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    Sutter Health Representatives Selected to Join National Innovation Advisors Program

    Collaborative to Drive Patient Care Improvements and Cost Reduction Efforts


    SACRAMENTO, Calif., Jan. 19, 2012 - Sharon Tapper, M.D., with Sutter Health affiliate Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) and Paula Suter, director of Integrated Care Management at Sutter Care at Home (SCAH), have been selected to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Innovation Advisors Program.

    The initiative, launched by the CMS Innovation Center in October 2011, will help health professionals deepen skills that will drive improvements to patient care and reduce costs.

    Dr. Tapper and Ms. Suter are two of 73 individuals selected from 920 applications through a competitive process. The individuals selected include clinicians, allied health professionals, health administrators and others. By attending in-person meetings as well as remote sessions to expand their skills, the Advisors will be able to deepen their knowledge of health care economics and finance, population health, systems analysis, and operations research.

    “We’re looking to these Innovation Advisors to be our partners—we want them to discover and generate new ideas that will work and help us bring them to every corner of the United States,” said CMS Innovation Center Director Rick Gilfillan, M.D.

    In her current role at PAMF, Dr. Tapper is the regional director of Inpatient Palliative Care for Sutter Health’s Peninsula Coastal Region, and the medical director and creator of outpatient Palliative Care and Support Services. She brings considerable expertise to the advisory board, with experience as medical director of Hospice of Santa Cruz County (2003-2010), medical director and creator of the Palliative Care Program at Dominican CHW Hospital (2004-present), and vice chief of staff at Dominican CHW Hospital in Santa Cruz (2009-2011).

    In her position at SCAH, Ms. Suter designs, implements, and evaluates person-centered healthcare delivery programs to meet the needs of patients with chronic conditions. She is a national speaker presenting topics related to best practices in chronic care management and has authored numerous articles for reference journals related to the care of individuals with chronic disease. She co-developed the Home-Based Chronic Care Model™, combining her clinical and academic experience to create innovative healthcare solutions.

    Among other duties, Advisors will be expected to support the Innovation Center in testing new models of care delivery, to form partnerships with local organizations to drive delivery system reform, and to improve their own health systems so their communities will have better health and better care at a lower cost.
    Funding for this initiative was made possible by the Affordable Care Act. PAMF and SCAH will each receive a stipend of $20,000 to support Dr. Tapper’s and Ms. Suter’s service as Advisors.

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    Serving patients and their families in more than 100 Northern California cities and towns, Sutter Health doctors, not-for-profit hospitals and other health care service providers share resources and expertise to advance health care quality and access. 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.

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