments with stroke or heart attack symptoms.

David Tong, M.D., director of the Mills-Peninsula Medical Center Stroke Program and regional director of stroke programs for Sutter’s West Bay Region said in a recent interview with The Mercury News, that as a result of people avoiding hospitals for fear of exposure to the coronavirus, some things like CAT scans or MRIs may be easier to schedule now than they were six months ago.

Time is of the essence for treatment of strokes and heart attacks in order to forestall long-term consequences.

With Stroke, Time = Brain
“For strokes in particular, the faster you treat the patient, the better the outcome,” Tong says. “This is not the time to ignore important symptoms because you’re going to miss the opportunity for treatment. We have all appropriate emergency department and hospital protocols in place to keep patients safe.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an easy way to remember the most common signs of stroke and how to respond is with the acronym F.A.S.T.:

F = Face drooping: Ask the person to smile. Does one side droop?
A = Arm weakness: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S = Speech difficulty: Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Are the words slurred?
T = Time to call 9-1-1: If a person shows any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately. Stroke treatment can begin in the ambulance.

With Heart Attack, Time = Muscle
Experts warn “time is muscle” with heart attacks. The longer treatment is delayed, the more damage can occur to the heart muscle – and the chances for recovery decrease.

According to Brian Potts, M.D., medical director of the emergency department at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center’s Berkeley campus, the most common symptom of heart attack for men and women is pain or discomfort in the chest or in other areas of the upper body (in one or both arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach). Other symptoms include shortness of breath (with or without chest discomfort); breaking out in a cold sweat; nausea or lightheadedness.

“It’s vital to treat heart attacks as soon as possible. Our best-case scenario is a patient who comes to the emergency department as soon as symptoms begin. Many people rationalize away chest discomfort or jaw pain as a momentary digestion issue, but it’s better to be safe than sorry,” says Potts. “If you’re in so much pain or discomfort that you’re wondering, ‘should I go to the emergency department?’ the answer is probably yes.”