Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa and Kaiser Foundation hospitals in Santa Rosa and Vacaville were the three North Bay facilities on latest list of the nation’s top performers in "key quality measures" by The Joint Commission, the leading accreditor of U.S. health care organizations.Health Care TrendsSept. 24, 2012Providers anticipate Western Health arrivalSutter Health pursues launch of own HMOHealth care column

Three North Bay hospitals make U.S. 'top performer' list; Amy's Kitchen, local health care professionals, individuals honored for improving health; Two Petaluma orthodontists buy former Wells Fargo branch to remodel for practice

Sutter Santa Rosa said it was recognized for "exemplary performance" in using evidence-based clinical processes shown to improve care for certain conditions, including heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, surgical care, children’s asthma, stroke and venous thrombo embolism, as well as inpatient psychiatric services.

Kaiser Permanente said in the past several years it has had an "intensive focus" on improving the care and service experience for members.

The hospitals were among 620 in the U.S. that earned the distinction this year from The Joint Commission.

Each "top performer" hospital met two 95 percent--performance thresholds on accountability measure data reported to The Joint Commission in 2011. The ratings were based on aggregated data.

A 95 percent score means a hospital provided an evidence-based practice 95 times out of 100 opportunities to provide the practice. Examples include giving aspirin on arrival for heart attack patients, giving antibiotics one hour before surgery and providing a home-management plan for children with asthma, according to Sutter Santa Rosa, a Sutter Health affiliate.***

Northern California Center for Well-Being on Sept. 14 held its annual "Celebration of Dreams," honoring local health care professionals and individuals for improving overall health in the region.

The event, a veritable who's who in local health care, recognized Petaluma-based Amy's Kitchen as "healthy business leader" for its establishment of primary care Family Health Centers at its Santa Rosa and Oregon plants. The centers are aimed at maintaining health of workers and their families and reducing ever-increasing premiums for the employer. The centers are a five-minute walk from the manufacturing plants and have a co-pay of only $5.

The following individuals were also honored:Gary Pace, of West County Health Centers, as "physician leader." Dr. Pace, a staff physician at Sebastopol Community Health Center, is also medical director at the Forestville Wellness Center, one of just a few wellness centers offered through federally qualified health centers and, perhaps, the only one in West County readily accessible to lower-income individuals.Zuli Baron, a researcher, community organizer, trainer and volunteer for St. Joseph Health, as "community leader." Ms. Baron was recognized for efforts in researching and civic engagement among Sonoma County's Latino population, a project she began as a student at Sonoma State University in 2002 and continued with St. Joseph Health.Andrea Michelsen, of Kaiser Permanente, as "nonphysician health care leader." Trained as a nurse, she helped build the Children's Health Network with help from the Sonoma County Medical Association. The nonprofit matched uninsured children in need of acute care with volunteer physicians, dentists and other health care professionals.Hannah Early, a student at Analy High School in Sebastopol, as "youth leader." She is the president of Club Operation 1-4-1, a healthful-living program at the school. Ms. Early has completed more 350 hours of community service in the three years she's been with the club. ***

Two Petaluma orthodontists recently purchased a 7,500-square-foot former Wells Fargo branch at 301 Washington St. and plan to remodel it for their private practice.

Dr. John Woo and Dr. Marc DeBerardinis bought the building for about $755,000, or $133.60 per square foot, made possible through an SBA loan with Wells Fargo. Currently, the practice is located at 1476 Professional Dr. The purchased property was zoned for retail, so the practice had to obtain rezoning.

Connie Bradley of Cornish & Carey Commercial Newmark Knight Frank represented Wells Fargo. Brian Eisberg and David Walwyn, also of that brokerage, represented the orthodontists.***

North Bay Cancer Alliance, a Santa Rosa-based nonprofit, launched a new website, a new brand and renewed focus on expanded community programs.

Northbaycancer.org is aimed at filling what the alliance said has become a critical, unmet need -- a single clearinghouse for local cancer information, education, resources and support groups, according to the nonprofit. As such, it's focused on providing that information, as well as on the number of underinsured and uninsured individuals with cancer.

Founded in 2005, the organization’s sole program, the Sonoma County Cancer Risk Assessment Project was successfully transitioned to Redwood Regional Medical Group in January of this year. Over the previous three years, more than 5,500 women went through the program and received free services such as breast and ovarian cancer risk assessment, referrals for breast MRIs and genetic testing for underinsured patients.•••

Send items for this column to dan.verel@busjrnl.com or call 707-521-4257.