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September 2013
In This Issue
Asthma Class at West County Health Center
HAPU Rates Lower Than Ever
Residency Program Partners With UCSF
Infant Abduction Drill
Meet the Director of Safety and Performance Improvement
Sister Moira Moves On
Scenes from the 8th Annual Health Care Workers as Creators
Health Reform Resources
Send Us Story Ideas
Free Flu Shots for CCRMC & Health Centers Staff
Get vaccinated to protect yourself and your patients. 
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Message from the CEO
Anna Roth portrait cropped
Anna Roth, Chief Executive Officer of CCRMC & Health Centers

Moving Forward

The summer was a busy one with our ongoing strategic planning as we gear up for full implementation of Health Care Reform.


This process has brought together leadership, staff, labor, patients and partners, and we are making progress. We held our second strategic planning session at the end of August to hear back from the four design teams created following our May planning session. Those teams include the Purpose Team, whose task is to establish and communicate the purpose of the organization; the Linkage Map Team, which looked at how CCRMC and Health Centers fits into our system and the larger community; the Whole System Measures Team, which created measures that reflect a health system's overall performance in quality and value over time and is working on a dashboard to share the information; and the Voice of the Patient/Telling our Story Team whose purpose is to communicate our mission.


We are pulling this all together into a draft strategic plan. The next steps will be to review the plan and get feedback with an expected release of the final product by January 2014. We will be reaching out to staff, patients and family members, and our community as a whole in a variety of ways, including our website, so please stay tuned. Taking this conversation to the employees and the community will be a shared effort. Our goal is to get input from everyone and to fill in gaps that we may not see, but others will.


This is challenging but necessary work, and we must remain focused. Health Care Reform means new rules, and we, like other delivery systems, must evolve to adapt to this changing environment. This year has been a critical planning period, and we are taking a hard and long look at the role we play and our purpose as it relates to the community and region.  It is an exciting time with all of the improvements we are undergoing as a system and a country, as history is made with enrollment starting tomorrow in the state health insurance exchange, Covered California (see our website for helpful information).


Welcoming Policy

As I mentioned last month in my message, we are eliminating the concept of "visitors" in our medical center and health delivery system. We launched our new Welcoming Policy on September 17 and Contra Costa Regional Medical Center is now accessible 24 hours a day to family and loved ones of those receiving care at CCRMC. Recognizing that family and loved-one presence supports safe and high quality care, we have worked over the last year to replace our "Visitor Policy." We no longer have visiting hours, though we do maintain hours designated as "quiet time" to promote a restful healing environment for our patients.


Though we have carefully planned the introduction of this change, we know this is an ongoing process and staff is working hard on the many pieces of implementing this new policy. Thank you to all the staff at CCRMC and Health Centers, Health Services, and the Sheriff's Office for their efforts to make possible this shift in culture that reflects our commitment to working with patients and family partners to provide the care that those we serve want and deserve.


Our working drafts are on our website  and I encourage you to send your feedback via the comment feature, or you can provide comments and suggestions for improvements to your supervisors. For more information on the policy and our efforts, please also see my blog


More very soon,





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Free Flu Shots for CCRMC & Health Centers Staffflu_shot

Health care workers required to get annual flu shots can get vaccinated for free

CCRMC & Health Centers employees who are mandated to get their annual flu immunizations will be offered free vaccinations before the beginning of the upcoming flu season.


CCRMC & Health Centers employees, contract workers and volunteers will be able get their free flu immunizations beginning on Sept. 30. Look for posters in your work areas, visit iSITE, or click here to see the schedule. 


Nasal spray vaccine is available for health care workers who meet health and age requirements. Pregnant health care workers are provided vaccines without thimerosal (preservative). Thimerosal-free flu vaccine is available to other employees by specific request. After Nov. 1, egg-free flu vaccine will be available for those who are severely allergic to eggs. 

CCHS Director Dr. William Walker receives his annual flu shot in 2012.

 As he did last year, CCHS Director Dr. William Walker, the county health officer, is requiring health care workers in Contra Costa who have contact with patients in licensed health care facilities to either get a flu vaccine or wear a mask in patient-care areas during the flu season this year. (Read Influenza Vaccination and Masking Order FAQs.) 


For more information, contact Kathy Ferris, Manager of the Infection Prevention and Control Program, at kathy.ferris@hsd.cccounty.us or (925) 370-5089

New Free Asthma-Management Class at West County Health Center Open to All 
Those who attend the class will receive free lung screenings to assess their breathing levels. (File Photo) 
In an effort to reduce trips to the emergency room and improve residents' health, the West County Health Center is now hosting free weekly asthma-management classes and plans to launch a special asthma clinic next month.


The classes are taught by respiratory therapists who will inform people how to recognize warning signs, manage their symptoms and properly use medications. Those attending the classes will receive free lung screenings to assess their breathing levels. The 90-minute classes are open to everyone in the community.


"While we can't cure asthma, we can teach people about their condition so they can avoid attacks, which can be frightening, and enjoy a higher quality of life," said Janyth Bolden, director of cardiopulmonary support services.


CCRMC & Health Centers' patients who attend the classes can receive referrals to a specialized asthma treatment clinic if their symptoms are out of control and need to be stabilized. The treatment clinic, which is expected to open in October, will run concurrently with the asthma classes.


The asthma class starts at 5 p.m. every Monday. The current class is aimed at adult asthmatics, but future classes will cater to teens and children under 12.


For more information about the class and clinic, email Janyth Bolden at janyth.bolden@hsd.cccounty.us

HAPU Rates at CCRMC Continue to Decline 

There are fewer hospital-acquired pressure ulcers (HAPUs) at CCRMC than ever before, thanks to the hard work of the multidisciplinary HAPU Prevention Team and frontline staff. 


In August 2013, the rate for patients with category II or higher HAPUs was 1.23%, according to data we are submitting to the state for the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payments (DSRIP) program. That's compared to CCRMC's baseline rate of 3.2% established between Oct. 2009 and Sept. 2010 for external reporting purposes. The August rate puts CCRMC in a good position to easily exceed its DSRIP goal of reducing the HAPU rate below 2% by June 30, 2014. 


The HAPU Prevention Team

As The Update reported in May, CCRMC has achieved success reducing its HAPU rate by, in part, providing additional training to staff on wound assessment and implementing the "4 Eye Skin Assessment" in which two registered nurses assess a patient's skin from head to toe to detect any sign of skin breakdown. Inpatient Nursing Director Jeanette Black credited the HAPU Team's success to the great work of frontline staff, which includes  "HAPU Champions" who helped implement the 4 Eye Skin Assessment. 

Residency Affiliation with UC San Francisco Formalized

Our Family Medicine Residency Program has finalized its formal partnership with UC San Francisco Medical Center's Department of Family & Community Medicine, an arrangement that cements a long-standing relationship between two institutions that train new doctors. The agreement is a natural next step for CCRMC that expands opportunities both for UCSF faculty and students as well as our staff, said Dr. Kristin Moeller, director of the residency program.

"The realization of this agreement is thanks in large part to the hard work and sustained interest of our physicians, nursing staff and administration," Dr. Moeller said.

CCRMC physicians have participated in UCSF workshops and other training events for years. The university, meanwhile, has leaned on our residency program to expose its students to the CCRMC philosophy of family medicine, commitment to high-quality primary and ambulatory care, and service to the underserved. We have also joined with UCSF in community-based research. Four of the 14 new residents who joined our program this summer came from the university's medical school.

The formal agreement, reached in September, allows existing relationships to grow, guarantees space for CCRMC staff at university faculty development workshops, and could eventually lead to more teaching opportunities for staff.

CCRMC Staff Responds with Life-Saving Speed in Infant Abduction Drill

Hospital staff stopped a faux infant abductor within two minutes of an alarm during an infant abduction drill last month to test our training and planning for preventing real-life tragedies at CCRMC.

A role player removed a doll with an electronic monitoring device from the fifth-floor perinatal unit, prompting the hospital to initiate a "Code Pink" alert over the public address system. During a potential abduction, staff is trained to keep an eye out for suspicious people or behavior, and some staff members are responsible for reporting to
specific areas to potentially head off the suspect.

All parties performed as expected during the Aug. 28 drill, said CCRMC Safety & Disaster Preparedness Coordinator Jill Honeyman, and the "suspect" was stopped in a stairwell before reaching an exit-level floor. "We want to acknowledge the staff for their quick response. They obviously took this emergency drill very seriously," Jill said. "They knew their roles, and they did a good job of dropping everything to perform them."

The hospital regularly trains and drills to ensure a safe and swift response to any emergency.
Meet the Director of Safety and Performance Improvement
Kathy Johnson
Kathy Johnson has accepted the position of Director of Safety and Performance Improvement for CCRMC and Health Centers. Kathy brings a rich background of experience and knowledge with her. During the early years of her career at Contra Costa County, Kathy worked in various units of then-Merrithew Memorial Hospital, including medical/surgical, acute psychiatric, and perinatal. 


She went on to work in other health systems in the Bay Area but returned to Contra Costa in 2000 order to fulfill her goal of providing outstanding service to the community. She returned to be a nurse educator and then moved on to the Safety and Performance Improvement Department in 2007 to provide support to the Surgery and Anesthesiology Departments. Kathy holds a master's degree in nursing from Sonoma State University.


Outside of her busy work life, Kathy likes to spend time in her garden and go backpacking and biking with her husband. 

Sister Moira Moves On 
Sister Moira

After 18 years of serving the spiritual needs of patients at CCRMC, Sister Moira MacPherson has left to begin a new assignment ministering elderly sisters at the Saint Martin's Care Center at Mission San Jose in Fremont.


Sister Moira, CCRMC's Catholic spiritual care leader, took her clinical pastoral education class at the hospital when it was named Merrithew Memorial. In a note to her CCRMC colleagues before she left, Sister Moira said, "Sharing ministry with each of you here has been a most fulfilling and wonderful experience."  We thank Sister Moira for her service.

Scenes from the 8th Annual Health Care Workers as Creators Event
Clockwise: The Rhythm Method performs at twilight in the Redwood Grove; medical staff enjoy the show; a dancer pops for the crowd

The eighth annual Health Care Workers as Creators event enjoyed success in its new venue: the Redwood Grove on the CCRMC campus. The event featured paintings, photos, mixed-media sculptures, dancing and live music. The event was sponsored by the Art of Health and Healing (formerly Healing Through the Arts), a group of medical staff and others that promotes activities and programs designed to foster creativity, improve patient satisfaction, and create a better healing environment.  
Visit Contra Costa Health Services' Facebook page to see more photos from the 2013 Health Care Workers as Creators. 
Health Reform Resources on cchealth.org
As the county health system, we are committed to ensuring the residents of Contra Costa are informed about what the Affordable Care Act (ACA) offers. The ACA, also known as Health Care Reform or Obamacare, means more people will have access to affordable health insurance.

For more information and links to helpful resources like Covered California, please visit our website: cchealth.org/aca/
Send Us Your Story Ideas contact
Let us know about upcoming events and important happenings going on at the Regional Medical Center or the health centers. 

Click here to contact us or contact Kate Fowlie at: 
(925) 370-5224