Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Kaiser Permanente Antioch Medical Center recognized for providing safe patient care

Tuesday, May 24th, 2022

The Leapfrog Group’s biannual safety report gives Kaiser Permanente hospitals top scores for limiting patient injuries, reducing medical errors, and preventing infections 

By Antonia Ehlers, PR and Media Relations, Kaiser Permanente Northern California

Antioch, Calif., May 23, 2022 – The Leapfrog Group recognized Kaiser Permanente’s Antioch Medical Center with a top score of “A” in its biannual Hospital Safety Grades report, which examined and graded nearly 3,000 hospitals throughout the United States.

A total of 16 Kaiser Permanente Northern California hospitals received “A” grades including: Antioch, Fremont, Fresno, Manteca, Modesto, Redwood City, Roseville, San Francisco, San Jose, San Rafael, Santa Clara, Santa Rosa, South San Francisco, Vacaville, Vallejo and Walnut Creek. Additionally, Kaiser Permanente hospitals in Oakland, Richmond, Sacramento, and San Leandro received “B” grades.

“Patient safety is at the heart of everything we do here at the Antioch Medical Center,” said Chris Boyd, senior vice president and area manager of Kaiser Permanente’s Diablo Service Area. “We are honored to be recognized as a leader in patient safety, which is a testament to the steadfast commitment of our physicians, nurses and staff members.”

“What an honor to receive an ‘A’ from the Leapfrog Group,” said Sharon Mowat, physician in chief of the Antioch Medical Center. “This aligns with our mission of preventive care and keeping our patients safe. Our integration allows us to build systems to do the right thing the first time, and it and allows us to catch issues early.”

More about the Leapfrog Safety Grades

The Leapfrog Group, an independent national nonprofit run by employers and other large purchasers of health benefits, released its Hospital Safety Grades after examining publicly available data on patient injuries, medical and medication errors and infections at U.S. hospitals. The report includes data collected by national health care organizations, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Scores are calculated based on more than 30 publicly available measures, and hospitals are then assigned A, B, C, D or F grades for their safety records. The grades are released as a free resource to help patients and their families make informed health care decisions.

For more information and a complete list of the hospital safety grades, visit Leapfrog.

 

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Prepare to Care: Creating a Plan presentation at Tre Vista Thursday, May 17

Tuesday, May 10th, 2022

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Following outcry from retailers Antioch Council agrees to suspend certain tobacco sales ban until December 1

Monday, May 2nd, 2022

Examples of flavored tobacco. Source: YTAPP presentation

Will wait for November vote on referendum of statewide ban; approves six-year contract extension for city attorney on 5-0 vote

By Allen D. Payton

After much outcry from tobacco retailers in Antioch, the city council on Tuesday night April 26, 2022, agreed to suspend their previously approved ban on the sale of some tobacco and vaping products through December 1. No vote was taken, so the ban remains in place, but city staff was directed to suspend enforcement.

In addition, the council voted unanimously to approve an unusual six-year extension to the contract with Smith. Normal contracts with city attorneys and managers are three-to-five years in length. City Attorney contract extension ACC042622

Tobacco Retail Ban Grace Period

The ban was approved on a 3-2 vote on Feb. 22, with Mayor Pro Tem Mike Barbanica and District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker opposing. Tobacco Retail Sales Ban ACC022222

It was in response to an effort by Antioch youth seeking to keep flavored tobacco products from being sold to and used by young people. The Council previously considered this topic at its May 25, 2021, meeting during a detailed presentation of a survey by the Youth Tobacco Advocacy Policy Project (YTAPP). The ban went into effect on April 7, this year. YTAPP Presentation ACC052521

According to the city staff report for the April 26 council meeting agenda item, “Since passing the ordinance, the City Council has heard public comment from tobacco retailers and businesses selling tobacco products expressing the desire for a grace period temporarily suspending the implementation of new restrictions on sales of tobacco or tobacco products with characterizing flavor, electronic cigarettes, cigars, and little cigars to enable businesses to sell their existing inventory and transition into compliance with the new ordinance.”

One of the complaints from the retailers was that the city ordinance didn’t create a level playing field with those in neighboring cities. The council was asked to wait until after a November vote on a referendum on the state law passed in 2020 banning flavored tobacco products. According to the L.A. Times the statewide ban was suspended in January 2021 after the referendum by the tobacco industry qualified for the ballot.

Another complaint was that the ordinance didn’t give the retailers time to sell the products they already had in stock. A third complaint was that the retailers weren’t notified by the City of the impending ban or suspension of enforcement prior to either council meeting.

According to a report by the FDA, “Flavors are added to tobacco products to improve flavor and taste by reducing the harshness, bitterness, and astringency. However, the use of flavors in tobacco products raises important public health questions. For example, FDA is aware of early reports that some flavors could help adult cigarette smokers switch to potentially less harmful tobacco products. On the flip side, research has shown that sweet-tasting flavors are particularly appealing to youth and young adults.

In 2020, non-Hispanic Black high school students reported past 30-day cigar smoking at levels twice as high as their White counterparts. Nearly 74% of youth aged 12-17 who use cigars say they smoke cigars because they come in flavors they enjoy. Among youth who have ever tried a cigar, 68% of cigarillo users and 56% of filtered cigar users report that their first cigar was a flavored product. Moreover, in 2020, more young people tried a cigar every day than tried a cigarette.”

During the April 26 meeting the council gave direction to City Attorney Thomas L. Smith to prepare an amendment to the tobacco ordinance implementing a grace period until December 1, to focus on community education and suspend enforcement until the passage of the amendment to the ordinance.

Council Comments

District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock spoke in favor of the grace period to applause from the audience saying, “I’m looking for the businesses to make a real, concerted effort to make sure none of these flavored, menthol cigarettes get into the hands of kids. I hope there’s something you can do education-wise.”

“I was not in for this from the start,” Barbanica stated. “I didn’t support it. I think it harms our local businesses. Please continue to police yourself. But I’m in support of staying this until at least Dec. 1st until we see what the state does. I think this was an overreach on our part and we need to be consistent with state law and not harm our local businesses.”

While Mayor Lamar Thorpe said he could support the grace period he also stated, “But I will not be changing my mind irrespective of what the voters of California do. I’m sticking to what I originally did.”

District 4 Councilwoman Monica Wilson said she could also support the grace period but wanted to focus on a community education component. “Not sure about Dec. 1, but I can support the grace period.”

“I heard people say, ‘Big Tobacco, Big Tobacco’,” Torres-Walker said, speaking in support of the grace period. “This is not Big Tobacco sitting out here. They’re family-owned businesses.”

Advisory Notice Sent April 25

The following notice was sent by the City to businesses via email on Monday, April 25 providing details on the ban:

“ADVISORY NOTICE:

FOR BUSINESSES ENGAGED IN RETAIL SALES OF TOBACCO AND
VAPING PRODUCTS FOR USE WITH TOBACCO

This notice is to inform local businesses of recent changes to City ordinances impacting retail sales within the City of Antioch. The intent of the referenced policies is to provide a healthy, safe environment for all City residents by reducing the adverse effects of cigarettes and related tobacco products, especially as it relates to youth.

As of April 7, 2022, the following changes to the City of Antioch Municipal Code will become effective:
1. The number of new tobacco retailers shall be restricted.

  1. Tobacco retailers are prohibited from selling or possessing tobacco products with the characteristic of being “flavored”, including but not limited to mint, menthol or chocolate.
  2. New businesses with tobacco sales and vaping products for use with tobacco shall maintain a minimum distance of at least 1,000 feet from schools and similar uses.
  3. Electronic smoking devices and e-cigarettes for sale for use with tobacco or tobacco sales are banned in all retail establishments.
  4. A minimum package size for little cigars (cigarillos) is restricted to twenty and cigars is restricted to six.
  5. A minimum price of $10 per package, including applicable fees and taxes, is set for tobacco products, including cigarettes, little cigars (cigarillos) or cigars.

The City respectfully requests your cooperation. On a going forward basis, City of Antioch’s Code Enforcement Division will address compliance matters.

For additional background information, see items F and G at https://www.antiochca.gov/fc/government/agendas/CityCouncil/2022/agendas/030822/030822.pdf
Should you have questions regarding retail sales of tobacco and vaping products for use with tobacco, please contact the City of Antioch Community Development Department, Code Enforcement Division at 925.779.7042.”

Retailers who sell the products complained about the impact on their businesses and asked the council to wait until the vote on a November ballot measure was decided, that would create a statewide ban. The retailers wanted a level playing field. The council members agreed.”

The enforcement of the ordinance is currently suspended. The council is expected to vote on the grace period during their next meeting on Tuesday, May 10.

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National Prescription Drug TAKE BACK DAY at Antioch Police Dept. Saturday, April 30

Thursday, April 28th, 2022

Keep your family and our community safe. Participate in the Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, April 30 10:00 am-2:00 pm.

With opioid overdose deaths increasing during the pandemic, the Antioch Police Department is taking back unwanted prescription drugs on April 30 at the Antioch Police Facility.

The public can drop off potentially dangerous prescription medications at 300 L Street at the corner of W. 2nd Streets. (front lobby) and other collection sites throughout the county which will adhere to local COVID-19 guidelines and regulations in order to maintain the safety of all participants and local law enforcement.

DEA and its partners will collect tablets, capsules, patches, and other solid forms of prescription drugs. Liquids (including intravenous solutions), syringes and other sharps, and illegal drugs will not be accepted. DEA will continue to accept vaping devices and cartridges at its drop off locations provided lithium batteries are removed.

OTHER DROP OFF LOCATIONS

-Office of the Sheriff Muir Station, 980 Muir Road, Martinez

-Office of the Sheriff Bay Station, 5555 Giant Highway, Richmond

-Office of the Sheriff Valley Station, 150 Alamo Plaza, #C, Alamo

-Danville Police Department, 510 La Gonda Way, Danville

-Lafayette Police Department, 3471 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette

-Orinda Police Department, 22 Orinda Way, Orinda

Helping people dispose of potentially harmful prescription drugs is just one way DEA is working to reduce addiction and stem overdose deaths.

Learn more about the event at www.deatakeback.com, or by calling 800-882-9539.

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Masks once again required on BART

Thursday, April 28th, 2022

After judge in Florida tossed out federal mask mandate for public transit systems and airlines

The BART Board of Directors at its meeting today, Thursday, April 28, 2022, approved a temporary amendment to the District’s Code of Conduct to require riders to wear masks in paid areas of the system with limited exceptions. This requirement applies to trains and all portions of stations beyond the fare gates. Children ages two and under as well as people with medical conditions that prevent them from wearing masks are exempt from the mandate. The rule is effective until July 18, 2022, unless it is extended by the BART Board.

“I strongly support requiring a mask to ride BART to keep all our riders safe,” said BART Board President Rebecca Saltzman. “I’m especially concerned for our riders who are immunocompromised, people with underlying health conditions, and children under the age of five who are not yet eligible for vaccination.”

The update to the Code of Conduct comes after a federal judge in Florida earlier this month tossed out a federal mask mandate for public transit systems and airlines. Like other Bay Area transit agencies, BART’s previous mask mandate had been based on the now former TSA directive.

“It is essential the BART Board take action to protect our riders and employees after the surprising ruling that threw out the federal mandate,” said BART Board Vice President Janice Li. “Wearing masks helps to protect everyone, which is especially important now as COVID cases rise in the Bay Area.”

Free masks are available at station agent booths and from all safety staff for those who need one. As with the previous federal mandate, BART PD will continue its education-based enforcement of the mask requirement by offering free masks to anyone who needs one before taking any enforcement action which could include a citation up to $75 or being ejected from the paid area.

Throughout the pandemic BART has prioritized the safety of riders. BART has installed MERV 14 (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) air filters on all train cars new and old. These filters are dense enough to trap the virus and provide an extra layer of protection to our riders. Air is replaced every 70 seconds onboard cars mixing filtered air with fresh air. That means the circulation on BART train cars is better than most offices. In addition, all BART employees are fully vaccinated.

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Learn about the Six Pillars of Brain Health at TreVista Antioch Thursday

Wednesday, April 20th, 2022

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Kaiser Permanente Northern California honored with the 2021 Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award

Wednesday, April 20th, 2022

Kaiser Permanente Advance Alert Monitor. Source: doctorsatkaisertpmg.com

By ThJoint Commission, National Quality Forum for KP Nor Cal’s Advance Alert Monitor program for predicting risk, saving lives among hospitalized patients

By Antonia Ehlers, PR and Media Relations, Kaiser Permanente Northern California

OAKLAND, Calif., April 19, 2022 – Kaiser Permanente Northern California’s life-saving Advance Alert Monitor (AAM) program – an early detection system that helps care teams predict when hospitalized patients are at risk for clinical deterioration – has been recognized by The Joint Commission and National Quality Forum (NQF).

The program has been honored with the 2021 John M. Eisenberg Award for Local Level Innovation in Patient Safety and Quality. The prestigious national award recognizes those initiatives that improve patient safety and overall quality of care.

AAM uses a predictive algorithm developed by physician researchers at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research that scans almost 100 elements from patient health records hourly at 21 hospitals in Northern California, giving clinicians a 12-hour lead time prior to clinical deterioration, permitting early detection and intervention.

“Advance Alert Monitor is another example of how our physicians and staff maximize our extensive clinical and operational expertise, our technologically advanced systems, and our integrated care delivery model to provide exceptional care to our patients,” says Richard Isaacs, MD, FACS, who is the CEO and Executive Director of The Permanente Medical Group. “By combining the groundbreaking use of predictive analytics with clinical workflows, we’ve created a Northern California virtual center that is saving lives by helping us identify patients in medical-surgical and transitional care units who may need expedited care.”

The output of the algorithm is monitored remotely by clinical staff who virtually observe all Kaiser Permanente Northern California hospitals, and who immediately contact the patient’s local care team in the event of an alert, enabling physicians and nurses to provide critical and potentially life-saving treatment more quickly.

A recent analysis of the program by the physician researchers who developed it, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found the system was responsible for preventing on average 520 deaths per year over a 3-and-a-half-year study period. It also showed a lower incidence of ICU admissions and shorter hospital stays.

“This award is a testament to the ongoing work of Kaiser Permanente Northern California to provide our clinical care teams cutting edge technology that enables them to predict and prevent serious complications before they happen,” said Carrie Owen Plietz, FACHE, president of Kaiser Permanente’s Northern California region. “Our staff is intervening early and swiftly, providing the appropriate medical attention to keep patients safe with improved outcomes.”

Last year, Kaiser Permanente Northern California was recognized by the International Hospital Foundation with the Autsco Excellence Award for Quality and Patient Safety for the AAM program, which is in place at all 21 Kaiser Permanente Northern California hospitals, with nurses handling more than 16,000 alerts a year.

How it works

KP Monitor screen. Source: spotlight.kaiserpermanente.org

AAM predicts the probability that hospitalized patients are likely to decline, require transfer to the intensive care unit or emergency resuscitation, and benefit from interventions. Early warnings could be helpful for patients at risk of deterioration where intervention may improve outcomes.

To do this, AAM analyzes electronic hospital patient data to identify those at risk of deteriorating and alerts a specialized team of Virtual Quality Nurse Consultants who determine if on-site intervention is needed. The virtual nurses contact the Rapid Response Team of nurses, which performs an assessment, and then works with the supportive-care team and the patient and/or family to develop a patient-centered treatment plan.

“Analytics tools allow us to use complex patient data to improve our care in real-time,” said Vincent Liu, MD, MS, a research scientist with the Division of Research, whose advanced analytics group developed the algorithm that underpins AAM. “They support clinicians’ practice by finding signals hidden within the electronic health record,” added Liu, whose advanced analytics group developed the algorithm with leadership from retired DOR investigator Gabriel Escobar, MD.

Nurses confirm AAM’s value

Vincent Emeziem, an ICU nurse at Kaiser Permanente Antioch Medical Center, is part of the Advance Alert Monitor team at the hospital. He said he’s seen firsthand how the program saves lives, including a recent case where a hospitalized patient was declining rapidly and because of early intervention was rushed into surgery for a life-threatening aneurism.

“This program has been very useful, and a lot of patients have benefited,” said Emeziem, a Kaiser Permanente nurse for 18 years. “These patients are getting the care they need very fast.”

The success of the Advance Alert Monitor program is attributed to the integration of care, collaboration between the clinical care teams, and the early intervention provided to patients, said Dr. Vanessa Martinez, DNP, MHA, RN, director of Virtual Nursing Care at Kaiser Permanente Northern California. “This advance technology and the expertise of our clinical care teams is allowing us to help those patients who are at most risk for severe complications and provide the necessary treatment to improve patient outcomes,” she said.

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve almost 12.5 million members in 8 states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists, and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery, and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education, and the support of community health. http://about.kaiserpermanente.org

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Nurses, health care workers hold one-day strike at Antioch’s Sutter Delta Medical Center Monday

Monday, April 18th, 2022

Photo: CNA

More than 8,000 participating in strike at 15 Sutter facilities for safe staffing and health and safety protections; Sutter Health responds

By Allen D. Payton

The California Nurses Association (CNA) and CNA affiliate Caregivers and Healthcare Employees Union (CHEU) announced on the National Nurses United website on April 8, that “Nurses and health care workers at 15 facilities across Northern California will hold a one-day strike on April 18 to protest Sutter Health’s refusal to address their proposals about safe staffing and health and safety protections.” The CNA is an affiliate of National Nurses United. The list of facilities includes Sutter Delta Medical Center on Lone Tree Way in Antioch.

This notice follows nearly unanimous strike authorization votes in March. Nurses and health care workers have given advance notice to Sutter Health for the strike. More than 8,000 registered nurses and health care workers are participating in the strike.

Sutter Health RNs and health care workers have been in negotiations since June 2021 for a new contract, with little to no movement on key issues. They urge management to invest in nursing staff and agree to a contract that provides:

  • safe staffing that allows nurses to provide safe and therapeutic care and
  • pandemic readiness protections that require the hospitals to invest in personal protective equipment stockpiles and comply with California’s PPE stockpile law.”

“The Sutter nurses voted for this strike,” said Renee Waters, a Trauma Neuro Intensive Care RN with 26 years of experience. “We are striking because Sutter is not transparent about the stockpile of PPE supplies and contact tracing. They resist having nurses directly involved in planning and implementation of policies that affect all of us during a pandemic. We must address these issues and more. A fair contract is needed to retain experienced nurses, have sufficient staffing and training, and ensure we have the resources we need to provide safe and effective care for our patients. Nurses are fighting back against Sutter putting profits before patients and health care workers.”

“Nurses overwhelmingly voted to go out on strike because we see no other option left for us and our patients,” said Amy Erb, RN , who works in Critical Care at California Pacific Medical Center. “We have tried repeatedly to address the chronic and widespread problem of short staffing that causes delays in care and potentially puts patients at risk, but hospital administrators continue to ignore us. We have a moral and legal obligation to advocate for our patients. We advocate for them at the bedside, at the bargaining table, and if we have to, on the strike line.”

Nurses and health care workers will be picketing from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Sutter Health Responds

Emma Dugas, Media Relations Coordinator with Sutter Health offered the following response from the healthcare organization late Sunday afternoon:

“Despite resuming negotiations with the involvement of a federal mediator, the California Nurses Association (CNA) has refused to call off their strike beginning 7 a.m. Monday. Work stoppages at 18 of our sites – even for a single day — require complex and costly preparation, and obligate us to make plans that our teams, patients and communities can rely on. Given the uncertainty of a looming strike, and in order to provide surety for our patients, communities and care teams, we will staff our hospitals on Monday with the contracted replacement workers where needed. We hope the CNA union will call off this strike so our nurses can return to work and do what they do best — care for our patients. We remain committed to continue bargaining as long as negotiations are progressing effectively toward averting the strike.”

Dugas provided an additional statement from Sutter Health on Monday:

“By moving forward with today’s costly and disruptive strike, union leadership has made it clear they are willing to put politics above patients and the nurses they represent – despite the intervention of federal mediators and our willingness to bargain in good faith while under threat of a strike. Our attention is on providing safe, high-quality care to the patients and communities we’re honored to serve. We are confident in our ability to manage this disruption. We are hopeful CNA shares our desire to reach an agreement and enable our nurses to turn their focus back to the patients the union has asked them to walk away from.”

Dugas also provided a Labor Fact Sheet dated April 2022 from Sutter Health with the following information:

“SUTTER HEALTH’S INVESTMENTS & COMMITMENT TO EMPLOYEES

Sutter Health is consistently recognized as one of the region’s best employers and a leader in providing safe, high-quality care for more than 3 million patients each year. The two go hand in hand: our caregivers provide exceptional, compassionate care for our patients, and we are dedicated to recognizing, investing in and supporting them.

PROVIDING COMPETITIVE PAY & BENEFITS

We know the quality of care we deliver is made possible by the dedicated clinical and professional teams across our integrated network. Sutter provides competitive wage and benefits packages that recognize employees’ hard work and support their total well-being. A nurse who chooses to work full-time at Sutter hospitals with CNA contracts receives generous benefits, including:

Competitive Salaries: An average of more than $140,000 (or more than $81/hour). The average annual wage for California nurses in 2021 was $124,000 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Employer Provided Healthcare Coverage: Access to comprehensive healthcare coverage for employees and their families — provided at no or low cost to staff.

Paid Time Off: Up to 41 paid days off annually and access to extended sick leave, as well as short- and long-term disability leave.

Retirement Benefits: We are proud to offer our employees several benefit plans that help our workforce plan for their retirement. For those employees participating in our cash balance pension design, we have proposed enhancing the earned interest that Sutter contributes to employees’ cash balance pension balance each year starting in 2024.

Career Development Support: Coursework, coaching, hands-on experience and other support for nurses seeking stability and growth over the course of an entire career.

Voluntary Benefits: Critical illness, supplemental life insurance and legal plans that provide essential resources when it’s needed most.”

See more details from Sutter Health’s Labor Fact Sheet, here: Sutter Health Labor Fact Sheet April 2022

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