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November 2014
In This Issue
Meet the Ebola Task Force and PPE Trainers
New 'Nocturnists' Allow for Immediate Inpatient Attendings
Annual DSRIP Progress Report
New After-Hours Electronic Check-In System at CCRMC
Regulatory Change for Popular Painkiller
Video Highlights Partnership with Health Leads
myccLink Going Mobile on Dec. 1
Now Hiring: Chief Medical Officer
Guest Column: Tackle Ebola with Compassion and Facts, Not Fear
Service Excellence Winners
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Unvaccinated health care workers must wear masks in patient-care areas during flu season. 
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Message from the CEOback_to_top
Anna Roth portrait cropped
Anna Roth, Chief Executive Officer of CCRMC & Health Centers

Many Things to be Thankful for this Year

As we approach the holiday season and the end of the year, I find myself reflecting on what I am thankful for. As always, I am so thankful for all of you. You pour your hearts into caring for those we serve.


I am thankful for our Ebola Task Force team and trainers (you can read more about them in this newsletter). October and November have beevery busy months as we, along with hospitals throughout the country, ramped up efforts to prepare our system in the event someone gets sick with Ebola in Contra Costa County. Though there havbeen no reported cases in California,anthe risk remains low here, hospitals anhealth systems like ours will still play a critical role. Because of you, we have accomplished much in a short amount of time.


I am thankful that we are paroaintegratehealth system. We have been fortunatto be able to work closely with the Public Health and EmergencMedical Services (EMS) divisions thelp coordinate Ebolpreparedness and response efforts. Public Health's regular monitoring of travelers from the affected African countries will greatly reduce the likelihood of anyone with Ebola from unexpectedly presenting at our hospital or any healthcare facility in the county.


Our Ebola preparation efforts will need to continue so that, in the rare event an Ebola case is identified here, an ill person is quickly identified and treated so we can stop the disease from spreading. The threat of Ebola continues as long as the outbreak continues in West Africa.


I am thankful for all the other important work you do. In addition to Ebola preparedness efforts, we continue work in ambulatory care improvement, our Delivery System Reform Incentive Payments (DSRIP) program and more. A sample of that work -- from our latest DSRIP improvement efforts to our new partnership with Health Leads USA -- is in this newsletter. I hope you take a moment to read about the great things our colleagues and community partners are doing.


And most of all, I am thankful for the big and little things you do every day -- helping patients get appointments, providing comfort to people in times of health crisis, ensuring those we serve have a clean, comfortable environment, and delivering excellent and compassionate care.


Enjoy a safe and happy Thanksgiving!





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Meet the Ebola Task Force and PPE Trainersebola_ppe

Our Ebola preparation efforts wouldn't have been possible without the hard work and dedication of our staff. In particular, it's important to recognize the efforts of the Ebola Task Force and our trainers.


The Ebola Task Force, a multidisciplinary group led by our infection-control experts, has been meeting regularly to ensure staff has the most updated training and guidance possible to protect employees and patients.


Our training group, which includes nurses and Education & Training Specialists, has trained hundreds of employees on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). They recently began leading the second phase of PPE training with powered air purifying respirators (PAPRs) for ICU and ICMU staff, and also held PPE trainings and informational sessions in the health centers.

Ebola Task Force

 (L to R): Administrative intern Sophia Han, registration clerk Consuella Preston, RN Tim Kurtz, Dr. Sara Levin, LVN Ana Rea, Dr. Shobha Sharma, RN Grace Ma, Infection Prevention and Control Program Manager Kathy Ferris, process improvement specialist Roberto Vargas. Not pictured: process improvement specialist Miles Kotchevar, RN Kandy Heinen and RN Henry Ong

PPE Trainers 

(Top row, L to R): Terri Horvath, Grace Ma, Sarah Miller, Ata Wan
(Bottom row, L to R): Mindy Elliott, Adi Lal, Kara Dunleavy
Not pictured: Daniel Wilkins, Peter Delfiorentino
maskUnvaccinated CCRMC & Health Centers Staff Required to  Wear Masks During Flu Season 
Season spans from Nov. 1 to March 31

Flu season is here, and all CCRMC & Health Centers staff and volunteers must wear a mask in patient care areas if they did not get a flu vaccine.


The mask must be worn when working within three feet of a patient or providing direct patient care, and also at nursing stations. 


You can avoid having to wear a mask by getting your flu vaccine. CCRMC & Health Centers staff can get free flu vaccines in the Medical Social Services trailer on the
corner of C Street and Alhambra Avenue at the following times: Friday, Nov. 21 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.; Tuesday, Nov. 25 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. 


All county employees, including CCRMC & Health Centers staff, may also receive flu vaccine on Fridays from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Vista Oaks Occupational Medicine, 10 Douglas Drive, Suite 110 in Martinez.


This is the third flu season the masking requirement has been in effect at health facilities in Contra Costa County. CCHS Director Dr. William Walker, in his role as county health officer, originally issued the vaccination or masking order for healthcare workers in 2012. 


For more information, read a memo from Dr. Walker about the vaccination or masking order.  


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New 'Nocturnists' Allow for Immediate Inpatient Attendings at CCRMC

Contra Costa Regional Medical Center has added several new "nocturnist" positions that allow for continuous, overnight hospitalist staffing for inpatient departments, seven days a week. 


The shift, which began in September, means that in addition to our family medicine residents, an attending physician is always in the building for patient assessment and consultation. 


Traditionally, on-call attending physicians would take calls from home. The benefits of this new system include improved patient safety at night,  improved access for our family medicine residents to oversight and teaching, and better after-hours communication between departments. 


Development of the nocturnist position was a product of the Hospitalist Leadership Committee and collaboration between the inpatient departments, the residency program and administration.


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Annual DSRIP Progress Report 
Patient Tim Tarman, community health worker Griselda Garibay, mental health clinical specialist Amanda Dodd and Director of Epidemiology, Planning & Evaluation Abigail Kroch discuss behavioral health integration at a recent DSRIP report-out.

Four years into the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payments (DSRIP)

program, CCRMC & Health Centers has successfully laid the foundation for delivery-system transformation. We have built the structure to support care quality and innovation for decades to come.


This structure includes the following elements that have been important for DSRIP milestone completion: Flexible and modern IT systems; improved staff communication; a team-based approach to problem-solving; and cutting-edge training so team members can introduce, monitor and evaluate new programs effectively.


The DSRIP is part of California's Section 1115 Medicaid waiver and requires 21 public and academic medical centers statewide to achieve an average of 217 milestones in five categories in exchange for at-risk dollars.


This reporting year, we reached 59 milestone target measures across 20 improvement projects. We look forward to successfully completing the first phase in our DSRIP journey this coming year, and embarking on a second phase of our partnership with the state and the federal government to achieve mutual goals in health delivery performance improvement.


For more information, read our latest DSRIP annual report

Official Launch of After-Hours Electronic Check-In System at CCRMC

A graphic representation of what the new "welcome badges" look like. 
Last month, Contra Costa Regional Medical Center officially introduced PassagePoint, which allows loved ones who come to see patients in the hospital after-hours to check in electronically with a sheriff's deputy or ranger in the main lobby or by the Emergency Department.

The new system also prints a self-expiring "welcome badge" with a loved one's photo on it.

Loved ones will be issued the badges between the hours of 8:30 p.m. and 5:30 a.m.

PassagePoint will replace the paper logs previously used to register loved ones and family members of patients who come to CCRMC after hours. 

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Regulatory Change for Popular Painkiller
New prescriptions for painkillers containing hydrocodone now can't include authorizations for refills.
A change in federal drug classification now prohibits prescribing refills of medicines containing hydrocodone.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency shifted hydrocodone from a Schedule III drug to Schedule II on October 6 to address growing abuse of prescription opioids, requiring that no new prescriptions of painkillers such as Norco may include authorizations for refills.

Patients who need a rewrite of a previous prescription can request one through their myccLink patient web portal, have their retail pharmacy submit a request to their provider, or contact their health home team.

Due to the high risk nature of these medications, and in order to comply with medical board guidelines, providers may require that patients be seen and re-examined before another prescription is approved. The legal change also impacts doctors, pharmacy and clinic staffs, as we work to maintain and deliver appropriate medical care to our patients, which includes reliable access to these frequently prescribed drugs.

Dr. Chris Farnitano, the ambulatory care medical director for our Contra Costa Regional Medical Center & Health Center, said he is working with local retail pharmacies to ensure they understand the new rules and that CCHS is working internally to mitigate the anticipated increase in prescription requests, including streamlining the prescription process in our electronic health record, ccLink, and accelerating the rollout of electronic prescribing to all providers in our system.

Video Highlights Partnership with Health Leads at West County Health Center
A new five-minute video showcases an innovative partnership between CCRMC & Health Centers and Health Leadsa nonprofit organization devoted to addressing underlying socioeconomic issues that affect health.

The partnership allows providers at our West County Health Center (WCHC) to "prescribe" services to address issues such as hunger, lack of adequate housing and unemployment.  Health Leads advocates at the health center then help connect patients to relevant resources in the community. 


The video, which was produced by CCHS' communications unit, Community Education & Information, and shown during an Oct. 21 celebration at WCHC, includes interviews with patients, Health Leads advocates and West County providers. Among the providers featured is Dr. Natasha Pinto, who describes how she came to realize that a diabetic patient's condition kept worsening because the patient didn't have a refrigerator to store insulin. 


The partnership with Health Leads, which began in June, is made possible by philanthropic support from the following organizations: Blue Shield of California Foundation, The California Endowment, The California HealthCare Foundation and Kaiser Permanente Community Benefits. 


Health Leads at the West County Health Center

myccLink Going Mobile on December 1 

Patients with smartphones and tablets can soon access their myccLink accounts via the free "MyChart" app.

Patients with myccLink accounts will soon be able to access their health records from their iPhones, iPads and Android-powered mobile devices.


Beginning December 1, patients with smartphones and tablets can download the free "MyChart" app from Apple's App Store or from Google Play and log on to myccLink. Like with the desktop version of myccLink, patients who receive their primary care at CCRMC & Health Centers will be able message their doctors, request refills and see lab results using the MyChart app.


A promotional plug for the mobile app will now appear on our after visit summaries on the same page as the myccLink activation code. Please note that patients can't activate a new account from the MyChart app; they must already have an established myccLink account to use the app.


Promotional fliers for the mobile app will be distributed by our communications team to clinic coordinators and hospital managers to make available to patients.


For more information about myccLink, contact Dr. Rajiv Pramanik at rajiv.pramanik@hsd.cccounty.us or Jen Gossett at jenne.gossett@hsd.cccounty.us. If you need more promotional materials, contact Will Harper at will.harper@hsd.cccounty.us

Now Hiring: New Chief Medical Officer
With current Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Goldstein moving on to go work for the Emergency Medical Services Division, we are now in the process of soliciting applicants to become the new CMO. 

You can read the job announcement here

If you would like to apply, submit a resume and a letter of interest to Dorette McCollumn, Personnel Officer at Contra Costa Health Services, via email at Dorette.McCollumn@hsd.cccounty.us.

We encourage interested candidates to respond no later than December 10, 2014.

Guest Column: Tackle Ebola with Compassion and Facts, Not Fear

By the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center Health Equity Team

We are a health system preparing for the possibility that we may need to care for a patient with Ebola. The most likely scenario is that we will be caring for a health care worker who has put his or her life at risk to go to the epicenter of the crisis to work to end this epidemic at its source -- a small area of West Africa where this disease is currently contained. 


Twenty years from now what will history say about how we handled the Ebola crisis of 2014?


Remember the AIDS crisis of the 80's?  People on the margins became ill with a mysterious and deadly disease in the United States first entitled "GRIDS" (Gay-Related Immune Deficiency Syndrome). Deafened by discrimination, officials ignored early cries for sane health policies that may have acted to contain the spread of the disease earlier in its course.  Instead, policies were determined by politicians without knowledge of disease spread or containment -- acting in response to public expressions of fear.  


The real fear should be that we, as a nation, may repeat this pattern.  The efforts by some elected officials to enact sweeping quarantines display a disturbing ignorance of the issues and science of containing the spread of this disease.  The policies being advocated are more likely to lead to spread of disease because they may deter efforts to contain the disease at its source.


People on the margins often lack the resources to stay healthy and are unlikely to receive care until they are very ill. So often, by the time help arrives (if at all), the severity and the impact of the disease has magnified far beyond what it should.  Fear and prejudice is what stops us from responding in a humane and rationale way to these situations.  Fear and prejudice is also what hinders us from actually being able to best contain and minimize the impact of these diseases that can lead to epidemics.


Fear can be a powerful driver of thoughtful planning action or inaction, mistreatment, humiliation and discrimination.  In order to use fear for positive action we have to move past the hold of our biases and prejudices.  So, here's what we recommend:


1.    Get the facts about Ebola. Accurate information helps us prepare and understand what precautions to take so we can rationally judge and respond to risk. Here are links to accurate resources:




2.    Be honest with yourself. Commit to identifying and examining biases, assumptions and fears you have that may influence your ability to treat and help others who may be different from you. 


3.    Remember that we are all connected. The world is much smaller than it used to be and things ripple faster and wider than they did 50 years ago.  However, one of the truths we have learned in our modern world is that natural and man-made disasters look very different in nations that are impoverished or without infrastructure versus nations with resources and infrastructure.  The operations that support adequate building structures, environmental protection and public health infrastructure are vital to minimize harm from disasters whether they be earthquakes, epidemics or man-made disasters.  Why is the death toll from an earthquake in Haiti or Indonesia greater than 250,000 when a similar magnitude earthquake caused merely 63 deaths in California?


The Ebola situation is a heartbreaking reminder that every time we turn our back on someone or close a door in someone's face, we are creating an opportunity for disease to thrive. Crises are great opportunities to learn what we are really made of and to act in a courageous way that would make all of our children and grandchildren proud.  


The Health Equity Team includes Connie James, Jaime Jenett, Tiombe Mashama, Rohan Radhakrishna, Sara Levin, Jeff Moule, Sonia Sutherland, Angela Prasad, Roberto Vargas, Miles Kotchevar and Rhonda Smith

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Service Excellence Winners

Phyllis Howard

Family Nurse Practitioner

For promoting health and wellness in North Richmond and helping high risk patients to maintain the best health possible.  For being a team player and extremely knowledgeable in the medical field, especially in diabetes education and metabolic syndrome.

 - Nominated by Sue Meltzer


Diana Tinker

Therapist Aide

For never being too busy to respond to my questions, taking the time to obtain answers from others or refer me to the appropriate person.

 - Nominated by Charlene McHugh


Health Information Management Staff

For going the extra mile to make new employees welcome and quickly feel like family. For knowing their jobs extremely well and being patient while teaching others.

 - Nominated by Ivania Nand


Jamie Pehling, MD

For being a through and outstanding doctor.  For going the extra mile for everyone.

 - Nominated by Sue Meltzer


Theresa Riggs

Clerk - Experienced Level

For helping a patient who had been discharged from the Emergency Department to connect with a social worker.  For being energetic and always going the extra mile.

 - Nominated by Sue Meltzer


DeShante Hall

Clerk - Specialist Level

For her ability to work in a very fast-paced environment with an excellent attention to detail, her fantastic attitude and team work.  For being a pleasure to work with.

 - Nominated by Gina Soleimanieh and Linda Thomas


Andy Bausone

Biomedical Equipment Manager

Randy Hendrickson

Erick Manzanarez

Biomedical Equipment Technicians I

Kevin Narducci

Biomedical Equipment Technician II

For their rapid, very detailed inspection of numerous Alaris Infusion Pumps in a short amount of time.  For all they do every day for our patients and staff.

 - Nominated by Timothy Thompson-Cook


Gina Soleimanieh

Medical Staff Coordinator

For her willingness to think out of the box and find creative, effective solutions for her co-workers and her department in areas of staffing and office organization.  For her excellent work ethic and always volunteering her well-thought out ideas to create change in a positive way.

 - Nominated by Steele Colby, Sue Pfister and Linda Thomas


West County Health Center Registration Staff

LuWanda Hill

Clerical Supervisor

For being part of the Appointment Text Message Appointment pilot as we move forward to improve patient care.  For always going above and beyond.

 - Nominated by Lorena Garcia


Norma Martinez

Medical Social Worker II

For utilizing her outstanding networking skills to provide appropriate resources to patients and for going the extra mile by making herself readily available with her tight schedule to address and provide support to urgent referrals.

- Nominated by Dola Macaulay


Nicole Flowers

Certified Medical Assistant

For providing excellent urgent care to a high risk pregnant patient.  For providing prenatal resources, genuine care and support to all of her patients.

 - Nominated by Dola Macaulay



Emergency Department

For the excellent care and treatment provided to my 89 year old mother in Contra Costa Regional Medical Center's Emergency Department.  Thank you for treating her with dignity and professionalism.  She has made a complete recovery.

 - Nominated by a patient's son


Chantel Allen

Medical Records Coder

For being very detailed with coding her accounts.

 - Nominated by Sihina Tatum


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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