Sutter Health Restructures with Emphasis on Patient Experience, Innovation
Physician and nurse leaders key to operational changes and improved patient care
SACRAMENTO, Calif., Oct. 23, 2014―Sutter Health today announced an innovative patient-centric reorganization of its system structure, elevating physician and nurse leaders to new senior-level roles and placing increased focus on improving the patient experience across Sutter’s not-for-profit network of physician organizations, hospitals and home health operations.
Key elements of the new organization design include a two-division operating structure and the creation of an office of innovation designed to speed development and adoption of new approaches to patient care.
“Last year we asked more than 2,000 managers from around our Sutter Health network what one thing would enable us to remain strong and stable in today’s fast-changing highly competitive world of health care,” said Sutter Health President and CEO Pat Fry. “Our leaders agreed that we must deliver a consistent best-in-class patient experience. With our not-for-profit mission, vision and values as a foundation, we re-imagined our structure to empower employees, leaders and doctors to deliver a consistent, personalized experience to patients and families, no matter where they interact with Sutter Health.”
In January 2015, Don Wreden, M.D.,chief medical group transformation officer for Sutter Health, will become senior vice president for patient experience. Dr. Wreden served for more than a decade as president and CEO of Sutter Medical Group in Sacramento. In his new position, he will serve as the clinical partner of Sutter Health Chief Operating Officer Sarah Krevans, formalizing one of many clinical and administrative partnerships (also known as dyads) that are central to the new organization structure.
Also in January, Stephen Lockhart, M.D., Ph.D., chief medical officer for Sutter Health’s East Bay Region, will become the network’s chief medical officer with responsibility for quality, safety and clinical standards across the care continuum. Dr. Lockhart, a board-certified anesthesiologist, previously served as chief administrative officer at the St Luke’s campus of California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) in San Francisco and as CPMC’s medical administrative director of surgical services. Dr. Lockhart will serve as the clinical partner of a new Sutter Health chief nursing officer, who will be named later.
Sutter Health’s operations, which Krevans oversees, will shift in April 2015 from a five-region structure to a two-division model—the Bay Area and the Valley.
“This new alignment of patient care operations reflects how consumers travel and access health care, how physicians practice and how health plans and employers purchase health care services,” Krevans said.
Sutter affiliates currently organized within the Sacramento Sierra and Central Valley Regions will become part of the new Valley Division. Those within Sutter’s current West Bay, East Bay and Peninsula Coastal Regions will form the new Bay Area Division.
Jeff Gerard, president of the Peninsula Coastal Region for the past six years, will lead the new Bay Area Division as president. Gerard earlier served as chief operating officer for Mills-Peninsula Health Services and as chief financial officer for the Peninsula Coastal Region.
James Conforti, president of the Sacramento Sierra Region, will oversee the new Valley Division as president. Previously, Conforti served as CEO of Memorial Medical Center in Modesto, CEO of Sutter Gould Medical Foundation in the Central Valley and CEO of Sutter Medical Foundation operations in Yuba City.
As part of the reorganization, Sutter Health will also place greater emphasis on process discipline and “Lean” performance management in launching new patient care and operating initiatives around the network. Accordingly, Linda Khachadourian, a leader in Sutter Health’s strategy and business development department for the past 25 years, will assume the new position of chief enterprise transformation officer in January.
Medical and Market Networks
Through a new Medical and Market Networks function—unique among health care systems—Sutter Health will align its externally facing products, services and networks for key institutional customers, including employers, insurance brokers and health plans.
Sutter Health’s Sutter Health Plus health plan, Sutter Select self-insured health coverage product, and wellness and health management services will fall under this function.Jeff Burnich, M.D., senior vice president and executive officer of the Sutter Medical Network since 2007, will assume the role of senior vice president of Medical and Market Networks in January.
Sutter Health’s reorganization will incorporate other features, including a greater focus on innovation to allow better development and dissemination of promising ideas that benefit patients—within Sutter Health and elsewhere.
Sutter Health’s reorganization was informed, in part, by recommendations from a diverse “design team” of administrative and clinical leaders from various parts of the network.