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top_of_pageJanuary 2014
In This Issue
myccLink Pilot Underway
CCRMC Providers Now Can Access Patients' Kaiser Records
Hold Times for Appointments Keep Dropping
New Evening Dental Clinics
System for Patient Safety Reporting and Response Analyzed
Flu Season is Here - Get Vaccinated
Meet the New Mental Health Program Manager
Updating Your Contact Info on iSITE
Service Excellence
Health Reform Resources
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Anna Roth portrait cropped
Anna Roth, Chief Executive Officer of CCRMC & Health Centers

Welcoming a New Year

This new year brings a long-awaited era of affordable health coverage and care for families across America.  You can all be proud of the important role you play in making this a reality here at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center and Health Centers (CCRMC & HCs).


As our community's health system, we will continue to ensure the smooth implementation of health reform (Affordable Care Act). Our goal is to provide the highest quality care that is coordinated and integrated, and allows for earlier intervention, fewer avoidable emergency department visits and hospital stays, and, ultimately, a healthier population while containing costs across our system and our community.


We continue to expand access to health care and enhance quality through our Delivery System Reform Incentive Payments program, also known as DSRIP. The improvements we are implementing as part of this plan are seen as key concepts of health reform. This critical effort builds on the extensive and innovative work that is well underway at CCRMC & HCs and contributes to important knowledge for our country.  Our investment in innovative care models and technology, along with the many improvement efforts underway, have helped us become more able than ever to provide care on a larger scale, and doing so in better ways than we ever thought possible.  


There is still more work to be done, but we should not forget how much we have accomplished this past year. In 2013, we made great strides in safety and quality, the refinement of our electronic health record, ccLink, and increasing access to health care for our community.  We expanded our Telephone Consultation Clinic (TCC) and we replaced the outdated concept of visiting hours with a Welcoming Policy at our hospital. We also were honored as a Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality.


Our Ambulatory Care Redesign teams continue with their work on creating medical homes. We opened the Concord Health Center 2, a model for providing integrated primary and behavioral health care, and also incorporated primary care into the Adult Mental Health Clinic in Concord. Within the next few months, we'll celebrate the opening of our new Martinez Wellness Center on the CCRMC campus. 


This past year has been dedicated to planning for the future, and in the coming weeks, we will be seeking input for the CCRMC & HCs five-year strategic plan. This plan will incorporate your feedback with recommendations from the 2010 Sustainability Study and the DSRIP.  


I could not be more thankful for the privilege of working with such a dedicated and caring community of professionals and partners. Your commitment and partnership are making a difference every day in our community.  


Together, let us welcome a new year and the many opportunities ahead.






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Patients and Providers Piloting New Online Portal 
Online access to medical record info for patients expected in 2014 

A pilot group of CCRMC & Health Centers providers are inviting their patients to sign up for and test "myccLink," our new online portal that allows patients to send non-urgent messages to their primary care teams, request refills, and see most lab results.


With myccLink, patients can access portions of their medical records on the Internet through ccLink, our Epic electronic health record system. myccLink is similar to patient portals used by other health systems, and the new web-based tool is expected to enhance patient engagement. Eight doctors are participating in the myccLink pilot and only patients of those providers are currently able to start an account.


The myccLink team, led by Chief Medical Informatics Officer Dr. Rajiv Pramanik, has been holding frequent teleconferences with providers and health centers to touch base about the progress of the pilot, which began in October. Dr. Pramanik and his team have also been visiting clinics in person to get feedback from staff. So far, the myccLink team has visited our health centers Brentwood, Pittsburg, Concord and Martinez. They are scheduled to visit the West County Health Center on Jan. 13 from 9 a.m. to noon and the North Richmond Center for Health on Jan. 15 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.


The pilot will continue into the early spring. At the end of the pilot, we will survey users to get their comments and suggestions for improvements. We expect to make myccLink available to all our patients this summer. 


CCRMC & Health Centers is testing and implementing myccLink in collaboration with Contra Costa Health Plan and Information Technology. 


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CCRMC Providers Now Can Access Patients' Kaiser Records 
As of last month, CCRMC and Health Centers providers can now access electronic health records for their patients who were previously seen at Kaiser Northern California facilities.


We are able to access these records through the "Care Everywhere" network developed by Epic, the firm that built ccLink, our electronic health record system. Under Care Everywhere, different health systems that use Epic software--including Kaiser Northern California--can share patient medical information. CCRMC & Health Centers is also able to share information with other local healthcare providers such as Sutter Delta and UCSF through Care Everywhere.


Dr. Rajiv Pramanik, Chief Medical Informatics Officer, said the ability to access patient information from Kaiser and other health systems will enhance how we care for our patients. 
Hold Times to Make Appointments Continue to Drop 

Average wait times down to one minute for most of December

Nearly a year after we redesigned our appointment system, hold times to reach a representative to schedule appointments are way down and ongoing work continues to improve the appointment process. 


The system was revamped in February 2013 to expand the number of appointments available by phone by reducing the number of long-term appointments being made in the clinics following a visit. At the time, the average amount of time patients spent on hold when calling the Appointment Unit hovered around 11 minutes. In October, average hold times had dropped to 2 minutes. In December, the average wait time for most weeks dipped down to our target goal of one minute or less.


Click on the image to see a larger version of the chart.

Ambulatory Care Medical Director Dr. Chris Farnitano said the shorter hold times are a good example of how CCRMC and Health Centers is improving access to care. Dr. Farnitano noted there's more work that needs to be done and efforts are underway to improve the appointment process overall. Some people still get stuck on hold for an extended time, although the longest hold times are usually about a third of what they once were, Dr. Farnitano said.


To get regular updates on average hold times and other data, visit iSITE>Reports>CCHS Dashboard>Ambulatory Care. 


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New Evening Dental Clinics for Emergency Care in Martinez and Pittsburg 
Dr. Nick Cavallaro is the dentist on duty at the new evening dental clinic in Martinez.
Patients in need of emergency dental work now have more options for quick service, thanks to new evening dental clinics offered by Ambulatory Care. Patients can make appointments at our Martinez and Pittsburg clinics from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesdays, either on their own or through the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center's emergency department. 

Dr. Chiyo Shidara, who developed the program with support from Ambulatory Care Medical Director Chris Farnitano, reports that the evening clinics have proven popular since their October inception. The clinics should also help accommodate more patients in 2014 due to the adult Denti-Cal expansion. 

"Our ambulatory teams, including our clerks, LVNs and dental providers, made this service happen in a very short term. I am so grateful to all," Dr. Shidara said.

Improvement Team Analyzes System for Patient Safety Reporting and Response

The patient safety improvement team.
A large multidisciplinary team will share its recommendations for improving our patient-safety system for reporting and response next month after it completes a four-day rapid improvement workshop. This is the system we have in place to determine the underlying reasons for why serious patient safety events, also known as sentinel events, occur and how we can prevent them from happening in the future.


The rapid improvement workshop will build on the team's earlier work identifying areas for improvement. The team found that, among other things, the current system for reporting and responding to safety events can be streamlined. The team also found the system needs standardization and the RCA process and learnings can be better communicated to staff, patients and families.


The team is scheduled to present its report out on Feb. 28 at the following locations and times: 7:30 a.m. at West County Health Center;  10 a.m. in the main CCRMC lobby; 12:15 p.m. at Pittsburg Health Center. Meanwhile, there will be a separate value stream report out regarding the Appointment Unit on Friday, Jan. 17 at the same times and locations. 
Flu Season is Here - Get Vaccinated

It has been a busy flu season. The H1N1 virus is the most common flu virus this season, and the available flu vaccine provides protection from up to four flu strains, including H1N1. Getting vaccinated is the most effective way to help prevent the flu and protect yourself, your family, patients and the community. There is still time to get a flu vaccine and we urge everyone to get vaccinated.


CCRMC & HCs employees can arrange to get their flu vaccine by contacting Candy Jacobus in Infection Control at (925) 370-5200 ext. 4499 


For Information on community options to get vaccinated, visit: cchealth.org/flu/vaccination.php 


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Meet the New Mental Health Program Manager
Candace Kunz-Tao

Candace Kunz-Tao has been named the acting mental health program manager supervising clinicians in Psychiatric Emergency Services and Inpatient Psychiatry.


For Candace, who began her Contra Costa career in Psychiatric Emergency Services in 1991, she will have arrived full circle. She has held a variety of positions for Health Services and has a rich background in forensic mental health, case management, and psychotherapeutic interventions with a diverse array of individuals.


For the past three years, she has served as a program supervisor for Detention Mental Health and Behavioral Health Court. At this time, Candace will continue her supervisory responsibilities for Detention Mental Health and Behavioral Health Court with a special emphasis in creating a system of care for those individuals in crisis, regardless of where they are seen for treatment.


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Updating Your Contact Information on iSITE

One of the more popular features on iSITE is looking up contact information for other CCHS employees. But the people-finding feature isn't helpful if someone has outdated contact information.


Fortunately, updating you phone numbers and other contact info is easy. Just go to the homepage of iSITE and hover your cursor over the "My Profile" tab near the top of the page and select "Edit Profile" (see photo to the right). From there, you can update your phone number, work address, personal bio and even replace that ancient photo that Personnel took of you 20 years ago.


Click here to read a more detailed explanation of how to update your contact information on iSITE. 


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Service Excellence Winners

Fernando Garcia

Nursing Shift Coordinator


For his amazing professionalism and compassionate response to the needs of a hospice patient and for always going the extra mile for each and every patient and staff member.


 - Nominated  by Anna Roth



Joanna Fon

Medical Staff Coordinator


For working long and diligently over the past several years to keep credentials current.


 - Nominated  by Steele Colby



Rose Dela Cruz

Charge Nurse


For her listening skills, honesty, patience, fairness and follow through with staff and patients. 


 - Nominated  by Deann Bologna



Billy Jo Wright

Laboratory Technician II


For her superior skills and compassionate singing while doing a blood draw on my one-year-old grandson who didn't even cry. 


 - Nominated  by a patient's grandparent



Karen Glover

Clerical Supervisor


For being a pleasure to work with, and for her leadership at the West County Health Center.


 - Nominated  by Lorene Francois



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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) 313-6636 

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