Surgicalists: The Cutting Edge

Quality of Care, Surgical Hospitalist Results

SMCS Named a Top 100 Hospital, Further Validating Surgical Hospitalist Program Results

Facility_SHSSR_SMCS_SGH_2009_2Recently, for the fifth time, Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento (SMCS) was named one of the Top 100 Hospitals in the U.S. by Truven Analytics. It was recognized, along with the other hospitals selected, for consistently delivering outstanding quality of care, satisfaction and community value at a reasonable cost.

For the first time, SMCS also earned the Top 100 Hospitals Everest® Award—one of only 17 hospitals in the nation and the only hospital in California to simultaneously set the national benchmark for both “balanced excellence in a single year” and “greatest improvement over five consecutive years.”

Truven selected the hospitals based upon an independent analysis of public data. The criteria used included both financial benchmarks (hospital profitability, as well as Medicare per beneficiary spending) and clinical measures; for example, 30-day readmission and mortality rates metrics.

Surgical Affiliates Management Group’s surgicalist program was one component that helped SMCS achieve this major recognition. Our collaborative surgical hospitalist program boosted performance throughout the hospital, improved patient care and reduced costs, as documented in a five-year study undertaken by SMCS and Surgical Affiliates, which was published in the prestigious peer-reviewed Journal of the American College of Surgeons. The study validated that surgical hospitalist programs improve key hospital performance metrics. For SMCS this included:

  • Decreasing length of stay by 12%
  • Reducing complications by 43%
  • Lowering costs by 31%—a total of $2 million in a single year

According to Jean Chenoweth, senior vice president at Truven Health Analytics, if all Medicare inpatients received the same level of care as those treated in the award-winning facilities:

  • More than 164,000 additional lives could be saved.
  • Approximately 82,000 additional patients could be complication free.
  • More than $6 billion could be saved.
  • The average patient stay would decrease by nearly half a day.
  • And if the same standards were applied to all inpatients, the impact would be even greater.

We’re delighted that Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento has once again been honored as one of the nation’s top hospitals. If you are interested in learning more about how our partnership with SMCS helped accomplish these results, please read our most recent case study “The Verdict Is In: Surgical Hospitalist Programs Deliver Improved Results throughout the Hospital.” To request a copy, please visit

Case Studies, Quality of Care, Surgical Hospitalist Results

Is Access to Specialists a Key to Improving Hospital Margins?

NBMC_photoHospitals across the U.S. are struggling financially. However, one of our partner hospitals, NorthBay Medical Center, is bucking this national trend, and increasing its margins and operating success – a fact that was lauded in Modern Healthcare1 last year. The key, as cited in the article, is the hospital’s ability to keep its patients from leaving the county for specialty services, such as cardiovascular surgery. The result: its operating margins climbed from negative 2.1 percent in 2011 to 6.3 percent in 2013.

One compelling example of the success of the hospital’s strategy is its partnership with us, which has produced results that raised hospital results in improved care, decreased length of stay, and lower costs.

Our collaborative partnership with NorthBay Medical Center is recognized by hospital leadership. Gary Passama, president and chief executive officer of NorthBay Healthcare System, expressed to me that “now his community knows that they can count on us [the hospital] because Surgical Affiliates is there to handle any emergency.” I appreciated hearing this because it reinforced the strength of our partnership and common goal to providing the community with access to high-quality emergency surgical care and knowing that the community could turn to the NorthBay Healthcare System for any medical emergency.

Our team approach enables us to collaborate with a hospital’s staff to improve patient care by implementing a consistent use of surgical best practices, continuity of care, and communications with patients, families, and the patient’s primary care team.

In addition, because hospital executives knew that NorthBay Medical Center would remain the county’s busiest trauma center, we were asked to collaborate with them to expand the hospital’s trauma center to achieve a Level 2 designation verified by the American College of Surgeons. By obtaining this verification, NorthBay is able to assure its community that when they look to the hospital for care, including trauma care, that they’ll be treated with the highest standards.

NorthBay has definitely raised the bar in identifying and implementing strategies that have been proven to provide the best access to the high-quality care in its community and these same strategies could benefit any hospital faced with the same situation.

If you’re interested in learning more, please read our new case study. You can request a copy by visiting Our Results Page and clicking on the box entitled “NorthBay Hospital Continues to Buck the Trend with Outstanding Results from Surgical Hospitalist Program.”

1 Kutscher, B. Hospital margins slump due to squeeze from volume, rates, investments, Modern Healthcare, June 23, 2014

Case Studies, Surgical Hospitalist Results

Saving $2 Million Annually with a Collaborative Surgical Hospitalist Program

When Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento (SMCS) partnered with Surgical Affiliates Management Group, Inc. (Surgical Affiliates) on a collaborative surgical hospitalist program, the hospital achieved significant improvements in patient care and throughput efficiencies. Additionally, the hospital saw a $2 million annual cost reduction due in part to our evidenced-based, programmatic approach aimed at reducing variation in the delivery of surgical care.

Richard SooHoo, Chief Financial Officer of Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, who was instrumental in bringing Surgical Affiliates to SMCS, stated that implementing our program was not merely a solution for consistent surgical call coverage, but a model for SMCS to deliver a higher standard of emergency surgery coverage to the patients in its community. He noted that the hospital is most proud of sustaining this high level of care due to the collaborative partnership with Surgical Affiliates, which began day one of implementing the surgical hospitalist program.

Mr. SooHoo recently participated with me in a webinar discussing our surgical hospitalist program and its results. Participants learned how our surgical hospitalist programs – like hospitalist programs 20 years ago – is an innovative practice model that gives early adopters a significant competitive advantage. This webinar “How did this hospital save $2 million a year?” is posted on our website’s homepage,

The webinar provides detailed information on our team approach to acute care surgery and how our model delivers better patient care, reduces variation, optimizes capacity and creates a “halo” effect throughout the hospital by improving responsiveness and efficiencies across multiple departments.

If you are interested in learning more about how our partnership with SMCS accomplished these results, please read our most recent case study “The Verdict Is In: Surgical Hospitalist Programs Deliver Improved Results throughout the Hospital”. To request a copy, please visit