Efficient Care and Service
Across our network in 2013, we strengthened our pledge to provide high-value health care efficiently and affordably. Working as one unified team, our caregivers partnered in countless ways to better coordinate care for our patients—smoothing transitions from one care center to another, standardizing treatments and developing effective ways to reduce costs while improving quality.
Hospitals deliver highly coordinated care
Sutter Health doctors, hospitals and other caregivers partner to care for patients. This integrated approach helps ensure continuity in a patient’s access to treatment, while reducing costs and improving quality. A seriously ill Antioch woman, for example, experienced our coordinated care firsthand, receiving a highly orchestrated range of services at three Sutter-affiliated hospitals. The efforts of emergency room doctors, surgeons, neurologists, hospitalists, social workers and physical therapists, working together, helped save her life.
Screenings encourage effective antibiotic use
Committed to keeping our youngest patients healthy, doctors across our network implemented new strep throat screening measures to encourage more effective prescribing of antibiotics for children. Although powerful against strep throat—a bacterial infection—antibiotics have little effect on sore throats caused by viral infections. Overuse of antibiotics or using them for the wrong illness can make a child sicker over the long term. By the end of 2013, our doctors had screened more than 85 percent of our patients ages 2 to 18 for strep throat before prescribing antibiotics—leading to more efficient, cost-effective and safer treatments.
Pilot aims to raise quality, reduce costs
In 2013, patients who visited Sutter-affiliated Novato Community Hospital for hip- or knee-replacement surgery experienced their care in an innovative new way. Building on Sutter Health’s broader commitment to coordinated medical care, the hospital in January became one of the first five providers statewide to participate in a three-year pilot program through the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Under the program, participating hospitals, physicians and ancillary caregivers involved in a patient’s care collaborate closely with each other across their specialties—from the moment the patient arrives for surgery through the crucial recovery period after hospital discharge. Providers receive Medicare reimbursements in a bundled-payment arrangement that emphasizes financial accountability and quality of care.
Streamlining business leads to lowered costs
In 2013, Sutter Health opened our Shared Service Center in Roseville, which brings together multiple business service departments under one roof and houses more than 1,100 employees. The move reflects our larger consolidation and standardization efforts to reduce the costs of health care so more patients in our Northern California communities can have access to care. From 2012 to 2013, we achieved more than $92 million in cost savings and captured revenue, and by 2017 we expect to save $300 million annually.
“When patients call to ask questions about their bill, we get unsolicited comments about our customer service reps and how helpful they are in resolving issues.”
Sutter Shared Services
Generic drug program helps patients save
Doctors across our network work with patients and their insurance plans to help them save at the pharmacy. Whenever possible, doctors prescribe generic rather than name-brand drugs to treat common conditions such as asthma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, depression and osteoarthritis. In 2013 alone, Sutter Health’s generic-prescribing efforts saved $4.8 million for health plans—a total of $54.4 million since 2008. Patients also benefit, receiving effective medications and lower out-of-pocket costs, which may help them follow treatment plans and better manage their health.