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Sutter Health Launches Northern California Physician Network
Date:2/22/2008

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Feb. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Sutter Health is creating a network of more than 3,000 Northern California primary care and specialist physicians committed to providing patients with more convenient access to consistently high-quality health care services. The Sutter Medical Network will have a presence in dozens of cities and towns across Northern California -- from Sonoma County to the Central Valley and from Santa Cruz to the Mother Lode foothills.

By joining the network, physician groups commit to the rigorous process of working together to develop and follow clinical guidelines based on proven best medical practices, addressing nationally identified priorities for improving health care, seeking to improve affordability of health services and establishing standards for timely appointments and specialist referrals. Physicians will review and measure performance based on common and regular reports. All of these efforts will benefit patients, their families and the employers who often help pay for health insurance.

"The Sutter Medical Network was designed by physicians with today's discerning health care consumers in mind," said David Druker, M.D., CEO of Sutter-affiliated Palo Alto Medical Foundation who led development of the network. "The Sutter Medical Network will provide a consistent approach to delivering the highest quality medical care to patients, including clinical guidelines and medical treatments based on recognized best practices, and a common approach to making prompt patient appointments and referrals," Druker said.

"While the words 'Sutter physician' have always stood for quality, the Sutter Medical Network will more clearly define what it means to be a Sutter-affiliated doctor and how this benefits their patients and each other," said Sutter Health President and CEO Patrick Fry. "Participating physician organizations will commit to best-practice approaches with an eye toward creating a more organized, patient friendly system of care. It's about delivering a more consistent experience where and when patients need it. We've all read about the need to improve U.S. health care, and I am proud that these physicians are stepping up to lead the transformation that's needed."

Physicians from some of Northern California's highest rated physician groups have come together to create the network and participate as charter members. Participating are all of Sutter Health's affiliated physician organizations as well as four well-known Northern California independent physician associations. Sutter affiliates include Palo Alto Medical Foundation, the Physician Foundation at California Pacific Medical Center, Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation, Sutter Medical Foundation North Bay, Sutter Gould Medical Foundation, Sutter Medical Foundation, Sutter North Medical Foundation and Sutter Regional Medical Foundation. Participating independent practice associations are the Marin IPA, Alta Bates Medical Group, Mills-Peninsula Medical Group and Sutter Independent Physicians.

Network Leader Named

Sutter Health also announced that Jeffrey Burnich, M.D. has assumed the new position of senior vice president and executive officer of the Sutter Medical Network. Dr. Burnich, who reports to Sutter Health's president and CEO, previously served as chief medical officer and senior vice president of System Care Management for Mount Carmel Health System in Columbus, Ohio.

An internal medicine physician, Dr. Burnich joined Mount Carmel in 1998 as senior vice president of System Care Management. He was responsible for developing a structure for ongoing clinical excellence through the use of demonstrated best clinical practices and evidence-based medicine. Dr. Burnich holds a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Cincinnati and is a graduate of the Ohio State University College of Medicine.

About Sutter Health

Sutter Health is a family of physician organizations, not-for-profit hospitals and other health care service providers that share resources and expertise to advance health care quality and access. Serving more than 100 communities in Northern California, Sutter Health is a regional leader in cardiac care, cancer treatment, orthopedics, obstetrics, and newborn intensive care, and is a pioneer in advanced patient safety technology. For more information, visit http://www.sutterhealth.org.

Physician Organizations Participating in the Sutter Medical Network

Medical Foundations:

-- Palo Alto Medical Foundation (including Palo Alto Foundation Medical

Group; formerly Palo Alto Medical Clinic, Camino Medical Group and

Santa Cruz Medical Clinic)

-- Physician Foundation at California Pacific Medical Center (including

Physician Foundation Medical Associates, Inc. and Marin Headlands

Medical Group)

-- Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation (including East Bay Physicians

Medical Group)

-- Sutter Medical Foundation North Bay (including Sutter Medical Group of

the Redwoods)

-- Sutter Gould Medical Foundation (including Gould Medical Group)

-- Sutter Medical Foundation (including Sutter Medical Group, Sutter

Neuroscience Medical Group and Sutter West Medical Group)

-- Sutter North Medical Foundation (including Sutter North Medical Group)

-- Sutter Regional Medical Foundation (including Solano Regional Medical

Group and Sutter Delta Medical Group)

Independent Practice Associations:

-- Alta Bates Medical Group

-- Marin IPA

-- Mills-Peninsula Medical Group

-- Sutter Independent Physicians


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SOURCE Sutter Health
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