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March 2015
In This Issue
Patient Safety Culture Survey March 1-31
Behavioral Health Services Get Going at Miller Wellness Center
Positive Changes in Store for the ED
"Project Spotlight" Highlights Successes of Improvement Efforts
Spanish Version of myccLink Coming Soon
Construction of New Antioch Health Center Underway
Board of Supervisors Honors Medical Social Workers
Walk-Up IT Service Now at CCRMC
Academy Offers Leadership Training for Nurses
Health Foundation Info and Forms now on iSITE
Donate Your Old Magazines
Guest Column: Transforming Diabetes Care
Send Us Story Ideas
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Message from the CEOback_to_top
Anna Roth portrait cropped
Anna Roth, Chief Executive Officer of CCRMC & Health Centers

Improving the Health of Our Appointment System

In recent years, we've implemented many measures to make our system more patient-centered. We began recruiting patients and their family members to serve on committees and teams. We started offering our cancer patients iPads to use while they receive treatment in our infusion center.  We launched a Welcoming Policy that eliminated restrictive visiting hours at the hospital and recognized patients' loved ones as important partners in care.


Though we have made great progress, we continue to face challenges to being more patient-centered, particularly when it comes to access to care. We know we provide excellent care -- patients tell us this often -- but we also know we need to improve access to that care. 


One of those challenges is the long wait times on the phone some patients experience when they call to make an appointment. This is frustrating for our patients and for us. In response, we redesigned our appointment system a couple of years ago and saw hold times substantially drop. However, those hold times are increasing again.   


What We Are Seeing With Access to Our Appointment Line

The reason for this increase has to do with the success of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which has brought thousands of new people into our system and other public hospital systems around the country. This is great news for those who need health care.


As you might expect, more patients mean more people calling in to make appointments. In December 2013, the Appointment Unit received about 12,000 calls; a year later, in December 2014, it received 21,000 calls.


That's a big increase and, not surprisingly, it requires continued improvement work on our part. Fortunately, our earlier improvement work to redesign our appointment system and streamline healthcare access, including the launch of the award-winning Telephone Consultation Clinic, is helping our efforts. Staff from the hospital and health centers, as well as from the Appointment Unit, have done (and continue to do) terrific work to improve the appointment process.


We know that may not satisfy those who are experiencing long hold times now, but we want our patients to know we hear their concerns and will keep working to make it easier to schedule an appointment.


How We Are Trying to Improve

We currently have several strategies and ideas to improve access to care that are in varying stages of development. Let me share a few with you here.

  • Advanced access initiative: In February, we began piloting this new initiative at the Martinez Health Center and George and Cynthia Miller Wellness Center, and plan to gradually roll it out systemwide over the next year or so. Our hope is that by implementing various improvements -- pre-appointment screenings, offering alternate care options like telephone appointments, and simplified provider schedules -- patients can call us any time of day and reliably expect to be able to schedule a time to see their doctor within a few days. The Miller Wellness Center has been on the simplified schedule for several months and they have seen steady improvement in access during this time.
  • Expanding capacity: We've been doing this for a while by building new facilities (West County Health Center) or expanding old ones (Concord Health Center). We expect the new (and bigger) Antioch Health Center to open at the end of the year or early 2016. Meanwhile, we are aggressively recruiting physicians and we hired 22 new primary care providers in 2014.
  • Scheduling appointments through myccLink: We are hopeful that myccLink, our online patient portal, can be upgraded to allow patients to schedule appointments. This would take some of the burden off the Appointment Unit staff. At this point, this is mostly in the discussion stage, although the myccLink team hopes to enable patients to be able to schedule appointments with the Telephone Consultant Clinic later in the year.

I can't guarantee these efforts will solve all our access challenges. What I can guarantee is that if problems persist, we will keep trying to find solutions. We do this because we want our patients both healthy and satisfied with how they access our services. It's part of our mission to provide high-quality, patient-centered and compassionate care.






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For Staff: Take the Patient Safety Culture Survey
Click to see a larger version of the image. 

Behavioral Health Services Get Going at George & Cynthia Miller Wellness Center

In the past two months, we have begun to gradually roll out a bevy of behavioral health services at the George & Cynthia Miller Wellness Center, our newest outpatient health center.


In January, new behavioral health staff began working at the Miller Wellness Center, including psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses and behaviorists. In February, the facility began operating a 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. behavioral health clinic on weekdays. It also started taking referrals from Psychiatric Emergency Services at CCRMC.

George and Cynthia Miller cut the ceremonial ribbon at the grand opening of the Miller Wellness Center in May 2014. 

In the coming months, we and our partners in the Behavioral Health Division plan to expand services to include substance abuse groups, crisis counseling and medication refills. Starting in April, the clinic will be open on Saturday from noon to 9 p.m.


CCRMC & Health Centers has integrated physical and behavioral health care at outpatient clinics in West County, Concord and Martinez. Integrated services allow us to treat the whole person in one place. 


For more information about behavioral health services at the Miller Wellness Center, contact Julie Kelley at julie.kelley@hsd.cccounty.us .


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Emergency Department Improvement Project on the Horizon 

The Emergency Department is planning to move forward with a construction project in the coming months that will improve patient flow and experience.


Construction is expected begin this summer and be finished by the end of the year.


The construction project will expand the layout of the Emergency Department (ED) to better benefit patients and staff. Changes that will be made include:

  • The remodel of the current ED waiting room
  • The conversion of office space in the ED and imaging department to patient examination rooms. Five new treatment areas are being created. 
  • Construction of new patient-registration and clinical space within the imaging department

The project was developed through extensive collaboration between several stakeholders from the ED, imaging, cardiopulmonary, and registration. We will rely on our doctors, nurses, technologists, registration staff and others to design our care process and workflow for the new space.


For more information, contact Chief Operations Officer Timothy Thompson-Cook at (925) 370-5224.


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"Project Spotlight" Highlights Successes of Improvement Efforts to Patients

You may have recently noticed big posters in the main lobby of the hospital promoting the success of initiatives to improve quality, safety and patient satisfaction.


The posters are part of "Project Spotlight," an effort being led by Dr. Sonia Sutherland along with team members from Safety & Performance Improvement, Patient Relations, Clinical Staff, Patient & Family Partners and our Community Education & Information unit.


Every couple of months, Project Spotlight will present data-supported success stories of various CCRMC & Health Centers' improvement efforts. The first poster highlighted the success of our sepsis team. 

Click the image to see a larger version of the Project Spotlight poster on sepsis. 


A poster on display next month will promote our Welcoming Policy, which eliminated restrictive visiting hours and allowed more than 7,000 loved ones to see patients after hours in its first year.


Dr. Sutherland said Project Spotlight is designed to communicate safety data and other improvement efforts to patients in an easy-to-understand way.


Have a project you want to spotlight? Contact Dr. Sonia Sutherland at sonia.sutherland@hsd.cccounty.us or Quality Manager Baraka Peterman at baraka.peterman@hsd.ccounty.us


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Spanish Version of myccLink Coming Soon

The cover of the Spanish version of the myccLink brochure. 

Our patients will soon be able to use a Spanish-language version of myccLink, our online portal that allows patients to message their doctors, view test results and request prescription renewals.


Messages sent to providers in Spanish will be translated by Health Services' translation staff. The translation team will also translate English messages from providers into Spanish.


Patients can access the Spanish version from the myccLink login page by clicking the "Cambiar a Español" option. 


Spanish is the primary language of about one-quarter of patients at our health centers. 


Concord Health Center began piloting the promotion of the Spanish version in mid-February. We expect to begin promoting it systemwide in mid-April.


To see the Spanish version of mycclink, click here


Para ver la versión de myccLink en español, y la hoja de preguntas y respuestas comunes, haga clic aquí. MyccLink es nuestro portal en línea que permite a los pacientes a enviar mensajes a sus médicos, ver los resultados de las pruebas y pedir rellenos de sus recetas médicas. 


For more information, contact Chief Medical Informatics Officer Rajiv Pramanik at rajiv.pramanik@hsd.cccounty.us


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Coming in the Next Year: A New Health Center in Antioch 
Artist rendering of the new Antioch Health Center. 
Construction has begun on the new Antioch Health Center, which is expected to open at the end of 2015 or early next year. The new facility will be located at 2335 Country Hills Drive, about two-and-a-half miles from the current health center in Antioch. Service capacity will be significantly expanded in the new building. As part of the department's ongoing efforts to integrate behavioral and physical healthcare, the facility will also serve as the new site for children's behavioral health services in Antioch. Ambulatory care and Behavioral Health staff have been closely involved in the facility's design, which incorporates the latest approaches to ambulatory healthcare delivery, using architecture to facilitate teamwork and efficient patient flow.  


For more information about construction of the Antioch Health Center, contact Steve Harris, CCHS' director of planning and evaluation, at (925) 957-5416. 


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Board of Supervisors Honors Medical Social Workers
The Board of Supervisors presents social workers from CCRMC & Health Centers and the Employment & Human Services Department a special proclamation recognizing their efforts at the board's March 3 meeting. March is National Social Workers' Month. (Click on the image to see a larger version.) 

New Walk-Up IT Service at CCRMC for Staff

Since February 2, Health Services employees  have been be able to get free in-person technological help at a new walk-up service desk in the main lobby of Contra Costa Regional Medical Center (CCRMC). 

The walk-up desk, which is managed and staffed by the Information Technology unit, offers staff advice and support for computers and mobile devices. This new in-person service is another way for users to keep their technology in good working order and will supplement IT's phone-based support service. 

Examples of services to be offered include: basic hardware repair, software support, limited ccLink support, help with CCHS mobile applications and technology education. 

The walk-up desk is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (except for the noon lunch hour), Monday through Friday.


For more information about the walk-up service desk, contact IT Supervisor Larry Klein larry.klein@hsd.cccounty.us or 925-957-7476. 


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Academy Offers Leadership Training for Nurses

The new CCRMC Nursing Leadership Academy will soon be providing a year-long leadership development program to participating nursing staff.


The academy, which is being funded by the Contra Costa Regional Health Foundation, will hold its first learning sessions in April. In the following months, there will be webinars, mini-sessions, and action learning projects. A core group of world-class faculty will provide in-person and virtual teaching, coaching and mentoring.


The academy will teach participants about leading and managing change, developing organizational capacity, leading improvement, and building partnerships.


For more information about the academy, contact Chief Nursing Officer Jaspreet Benepal at jaspreet.benepal@hsd.cccounty.us. 


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Regional Health Foundation Info and Forms now on iSITE

Did you know that the Contra Costa Regional Health Foundation (CCRHF) is here to support Contra Costa Health Services' programs and projects? CCRHF provides grant-writing assistance, can serve as the fiscal manager for your grants and project funds and also funds small grant requests. Grant application forms and other forms and information about the foundation can now be found on iSITE. The foundation's new page can be accessed from the homepage of iSITE under the "Recommended" column.


CCRHF is a 501(c)3. For more information about the foundation, email CCRHF@hsd.cccounty.us or visit www.ccrhf.org


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Wanted: Your Old Magazines

We need magazines--including Spanish-language publications--for patients and their loved ones to read.


Hospital volunteers distribute more than 150 magazines a week, all of which are received through generous donations from the community. Donated magazines shouldn't be more than six months old. 

You can drop off magazines at the Helping Hands Gift Shop at CCRMC between 9 a.m - 4 p.m, Monday through Friday.  


For more information, call the volunteer office at (925) 370-5440. 


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Guest Column: Transforming Diabetes Care in a High-Risk Community
Yahya Abdolcader, BSN, RN-CDE, PHN
This is an excerpt from an article that originally appeared in the Institute for Healthcare Improvement's "Blue Shirt Blog." It was written by Yahya Abdolcader, a diabetes educator at West County Health Center.

As a kid, I remember my father telling me about my grandfather's last days. He said, "My father was not able to stand or walk. He was bedridden and my mother had to care for him 24/7. We didn't know what he died of, but it was mostly likely that he had a stroke."


When I was 12 years old, my maternal grandfather, who had diabetes for more than 20 years, finally succumbed to the disease and died. 


Diabetes has affected me all of my life. My experiences have inspired me to dedicate my life and work to preventing and helping others with diabetes.


As a diabetes educator for West County Health Center, I work for an underserved community in Richmond. In an effort to reduce health disparities and increase access to quality health care, I am working with a team of doctors, nurses, and health care workers to redesign our clinic's systems and processes. For the past five months, we have been working on a project to implement the Diabetes Mellitus Clinic Bundle (DMCB).


Patients who attend the DMCB clinic are those identified as being at risk for complications related to diabetes. We are starting to see some positive results.


For example, one of our patients had an average blood sugar in the low 300s. After two months in our program, we redrew her A1c and it came out between 6-7 (average 130-150). This is a drop of 4-5 A1c points and dramatically decreases her risk of having a stroke, heart attack, and microvascular complications associated with diabetes. Our DMCB project has also shown improvements in the number of patients completing their diabetes labs.


We are currently in the process of taking what we've learned from our first project and spreading it to our family practice clinics at West County.


Without access to modern health care, my grandparents never received quality care to prevent complications from diabetes. Now, however, others do not have to suffer the fate of my grandparents.


To read the full column, visit IHI's Blue Shirt Blog
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 newsletter editor Will Harper at: 
(925) 313-6903

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