Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sutter Health’s Sacramento Sierra Region Named One of 2014 Truven Health Analytics Top Health Systems

15 Highest Performing Hospital Systems Improve Quality, Achieve Higher Survival Rates
and Fewer Complications

SACRAMENTO, Calif., April 21, 2014 – Sutter Health’s Sacramento Sierra Region today earned recognition as one of the nation’s 15 Top Health Systems® by Truven Health Analytics. The 15 Top Health Systems study is part of the esteemed 100 Top Hospitals® program at Truven Health Analytics.

“The Truven Health 15 Top Health Systems® study is a real testament to the hard work and compassion of our physicians, nurses, clinical staff and employees,” said Regional President James Conforti. “Recognitions such as this are some of the most meaningful because they signify all the extraordinary work we put into practice that help us enhance the quality and safety of patient care.”

The study gathered data from more than 300 organizations and singled out 15 hospital systems that achieved superior clinical outcomes based on a composite score of eight measures of quality, patient perception of care, and efficiency.

Among the key findings in the Truven Health 15 Top Health Systems study were the following:

         Better Survival Rates: The winning 15 top health systems experienced 2-percent fewer deaths than non-winning peer-group hospitals.
         Lower 30-Day Mortality Rates: Winning systems’ 30-day mortality rates were lower than peer systems’, and smaller-sized winning systems outperformed their peers by the widest margin.
         Fewer Complications: Patients of the winning health systems had 3-percent fewer complications than patients in other systems.
         Shorter Hospital Stays: Patients treated in the winning system hospitals had a median average length of stay of 4.5 days, over half a day shorter than their peers’ median of 5.0 days.
         Better Patient Safety and Core Measure Adherence: The top health systems had 8-percent fewer adverse patient safety events than expected, given the case mix of the particular hospital, and had better adherence to core measures of care than their peers.

An example of Sutter Health Sacramento Sierra Region’s work to further improve the quality of care includes the early screening, identification and intervention of sepsis—a serious, and sometimes deadly bloodstream infection. Thanks to a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, improved processes were identified and implemented across the region’s Emergency Departments, ICUs and other units, which improved patient safety and saved patient lives. 

“More than 800 lives have been saved since the inception of our regional efforts,” said John Mesic, M.D., chief medical officer for Sutter Health’s Sacramento Sierra Region. “Best practices like this are shared across our entire Sutter Health network. We work together to provide high-value, quality health care that’s more personalized and human.”

“We are extremely proud of the quality work taking place inside Sutter Health’s Sacramento Sierra Region, as well as across Sutter Health, including the utilization of smartpumps for IV therapy or state-of-the art lifts to transport patients, as well as the reduction of early elective delivery of infants no sooner than 39 weeks – just to name a few,” added Gordon Hunt, M.D., chief medical officer for Sutter Health. “We are building and fortifying a culture centered on the quality and safety of our patients. It’s not just what we do; it is who we are as our network of care.”

Sutter Health’s Sacramento Sierra Region has established a respectable track record when it comes to quality and safety of patient care. Both Sutter Davis Hospital and Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento were named 100 Top Hospitals® by Truven Health Analytics five and four times, respectively. Truven also named Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento as one of the nation’s 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals twice. Additionally, Sutter Davis Hospital earned the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in 2013, the nation’s highest presidential honor for performance excellence. Sutter Health’s Sacramento Sierra Region also includes Sutter Amador Hospital in Jackson, Calif.; Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital in Auburn, Calif.; Sutter Roseville Medical Center in Roseville, Calif.; and Sutter Solano Medical Center in Vallejo, Calif.

For more information about the Truven Health 15 Top Health Systems study, its methodology, and other 100 Top Hospitals research is available at www.100tophospitals.com.

About Sutter Health
Serving patients and their families in more than 100 Northern California cities and towns, Sutter Health doctors, hospitals and other health care service providers join together and share expertise to advance health care quality, access to care and patient satisfaction. The Sutter Medical Network includes many of California’s top-performing, highest quality physician organizations, as measured annually by the Integrated Healthcare Association. Sutter-affiliated hospitals are regional leaders in cardiac care, women’s and children’s services, cancer care, orthopedics and advanced patient safety technology. For more information about the not-for-profit Sutter Health network, please visit


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Addiction: Amador County Seeing Through the Stigma

By Emma Greville

In recent years, according to the Californian Community Prevention Initiative, in 2010 36% of citizens 18 or over regularly participated in binge drinking, compared to just 30% of the rest of the population and the problem isn't going away. Addiction is often stigmatized and therefore, as HBO points out, the disease is often hidden, deterring the sufferer from seeking treatment. Addiction is an unpleasant mental health disorder, but it is not impossible to treat. There are various addiction centers throughout the United States that focus on helping individuals beat addiction. Popular addictions include smoking, alcohol, binge eating, prescription drugs, gambling, and sex.

The Causes of Addiction
Addiction results through a neurological dysfunction. “Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry,” says The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). Through this brain dysfunction, the individual is impacted on both a biological and psychological level too. The symptoms of addiction include impaired decision making, vague thoughts, and even a denial that there is a growing problem. The real issue becomes prevalent when the individual has no control over the method or substance. NAMI Amador offers a free peer-to-peer education program for people with serious mental illnesses and disorders, which include addiction. The program states: “The goal is to provide education about mental illness, emotional and practical support, independent problem solving and relapse prevention.”

The Types of Addiction
Psychological addiction: There are many useful drugs available in the market today that have no withdrawal effects, but they can create a different type of addiction—psychological. This occurs when the individual is unable to go through the day without using the drug. Without it, the individual can experience anxiety and distress.
Physical addition: Over time, the individual with the physical addiction can grow accustomed to the feelings of well-being that the product or drug delivers to the brain. In serious circumstances, this can result in overdose, as the individual requires more of the substance to get the high.

How to Treat Addiction
Every individual will experience different addictions symptom. The treatment must address the needs of the individual; therefore it may need to take into account any medical, social, psychological, and vocational problems. Some individuals may not cope well in a usual addiction-center setting, which is why a treatment must be customized. Some individuals will react well to drug treatment, while other individuals cope better with counseling or behavioral therapies. 
Drugs addicts are prone to relapse, due to the altered brain structure and its function. Any stressful experience can push the ex-addict into a state of anxiety, and recreate the desperate need to numb the pain with drugs. Treatment for addiction has determined addiction as: “The habitual compulsion to engage in a certain activity or utilize a substance, despite the potentially devastating consequences on the individual’s physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and financial well-being.”

Therapies to Treat Addiction
A popular drug-free treatment for individuals suffering with addiction is behavioral therapies. They can be accustomed for each individual, but the individual must be motivated to create that change. The popular methods include creating incentives for abstaining from the substance or behavior; generating a reward system for resisting the destructive behavior or substance, or even group therapy.

A Drug to Treat Addiction
There is a promising drug that can offer hope to millions of addicts throughout the world. New Science reported: “Mind-altering drug could offer life free of heroin”. Its name is Ibogaine and it is derived from the rainforest shrub Tabermanthe iboga. In clinical trials on Ibogaine, lower doses of this drug taken over a few weeks were shown to reduce the cravings for heroin and other substances. It's important to note, however, that Ibogaine is still illegal throughout the USA.

Addiction and Will Power
Some individuals are able to combat addiction through will power alone. However, this can leave the individual at a higher risk of relapse during a stressful episode in his or her life. Scientific American reported that star of sitcom series Two and a Half Men, Charlie Sheen freed himself of his cocaine habit by will power alone. He said: “I closed my eyes and made it so with the power of my mind”. However, experts in the field recommend abstinence from the substance or behavior through professional treatment. Research psychologist, Gene Heyman, found that some addicts recover successfully without professional help. Up to 80 percent of addicts who experienced this problem during their teenage years into their twenties, had fully eradicated the problem by their thirties.

Addiction can be a troubling time for the individuals who experience this mental disorder. However, there is help available through one of the many addiction treatment centers, plus researchers have found hope in the medicinal plant drug, Ibogaine for heroin addiction. 

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Emma Greville is a contributing writer for Amador Community News, www.NewsAmador.com.
If you would like to be a contributing writer, please email Carol Harper at: carol@newsamador.com

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Prostrate Cancer Information and Support Group Meeting - Wed Apr 8

PROSTRATE CANCER INFORMATION AND SUPPORT GROUP MEETING -
The Amador County Prostate Cancer Information and Support Group will hold its regular meeting on April 8, 2014 starting at 6:00 pm. The location is Sutter Amador Hospital in the Oakview Conference Room on the second floor
The group was formed to support men and their families and others who wish to know more about Prostate Cancer. Meetings are open to all and include men who have recovered from Prostate Cancer as well as those recently diagnosed, and those in treatment. The types of treatments range in scope from taking a watchful waiting active surveillance approach to radiation or surgery. Periodically meetings offer guest speakers, videos and updates on research.
The meetings have information regarding nutrition and prostate cancer. We encourage anyone who wants to learn more about cancer and nutrition to attend

For more information about the group and its meetings contact Jerry Trottier, 223-9133.