Eight Sutter Hospital Campuses Earn Five-Star Rating from CMS

Posted on Jan 29, 2020 in Quality, Scroll Images

Ratings designed to help patients and consumers make informed choices about their care

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—Eight hospital campuses within Sutter Health’s not-for-profit integrated network today earned five stars—the highest ranking possible—from The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). An additional six hospital campuses in the network earned four stars.

“Sutter Health’s integrated network encourages doctors and hospitals to work together to ensure that patients receive care that is safe, effective and personal,” said Sutter Health Vice President of Patient Safety Bill Isenberg, M.D. “This kind of collaboration is central to Sutter’s ability to meet the high standards we set in patient experience, quality of care and safety.”

The national average among all rated hospitals is three stars. Only 11.3 percent of the 3,600 hospitals evaluated across the nation received five stars, and 31.6 percent received four stars.

“Overall, 67 percent of Sutter hospital campuses received a rating of four or five stars, with an average performance of four stars across our system,” said Dr. Isenberg. “This is a tremendous achievement that reflects our commitment to our patients, their families and the communities we serve.”

The five-star hospitals in the Sutter Health network include:

  • Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Alta Bates campus, in Berkeley, Calif.
  • Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Summit campus, in Oakland, Calif.
  • Mills-Peninsula Medical Center, in Burlingame, Calif.
  • Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital, in Auburn, Calif.
  • Sutter Davis Hospital, in Davis, Calif.
  • Sutter Roseville Medical Center, in Roseville, Calif.
  • Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital, in Santa Rosa, Calif.
  • Sutter Tracy Community Hospital, in Tracy, Calif.

The star ratings reflect a hospital’s overall performance on quality measures including mortality rates, readmission rates, safety of care, effectiveness of care and patient experience. The primary objective of the CMS star ratings project is to summarize information in a way that is useful and easy to interpret for patients and consumers.

The four-star hospitals in the Sutter Health network include:

  • Eden Medical Center, in Castro Valley, Calif.
  • Memorial Medical Center, in Modesto, Calif.
  • Novato Community Hospital, in Novato, Calif.
  • Sutter Amador, in Jackson, Calif.
  • Sutter Lakeside, in Lakeport, Calif.
  • Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, in Sacramento, Calif.

For more information on the ratings or methodology, please visit Hospital Compare.

Sutter Infectious Disease Expert: What You Need to Know about Coronavirus

Posted on Jan 22, 2020 in Safety, Scroll Images

Jeffrey Silvers, M.D., is the medical director of Infectious Disease for Sutter Health

What do people need to know about the Wuhan, China coronavirus?

Coronaviruses typically cause mild symptoms like those associated with the common cold. However, a new (or novel) strain of coronavirus, first reported in Wuhan, China, has caused some people to develop much more serious illness, including pneumonia. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is monitoring the outbreak caused by the new coronavirus. At present, this new strain of coronavirus infection is only being found in people who have recently visited Wuhan, China or who have had close contact with someone who developed the disease from exposure to it there.

Jeffrey Silvers, M.D.

What are the symptoms?

The new coronavirus infection symptoms are similar to the flu – fever, aching, and cough, with shortness of breath in more severe cases. At this time, a history of recent travel to Wuhan or close contact with someone who became sick after traveling there is also an important risk factor.

How can people protect themselves?

• Wash your hands! Practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands often with soap and water or hand sanitizer.
• Cover your cough. If you cough, cover it and avoid allowing others to cough on you.
• If you haven’t already had a flu shot, get one now—there is still time. Getting the influenza vaccine will minimize your risk of getting the flu. Flu symptoms may appear similar to a coronavirus infection and in turn cause unnecessary concern.

What should I do if I think I might have coronavirus?

• Don’t panic. The flu or another respiratory virus is still the most likely cause.
• Contact your local public health department or your doctor for advice.
• If you feel sick enough to go to an emergency department, call ahead to alert the staff that you are coming and tell them that you are concerned you might have the new coronavirus. If you decide to go to the emergency department, request a mask be brought out to you before you enter the hospital, to reduce the risk of exposing others.

How is Sutter protecting patients and caregivers?

At Sutter, our number one priority is the safety of our patients, our staff and our clinicians. We are working closely with local public health departments to coordinate efforts to properly identify and evaluate patients who may have contracted the new coronavirus. We are keeping our staff and affiliated physicians throughout our integrated network informed about the new coronavirus and associated health department and CDC guidance.

Where can I learn more?

For additional information, please visit the coronavirus-specific webpages offered by the CDC and the California Department of Public Health.

When Health Inequities Become Startling Realities

Posted on Jan 22, 2020 in Innovation, Quality, Scroll Images

Bright minds from across the world continue to examine how to overcome the challenges of health equity. A recent study in the Annals of Internal Medicine offers insight into options to better meet preventative care needs, but anyone who has researched health equity knows the issue is complex and requires teamwork.


As an integrated network, Sutter Health has been exploring ways it can help identify and address disparities, as well as develop interventions for patients. Sutter developed a Health Equity Index, which can help unlock barriers some patient groups have historically faced in healthcare–and empower other health systems to better understand and address their patient populations’ needs.

Sutter’s HEI is the first implemented health equity metric that uses real-time, health system data combined with external demographic, prevalence and use statistics to help address disparities and underlying causes. “Our work to address health equity is designed to measurably improve and optimize healthcare outcomes for all our patients while reaching beyond our facility walls,” said Stephen H. Lockhart, M.D., Ph.D., Sutter Health’s chief medical officer.

In its first internal test drive, the HEI revealed some telling truths: Sutter identified and quantified inequities in ambulatory patient care settings for conditions such as asthma and diabetes. This helped inform and create programs pinpointing some of the underlying needs of patients with asthma and diabetes in various communities.

Sutter’s HEI is gaining notice and was named a winner in the Business Intelligence Group’s 2020 BIG Innovation Awards–the only health system to do so. Sutter was also named an honoree as part of AHA’s 2019 Carolyn Boone Lewis Equity of Care Awards.

Dr. Lockhart points out, “Being an integrated network has enabled us to achieve top-level performance in quality, and we expect integration will offer the same benefits on health equity outcomes, providing useful insights for best-practice models and innovative tools – like the health equity index – that can be shared and implemented nationally.”

For more information about Sutter Health’s commitment to health equity, contact us.

Seven Sutter Medical Network Organizations Achieve IHA Top Quality Honors

Posted on Jan 17, 2020 in Quality, Scroll Images

SACRAMENTO, Calif. —Integrated Healthcare Association (IHA) has recognized seven Sutter Medical Network (SMN) organizations for reaching a high level of quality care for Medicare Advantage patients in its Align.Measure.Perform program.

Three SMN organizations achieved a 5-star rating for performance across a subset of 13 quality measures during the 2018 reporting year:
Sutter Gould Medical Foundation – Gould Medical Group
Sutter Palo Alto Medical Foundation – Mills-Peninsula Division/Mills-Peninsula Medical Group
Sutter Palo Alto Medical Foundation – Palo Alto Foundation Medical Group

Three other Sutter Medical Network organizations received 4.5-star ratings:
Central Valley Medical Group
Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation – Sutter East Bay Medical Group
Sutter Medical Foundation – Sutter Medical Group
Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation – Sutter Medical Group of the Redwoods

Nearly 200 physician organizations participate in IHA’s Medicare Advantage Measurement Program. IHA is a statewide, multi-stakeholder leadership group that promotes quality improvement, accountability and affordability in healthcare. IHA collects clinical quality data and provides it to the Office of Patient Advocate (OPA) for the Health Care Quality Report Card. OPA considers physician organizations “very good” for achieving 4.5 and 4-star ratings. To learn more, visit the OPA website.

Sutter Health is nationally recognized for its high quality care. The not-for-profit network’s employees and clinicians implement best practices throughout its integrated system, helping Sutter exceed safety standards, improve outcomes and help drive down costs. SMN consists of the Sutter medical foundations, their exclusively contracted medical groups, and contracted independent practice associations. Their collaborative work helps drive these outcomes.

Sutter Health and Lyft Collaborate to Provide Patients and Staff With Improved Transportation Options

Posted on Jan 13, 2020 in Expanding Access, Innovation, Scroll Images

Collaboration increases access to care and enhances patient/provider experience

SACRAMENTO, CALIF. AND SAN FRANCISCOLyft, the transportation network company, and the not-for-profit network Sutter Health are collaborating on an opportunity to help support patient and staff transportation needs. Starting today, Sutter hospitals and care centers around Northern California will have the option to start implementing customized, individual transportation programs — an important next step in simplifying access to care.

How clinical staff get to and from work isn’t always considered when evaluating pain points within a workflow, but it plays an important role in health care delivery. Sutter recognized this when looking for ways to better support its home health care teams, who can use their own vehicles to travel to and from patient homes. As an alternative, Lyft can arrange transportation for Sutter home health providers who support patients with needs ranging from wound care, physical therapy or nutritional support. This arrangement can help maximize a clinician’s time with each patient, while also saving wear and tear that comes with using a personal vehicle for work.

“We are reimagining the ways we provide and deliver care, which includes increasing access to services and making them more convenient,” said Chris Waugh, chief innovation officer for Sutter Health. “For some, it’s not as simple as traveling from Point A to Point B. There are numerous real-world factors in between. Our approach takes the burden away from our patients and staff, and puts them in the best position to receive the care they need or deliver the care they are trained to give.”

Sutter and Lyft were able to test several transportation scenarios through previous pilot work over the course of the past couple of years. Several examples, below, resulted in increased efficiencies, including faster, more reliable pick-ups, lower costs, and an understanding of the unique needs of a healthcare environment.

Reduced wait times: At Sutter’s California Pacific Medical Center Pacific campus, patients discharged from the emergency department were offered a ride to a location of their choice. In three months’ time, the program reduced wait times from an average of 23 minutes to three minutes.
Cost savings: The pilot achieved a cost savings of approximately 25% compared to other transportation services previously used.
Greater transportation efficiency: Ambulatory surgery center staff throughout Sutter’s Palo Alto Medical Foundation were able to more easily transport staff between care centers as compared to services previously used.

“At Lyft, we’re committed to improving access to care while also increasing operational efficiencies and driving down costs for medical providers. Sutter’s headquarters in Northern California are home to some of the greatest diversity in the nation – socioeconomic, ethnic and geographic – resulting in an incredibly unique set of transportation challenges for both patients and staff. We’re looking forward to a continued partnership that allows us to provide innovative transportation options that make an impact in urban, suburban and rural settings alike. Pilot results have already shown reduced wait times and improved rider experience,” explained Megan Callahan, VP of Healthcare at Lyft.

The diverse needs of Sutter’s patient and staff call for flexible options, and this partnership with Lyft allows different care sites to customize their rideshare services to best support their communities.

For example, in more rural areas where transportation options historically aren’t as reliable, patients can count on rides to and from chemotherapy, radiation or dialysis appointments. In cities, Sutter staff can take a Lyft ride from public transit centers to Sutter care centers as an affordable alternative to parking. This allows Sutter to positively impact social determinants of health – notably, making care more accessible through transportation and increasing opportunities for patients to get the treatment they need.

“We’re excited for how these results will interplay,” said Waugh. “We believe they can help spur fundamental change on a macro level, and also help relieve stress and create comfort for individuals on a micro level. Big or small, these shifts can help create a more meaningful experience that gives patients the opportunity to stay on track with their care plans.”

Forward-Looking Statements 

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Forward-looking statements generally relate to future events or Lyft’s future financial or operating performance as well as Lyft’s other expectations, strategies, priorities, plans or intentions. Lyft’s expectations and beliefs regarding these matters may not materialize, and actual results in future periods are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected, including those more fully described in Lyft’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), including in Lyft’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2019, filed with the SEC on November 4, 2019.

Colorful Baby Keepsake Doubles as Medical Diary

Posted on Jan 8, 2020 in California Pacific Medical Center, Pediatric Care, People, Quality, Scroll Images

“Tiny Victories of Life” beads track critically ill and premature infants’ medical journeys

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – At Sutter’s California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) Van Ness Campus hospital, Child Life Specialists help parents mark their critically ill or premature newborns’ milestones using colorful beads and charms with the “Tiny Victories of Life” program.

Just ask new mom Amanda Bates about her son Asher’s Tiny Victories strand of beads.

“Each bead that has a figure represents an achievement of that day,” says Bates, while holding a string with nearly 40 beads.

Critically ill and premature babies at CPMC spend their first weeks or months fighting to achieve crucial health markers. Child Life Specialists use the aptly-named “Tiny Victories of Life” program as visual storytelling to document and celebrate each baby’s remarkable journey.

Amanda Bates’ son Asher, who arrived six weeks early, is steadily hitting important milestones that babies in the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) are required to reach before discharge.

The program was started in 2016 by hospital Child Life director, Lori Denault, who modeled it after “Beads of Courage,” a similar national initiative that tracks patient progress using beads. (Sutter Medical Center in Sacramento participates in Beads of Courage.)

Blue beads represent individual days, while special charms represent significant or personally meaningful achievements such as a duck charm for baby’s first bath or a music note each time baby receives music therapy. Asher’s Tiny Victories strand includes a red bead to mark meeting Santa Claus because he spent his first Christmas in the hospital.

The Tiny Victories of Life program encourages parents to forge a strong bond with their newborns—which can be a challenge when a baby is very ill and must remain in the hospital for a long period of time after birth. Beads are added to the strands each week during one-on-one family sessions or at a NICU parent group meeting.

Bates Family
Kyle and Amanda Bates pose with baby Asher at Sutter’s California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) Van Ness Campus hospital.

CPMC Child Life Specialist Shannon Banahan says, “Tiny Victories is a way for parents to look forward to the progress their baby is making. Families can get overwhelmed in thinking about the long and seemingly never-ending days in the NICU. But once they look back on their beads and see how far their baby has come, it feels like there’s an end in sight and makes them hopeful and proud.”

On Asher’s discharge day, he received the final bead in his strand—the butterfly bead, which signifies he’s ready to spread his wings.

“Receiving the butterfly bead is always emotional for parents, both because they are leaving this community of nurses and new parent friends and also because they are finally being able to start this new chapter of life at home with baby,” says Banahan.

Sutter Health Plus Adds Dignity Health Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz County

Posted on Jan 8, 2020 in Affiliates, Expanding Access, Scroll Images, Sutter Health Plus

The HMO’s network expands to include Dominican Hospital as of Jan. 1, 2020

SANTA CRUZ, Calif.Sutter Health Plus, a not-for-profit HMO affiliated with Sutter Health, and Dignity Health, a healthcare provider system, announce the signing of agreements to add Dignity Health Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz to the Sutter Health Plus network effective Jan. 1, 2020.

The Sutter Health Plus network in Santa Cruz County includes Palo Alto Medical Foundation and its care centers throughout the county, Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center, and Watsonville Community Hospital.

“We’re excited to add Dominican Hospital to our network,” said Brian Fellner, Sutter Health Plus CEO. “Our members are at the center of everything we do, and Dominican Hospital will offer members who live or work in Santa Cruz more choice and increased access to high-quality, affordable care.”

As of Jan. 1, the Sutter Health Plus network includes 30 hospitals and campuses, more than 8,000 providers, hundreds of conveniently located facilities, and dozens of urgent care centers and Sutter Walk-In Care locations, including the recently opened walk-in care in Aptos. Members also have access to same-day video visits for non-urgent, everyday health needs.

Dominican Hospital has been serving the Santa Cruz County community for more than 75 years, offering advanced, comprehensive care including cardiac surgery, a cancer center, orthopedic care, robotic surgery, a birth center and level 3 NICU, and emergency services.

“Dignity Health and Sutter Health have been longtime partners providing care to Santa Cruz County residents,” said Todd Strumwasser, MD, president of Dignity Health’s Northern California Division. “As part of the Sutter Health Plus network, we’re pleased to offer increased access to the county’s full-service, nationally recognized hospital.”

Dominican Hospital is the third Dignity Health facility in the Sutter Health Plus network, joining St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Stockton and Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City.