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November 2013
In This Issue
CHC2 Integrates Ambulatory Care and Behavioral Health
Telephone Consultation Clinic Wins Quality Leaders Award
Change Agent Fellows Celebration
West County Health Center Wins Green Building Award
Room Offers Quiet Space for Patients
Hospital Security Chief Blogs About New Welcoming Policy
Emergency Response Capabilities Tested
Art Exhibition at Martinez Health Center
How to Donate to the Food Bank
Service Excellence
Photo of the Month
Health Reform Resources
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Message from the CEO
Anna Roth portrait cropped
Anna Roth, Chief Executive Officer of CCRMC & Health Centers

Reasons for Being Thankful

As many of us prepare to spend the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday with our family and loved ones, this is a good time to reflect on what we are thankful for. As CEO of CCRMC and Health Centers, I am so thankful for the hard work and dedication of our employees. Your commitment to the organization, those we serve and to each other is extraordinary. I am deeply grateful to have such a talented group of people to work with.


I am also extremely proud of the incredible work you're doing. I am so impressed by how our staff consistently faces challenges - with poise, intelligence, ingenuity, skill and compassion. I'm not the only one who has taken notice of your tremendous work.


Joint Commission Visit

When The Joint Commission recently came for our accreditation survey, the surveyors stressed how knowledgeable, professional, confident and caring our staff was throughout their visit and during the exit interview. At the wrap-up with staff, a surveyor said, "You are all outstanding. We are thoroughly impressed...you should take great pride in your work." The surveyors pointed out that staff was responsive and enthusiastic about describing the work they do every day. They were struck by the frontline staff's ability to discuss performance data and methods used to overcome challenges they face in doing their daily work. The surveyors said this is not always the case in the facilities they visit. 


DSRIP Successes

I am excited to report on the great strides we are making with our improvement efforts associated with the state's Delivery System Reform Incentive Payments (DSRIP) program. Three years into the DSRIP program, CCRMC and Health Centers has met all the milestones required to date and we are seeing impressive results that are helping us expand access to care and enhance quality.


Earlier this month, we celebrated our progress with presentations from improvement teams representing the five DSRIP categories (infrastructure development, innovation and redesign, population-focused improvement, urgent improvement in care, and HIV transition projects). I am just blown away by the great work they're doing. These teams are helping us transform our county's care delivery system into one that is patient and family-centered, evidence-based and continually improving. And they are saving lives.


You can learn more about our DSRIP activities in our white paper on our annual progress report to the state.  This report only captures part of the incredible amount of work we have underway. I look forward to sharing more examples with you in the coming months and year.


I wish you all a safe and happy holiday.





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Innovative CHC2 Integrates Behavioral and Physical Health

CCHS Director Dr. William Walker and Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla stand at the podium during the CHC2 open house. Supervisor Karen Mitchoff and Ambulatory Care Medical Director Dr. Chris Farnitano are seated in the background. 

We celebrated the expansion of our Concord Health Center with an open house on November 18. The new Concord Health Center Building 2, also known as CHC2, as an example of health care reform at the local level. CHC2 represents an innovative effort that integrates behavioral and physical health care into one location.


The facility is the first of our health centers to integrate the two services. This change addresses the longstanding issue of how to get behavioral health services to people who need them but don't know how to seek them or whose needs aren't severe enough for emergency psychiatric services, said Dr. Chris Farnitano, CCHS Ambulatory Care Medical Director.

Kelley Taylor, ambulatory care clinic services manager, and Matthew Luu, mental health program manager

"Having integrated services helps to diagnose and treat people for both mental and physical conditions. We are creating a medical home where all their health needs can be met," Dr. Farnitano said.


A special guest speaker at the event was CHC2 patient Tim Tarman, who is able to see his primary care physician, meet with his therapist and attend group support meetings all in the same place. "I have gotten the care I need and even more critical are the people here- this is a wonderful place. My strokes were life-changing but so is the care I have received here," Tarman said.


CHC2 has nine exam rooms and is expected to serve more than 6,000 people annually. Thanks to all the CHC2 staff that made this event possible.


To learn more about CHC2, read the press release about the open house. For more pictures from the event, visit CCHS' Facebook page.  

Telephone Consultation Clinic Wins Quality Leaders Award

Service boasts a 98.5% patient satisfaction rate


The Telephone Consultation Clinic (TCC), an innovative service being delivered to patients through a partnership between Ambulatory Care and the Advice Nurse unit, has won top honor in this year's Quality Leaders Awards.


The Quality Leaders Awards, which are given by the California Association of Public Hospitals & Health Systems and the Safety Net Institute, recognize innovative and creative system improvements in California public hospitals and health systems. The award comes with a $6,000 cash prize for Contra Costa Health Services.


The TCC is part of our broader efforts to improve access to health care. It is a fast and convenient way to deliver care while saving in-person appointments for those who need them.


The way the TCC works is a patient calls into the Advice Nurse line and an on-duty registered nurse determines whether the patient is eligible for a phone consultation with a physician or family nurse practitioner. Between January and June 2013, nearly 4,000 patients were referred to the TCC. 


LVNs and support staff from the Advice Nurse unit make followup calls to patients to gauge their satisfaction with the TCC service. To date, the TCC enjoys a 98.5% patient satisfaction rate. 


About 75% of patients who are referred to the TCC have their needs met without an in-person visit. LVNs and support staff from the Advice Nurse unit schedule appointments for those require an in-person examination in a clinic. 


The TCC began as a limited pilot in late 2011 and was expanded to a seven day a week service at the beginning of this year.


The award will be formally presented during CAPH's annual conference in Napa in December. 

Change Agent Fellowship Celebration
The 2012-13 Change Agent Fellows from left to right: Erika Jenssen, Dr. Rohan Radhakrishna, Connie James, Larry Chan, Amber Owens and Irma Viquiera-Miller.

A completion ceremony was held in the hospital's main lobby on Nov. 6 to honor six staff members who recently finished the 15-month Change Agent Fellowship.


This was the third cohort to complete the fellowship program, which CCRMC & Health Centers' CEO Anna Roth started in 2009 to develop leaders from within the organization to become champions of change and improvement.


This 2012-13 fellows were an impressive and diverse group that included a medical resident, a pharmacist from one of our detention centers, and a communicable disease specialist from the Public Health Division. The six 2012-13 fellows were: 

  • Larry Chan, Pharmacist, Martinez Detention Facility
  • Connie James, Manager, Reducing Health Disparities Unit
  • Erika Jenssen, Communicable Disease Programs Chief, Public Health Division
  • Amber Owens, Licensed Vocational Nurse, Infection Prevention & Control
  • Irma Viquiera-Miller, Nurse Program Manager, Perioperative Nursing Services
  • Dr. Rohan Radhakrishna, Family Medicine Resident, CCRMC

The fellows' projects included efforts to improve medication compliance in the detention centers, better link patients to internal and community resources, lower surgical site infection rates, and reduce delays or cancellations of surgical procedures.


Olivia Stringer, Change Agent Fellowship Coordinator, praised the fellows for their passion and persistence. "They not only made changes in our processes, they transformed themselves both personally and professionally as they dedicated their work to helping others," Olivia said. 


For more information on the Change Agent Fellowship and to see a video of this year's fellows, visit cchealth.org/medicalcenter/culture

West County Health Center Wins Green Building Award
Credit: Christophe Testi
Christophe Testi / CreativeShot Photography
The West County Health Center, which opened last year, was designed and constructed to conserve water and energy.

Our West County Health Center won the Green Building Award for new construction from Sustainable Contra Costa, a local nonprofit that provides education about how to implement sustainable practices. The West County Health Center (WCHC) which opened last year, competed against new commercial and government buildings for the honor.


In addition to winning the award, WCHC received certificates of recognition from Congressman George Miller, State Senator Mark DeSaulnier, local Assembly members and members of the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors for serving as a model for all building projects in the county.


Sustainable Contra Costa recognized the LEED-certified health center for being designed and constructed in a way that greatly conserves water and energy.


For more information about the Green Building Award, visit www.sustainablecoco.org or for info on the West County Health Center, visit the WCHC webpage

New Room Offers Quiet Space for Patients

The inpatient psychiatric unit on 4C recently transformed one of its interview rooms into a new "relaxation room" for its patients. The new patient-centered room features wood-style flooring and comfortable furniture including a couch.


The room is available for many purposes, but primarily is there to provide patients in the unit with a quiet and relaxing space.  It will also provide a nice setting for family meetings and occupational therapy groups that are quiet and reflective in nature such as the unit's yoga/meditation group. 

Before and After: The old interview room (left) and the new relaxation room (right).

Hospital Security Chief Blogs About New Welcoming Policy

Lt. Jeff Moule and his team helped design and administer the new Welcoming Policy. 

Lt. Jeff Moule, head of security at CCMRC, recently wrote about the roles security has played in patient- and family-centered care at the hospital in a guest post for Safety Net Matters, the blog of America's Essential Hospitals (formerly the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems).


One role played by Lt. Moule and his staff was helping design and administer the new Welcoming Policy, which allows family members and loved ones to visit patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Lt. Moule and his team helped created a process to check in guests who come to the lobby after hours and escorting them to the floor where their loved ones are receiving treatment. As of Nov. 21, there have been more than 860 after-hours visits since the Welcoming Policy went into effect in September, according to the security unit.


"Because of the good planning and hard work by my security staff, I am proud of the fact that we have been able to accommodate our patients' loved ones without compromising the security of the hospital," Lt. Moule wrote.


To read Lt. Moule's entire blog post, click here. To learn more about the Welcoming Policy and/or to provide feedback, visit our Welcoming Policy webpage. 

Hospital and Health Centers Test Emergency Response Capabilities During Statewide Drill  
A tent for patient triage was set up outside the Emergency Department main entrance.
CCRMC and Health Centers participated in a statewide exercise to help prepare for foodborne illness outbreaks earlier this month.  As part of the three-hour drill, hospital and health centers staff practiced setting up a response to a potenital surge of patients seeking medical attention related to widespread E.coli contamination of watermelons. At CCRMC, a tent was set up outside the Emergency Department to for patient triage.  


CCRMC and Health Centers participates annually in the state med health drill along with other divisions in Contra Costa Health Services. 

Art Exhibition at Martinez Health Center 
Come meet the artists at Dec. 5 event 

If you've been to the Martinez Health Center recently, you may have noticed something new on the walls near the information desk: art.

"Nature's Beauty," a piece by Libby Strong, is one of the artworks currently on display at the Martinez Health Center. 

Photographs and mixed-media work by local artists such as Bousa Concepts and CCHS employees including Libby Strong and Wynn Esclovon will be on display through the end of January. The exhibition was organized and curated by the Art of Health and Healing, a group of our medical staff and others that promote the use of art in health care settings.


You can come meet the artists and enjoy free appetizers and music at the Martinez Health Center from 4pm - 7pm on Thursday, Dec. 5. 

Contra Costa Food Bank Offers Easy Online Options to Deliver Holiday Help

The 10th annual Food Fight is on between Contra Costa and Solano county employees. With your help, our county can win its friendly competition to deliver the most food to the Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano Counties, and it's now easier to deliver help to hungry families. Rather than drop a can in a tub, you can donate online. Every dollar donated results in two full meals, based on the buying power of the Food Bank, and allows the nonprofit to purchase perishables such as fresh vegetables.


How to Donate Online 

You can donate with your credit or debit card, or through PayPal, by visiting foodbankccs.org. When you click "donate," the site will guide you through a series of questions. Be sure to type "County Holiday Food Fight" in the box marked "Food Drive or Special Event," and also your department in the same box("CCHS/CCRMC," for example). Once you've entered your payment information, click on the drop-down menu after "I want my donation to be designated toward" and select "Contra Costa County Employee Food Fight."


The drive runs through December 31. The Food Bank serves about 149,000 people monthly.

Service Excellence Winners

Tami Rennaker, RN

Inpatient Breastfeeding Task Force

For their efforts during World Breastfeeding Week to promote and showcase the work being done to improve patients' breastfeeding experience at CCRMC, as well as the incredible dedication and commitment they demonstrate every day by providing high quality breastfeeding support to our families.


- Nominated by Francine Jolton



Paul Kwok, MD

For providing a calming and empathetic presence to our family when an emergency C-section had to be performed. For staying by our side during the process and for going above and beyond.


- Nominated by a patient



Benita Smith

Clerk - Senior Level


For actively managing external and internal referrals and going above and beyond to connect patients to the services they need.


 - Nominated by Ori Tzvieli


Photo of the Month: Staff and Their Families  Run 10K
CCRMC staff and their families pose for a photo after the 10K Lafayette Reservoir Run. Kudos to the team for tackling the hilly route. 

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 a calendar with upcoming ACA events in Contra Costa, 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