Joint Sutter Health and UEBT Statement Regarding Settlement

Posted on Dec 20, 2019 in Scroll Images

Today, a settlement agreement reached between the UFCW & Employers Benefit Trust (UEBT) on behalf of a class of California Self-Funded Payers, California’s Attorney General and Sutter Health was submitted for preliminary approval to the San Francisco Superior Court.

“The parties are pleased to have reached an agreement to resolve this lawsuit and believe a long and costly trial that could be tied up in the courts for years is not in anyone’s best interest. There is no admission of wrongdoing on the part of Sutter Health.”

For additional information, please see Sutter Health’s statement or visit

For media inquiries of Sutter Health, please contact: Sutter Health Media Line 1-800-428-7377

For media inquiries of UEBT, please contact:

A Hearty Milestone for Sacramento: Over 1,000 Lives Saved with TAVRs

Posted on Dec 17, 2019 in Affiliates, Cardiac, Scroll Images, Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, Uncategorized

A few months ago, 87-year-old Margie Malaspino wouldn’t have been able to play Mrs. Santa for her local Soroptimist event. She was in heart failure due to a constricted aortic heart valve, called aortic stenosis.

“I tired out too easy,” she says. “I had no energy to even walk across the house.” And, way too little energy to play Mrs. Santa for children.

But all that changed by the time Malaspino’s role as Mrs. Santa came earlier this month. She was full of life and all smiles, thanks to a minimally invasive valve replacement known as a TAVR – transcatheter aortic valve replacement – that was performed at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento. The hospital was one of the first TAVR centers in the nation, first implanting one in 2012, and in October 2019 became the first center in the Central Valley to perform 1,000 TAVR procedures. Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento has performed the most TAVRs in the greater region and is in the top five in the state, according to the TAVR’s maker, Edwards Lifesciences.

TAVR is performed without the need for open-heart surgery to replace a narrowed aortic valve. A team of interventional cardiologists and heart surgeons work side-by-side to thread a catheter containing the new valve through a vein and expanding it once it’s in place. It originally was used just in older patients – usually those in their 80s and 90s – and others who may be too weak to have an open-chest surgery. Just this year, it was approved by the FDA for standard-risk patients, too.

The TAVR team at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento has since pioneered several improvements to the TAVR procedure. Among them: In 2015 the team was the first in Sacramento and one of the first nationally to perform TAVR using conscious sedation rather than general anesthesia, providing inherent benefits to these elderly and frail patients, and in 2018 the team was the first in the Central Valley to perform an innovative catheter procedure called BASILICA followed by a TAVR, successfully preventing an often-fatal complication of a valve-in-valve replacement.

“We are so proud to be able to give people their lives back with this procedure,” said Thomas Rhodes, R.N., administrative director of cardiovascular services at Sutter Medical Center. “Margaret’s story is one of many successes that we love to hear. We have an incredible team devoted to improving our patients’ lives.”

Just two weeks after the procedure, Margie was back on the go, thanks to the team at Sutter Medical Center. Not only did she play Mrs. Santa, she is back calling bingo at least once a month and going out with her friends to dance and listen to music.

“She has a better social life than I do,” said her granddaughter, Erica. “She runs circles around her five great-grandsons.”

Margie Malaspino didn’t miss a beat as she once again played Mrs. Santa at her Soroptimist event in Jackson, Calif.

Fourteen Sutter Hospitals Honored for Reducing C-Sections

Posted on Dec 13, 2019 in Pediatric Care, Quality, Scroll Images, Uncategorized, Women's Services

Cal Hospital Compare award recognizes hospitals meeting national goal.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sutter hospitals, which have among the lowest cesarean section (C-section) rates in California, were recognized today by the California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS) for reducing cesarean births for first-time moms with low-risk pregnancies. Fourteen hospitals at the not-for-profit health care network were named to the state’s 2019 Maternity Care Honor Roll, nine of which have been recognized on this honor roll for four consecutive years. Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of CHHS, announced the honor roll recognition on behalf of Cal Hospital Compare, a performance reporting initiative informed by representatives from hospitals, purchasers, health plans, and consumer groups. The following Sutter hospitals were named to the 2019 Maternity Care Honor Roll:

  • Alta Bates Summit Medical Center – Alta Bates Campus 
  • California Pacific Medical Center – Mission Bernal Campus 
  • Eden Medical Center 
  • Memorial Medical Center 
  • Memorial Hospital Los Banos
  • Mills-Peninsula Medical Center 
  • Sutter Davis Hospital 
  • Sutter Delta Medical Center 
  • Sutter Lakeside Hospital 
  • Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center of Santa Cruz 
  • Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento 
  • Sutter Roseville Medical Center 
  • Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital 
  • Sutter Solano Medical Center

“Improving the quality of patient care in hospitals is critically important,” said CHHS Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly. “These annual measurements through Cal Hospital Compare allow us to acknowledge hospitals doing excellent work.”

When complications arise during pregnancy, C-sections can save the lives of mothers and infants, but some women undergo the surgery for no medical reason, exposing both mother and baby to potentially avoidable risks. To respond to the rise in unnecessary C-sections, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services adopted the Healthy People 2020 target of reducing nationwide C-section rates for low-risk, first-births to 23.9 percent. The Maternity Care Honor Roll acknowledges hospitals that have achieved—and in many cases gone beyond—that goal. The Sutter Health system NTSV C-section Rate for a rolling 12 months ending October 31, 2019 was 20.8 percent, well below the 23.9 national goal.

“Over the last decade, Sutter Health has developed and implemented many programs to improve the care and safety of mothers and babies through pregnancy, labor and delivery,” said Sutter Health Chief Medical Officer Stephen Lockhart, M.D., Ph.D.. “We’ve worked hard to enhance quality and safety at our hospitals to ensure we have among the lowest C-section rates in California, rates which are experienced equitably by mothers of all races and ethnicities—so it’s especially gratifying to receive recognition for leadership in this area.”

Sutter hospitals consistently outperform state and national averages for many measures of quality, and Sutter Health is committed to accurately and transparently sharing quality data with patients. The Sutter Hospital Quality Dashboard allows patients to learn more about the care provided throughout Sutter’s integrated network. In addition, patients are encouraged to talk with their doctors and nurses about any questions or specific outcomes related to their care.

Sarah Krevans Named Among ‘100 Most Influential People in Healthcare’

Posted on Dec 13, 2019 in Scroll Images, Uncategorized

In December 2019, Modern Healthcare named Sutter Health President and CEO Sarah Krevans to its list of the ‘100 Most Influential People in Healthcare 2019.’ This is the third year she has been named to the list. Previously, Krevans was also named as one of the “Top 25 Women in Healthcare” by Modern Healthcare.

The 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare awards & recognition program honors individuals in healthcare who are deemed by their peers and the senior editors of Modern Healthcare to be the most influential individuals in the industry, in terms of leadership and impact. Readers also given the opportunity to vote for their top choices and selected honorees are published in Modern Healthcare’s annual ranking published in December.

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Study Confirms Accuracy, Ease-of-Use of Personalized Healthcare Cost Estimator

Posted on Dec 13, 2019 in Research, Scroll Images

The results of a 10-month study—published online today in JAMA Network Open—indicate that Sutter Health’s new ambulatory cost estimator tool is easy to use and provides very accurate estimates.

“Healthcare cost transparency is understandably important to our patients,” said study co-author Albert Chan, M.D., M.S., FAAFP, Sutter Health vice president and chief of digital patient experience. “Providing digital tools such as our online cost estimator is another example of our continued commitment to empower our patients with responsive, personalized care.”

Sutter Health’s cost-estimator tool uses real-time data to provide patients with personalized estimates for common ambulatory healthcare services, such as office visits, lab tests or X-rays.

A user survey found the majority of respondents were satisfied with their experience using the cost estimator and would recommend it to others. Survey respondents reported that the tool was intuitive, with one respondent noting, “It’s a relief knowing in advance how much you will be spending on healthcare.”

“Consumers want more information about projected health care costs,” said study co-author Dominick L. Frosch, Ph.D., director and senior scientist at Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute (PAMFRI) and co-director of the Center for Health Systems Research (CHSR). “An accurate cost estimator helps them make informed decisions about their own care and treatment.”

According to PAMFRI and CHSR Assistant Scientists and study co-authors Cheryl D. Stults, PhD, and Jiang Li, PhD, while other health care organizations offer cost-estimator tools, Sutter Health’s is the first of its kind.

“The Sutter tool is unique in that it is integrated with our electronic health record,” Dr. Stults said. “This means it can pull information about a patient’s insurance coverage in real time from the payor and provide a snapshot of approximately what the patient can expect to pay for a service.”

Patients access the tool via Sutter Health’s online patient portal, My Health Online. It provides commercially insured, uninsured and managed care patients estimates for more than 200 ambulatory services. The JAMA report concluded that Sutter had successfully integrated the estimator tool and My Health Online to a high degree of patient satisfaction.

Novato Community Hospital Hip and Knee Replacement Program Honored for Excellence

Posted on Dec 12, 2019 in Affiliates, Quality, Scroll Images, Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa

Joint Commission Awards Highest Certification for Second Time

NOVATO, Calif. — The Total Hip and Total Knee Replacement Program at Novato Community Hospital (NCH), a member of the Sutter Health not-for-profit integrated network of care, recently earned the Joint Commission’s Advanced re-certification for Total Hip and Total Knee Replacement. This is the second time the program has achieved Advanced certification—the highest level offered by the nationally recognized accrediting body—since the program was established.

“This Advanced certification showcases our team’s commitment to excellent patient care and confirms the lengths we go to ensure the best in quality and service for patients every day,” said Shannon Thomas, Novato Community Hospital administrator.

In 2015, NCH spearheaded a community-wide effort to ensure that everyone involved in these surgeries follows a rigorous set of standards. The hospital convened anesthesiologists, surgeons, nurses, physical therapists and others to reach consensus on how best to manage post-surgery pain, get patients mobile after surgery and support patients at home. The group’s efforts paid off in 2018, when 97 percent of joint replacement patients were discharged from NCH directly to their home (instead of a skilled nursing facility), representing a 35 percent improvement over 2013.

“Our patients come from far and wide, so we had to work hard to ensure that regardless of where they come from, or go home to, they get consistent, high-quality care,” said Jennifer Lehr, director of Orthopedic Services at NCH. “We know that patients often recover faster in their own homes, as opposed to a facility, so we are very proud of this achievement.”

“We want every knee and hip replacement to be a success,” said orthopedic surgeon and program medical director Peter Callander, M.D. “We are always learning and applying what we learn in order to make that happen.”

In addition to improving the quality of care that patients receive, the group also working to make care more efficient. “We’ve developed systems to share information at all points of care, so patients don’t have to answer the same questions multiple times,” said Lehr.

This level of coordination is available even after the surgery and the patient is home thanks to NCH’s dedicated outpatient nurse case manager who helps patients through the entire rehabilitation process.

“The Joint Commission is one of the premier health care quality improvement bodies in the nation,” said Thomas. “This certification is a recognition of the work done by our entire provider community when we focused on improving pain management, quality of life, function, mobility, experience and safety for orthopedic surgery patients – and achieved amazing results. We are committed to sustaining these gains and will do so with the continued leadership of our area orthopedic surgeons.”

Mark and Mary Stevens Give $1 Million to Mental Health Programs for Adolescents

Posted on Dec 9, 2019 in Expanding Access, Scroll Images, Uncategorized

Mary and Mark Stevens

PALO ALTO, Calif.–Silicon Valley billionaire venture capitalist Mark Stevens and his wife Mary, have given Sutter’s Palo Alto Medical Foundation $1 million to advance mental health programs for youth (aged 16-24) across the South Bay. The gift underscores the importance of identifying mental health issues earlier, pointing young people and their families to services and resources that can help them sooner, ultimately benefiting health in the entire community.

“Mental health is historically an area of healthcare that has been overlooked and under resourced in the community environment,” Mark Stevens, partner at S-Cubed Capital says. “If we continue to allow mental illness to fester in our youth too long, the cost to the community and society magnify. We are excited to make resources available to combat this important issue and to partner with PAMF.”

One in four adults in the U.S. lives with a mental health condition such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or substance abuse disorder. It is estimated that 3.2 million adolescents experience at least one major depressive episode each year.

“Between 1993 and around 2005, I’d see one or two children a year exhibiting anxiety, depression, suicidal ideations or bipolar disorder,” says Bruce Block, M.D., a PAMF pediatrician in Santa Cruz. “Now I see at least one or two every day.”

Many people grapple with multiple mental health challenges at once, and left untreated these conditions can significantly impair their quality of life. Research shows that, on average, people wait eight to 10 years to pursue professional assistance.

Designing for Transitional Age Youth

Like other patient groups, transitional-age youth often struggle to access timely and appropriate care. After extensive interviews with community members, clinicians and physicians, teams across Sutter have pinpointed key opportunity areas for change. This mental health campaign will focus on three areas:

• Further integrating mental health into the primary care setting
• Developing new models for expanding caregiver capacity to pilot virtual care visits and initiating new mobile technology solutions
• Creating a new communications platform for better community support

“We have an opportunity to redesign mental health care in the primary care setting and well beyond it, and this generous gift from the Stevens family is a tremendous start,” says Shahna Rogosin, M.D., chair, department of psychiatry and behavioral health, PAMF. “This initiative will help to ensure seamless mental health care for adolescents and young adults and provide them with the timely treatment, robust tools, and comprehensive support they need to thrive.”

Mark and Mary Stevens are longtime patients and donors to PAMF, providing a foundational gift for the PAMF Community Cancer Center in Sunnyvale in 2012.

“We enjoy supporting forward leading non-profit organizations,” says Mary Stevens. “Our entire family receives health care at PAMF and they have been such a valuable resource for the community—over thinking where healthcare is going by adopting new technologies and building innovative programming like this mental health initiative.”

The Giving Pledge

Mark and Mary signed the Giving Pledge in 2013—a commitment started by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett to encourage the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate the majority of their wealth to giving back.

“It gives us great joy to see the impact of our gifts and we look forward to widening our aperture of giving in healthcare and in other initiatives that will make a difference in our community and in society in the future.”