Sutter Health

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Sutter Health
Founded1921; 99 years ago (1921)
Number of locations
24 acute care hospitals
Area served
California, Hawaii
Key people
Sarah Krevans, President & CEO
Number of employees

Sutter Health is a not-for-profit health system in Northern California, headquartered in Sacramento. It includes doctors, hospitals and other health care services in more than 100 Northern California cities and towns. Major service lines of Sutter Health-affiliated hospitals include cardiac care, women's and children's services, cancer care, orthopedics and advanced patient safety technology.

Early history[edit]

The organization takes its name from one of Sacramento’s original European settlements, Sutter's Fort, built by California pioneer John Sutter. In response to the 1918 flu pandemic, community leaders constructed the first Sutter Hospital in the vicinity of the fort, replacing an old adobe house that had previously served as a makeshift hospital. Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento occupies this site today.

Other Sutter Health-affiliated hospitals date back to the 1800s and were some of Northern California's earliest health care providers. For example, California Pacific Medical Center[1] in San Francisco was formed out of successive hospital and medical school mergers dating back to the city's earliest days of organized medicine. In 1866, the predecessor of today's Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa opened its doors to residents of Sonoma County.

Many of the health care facilities that eventually became part of the Sutter Health network were created as charitable hospitals by community members in cities coping with growing populations, epidemics, fires, floods and earthquakes.[2][3]

Late 20th century[edit]

Sutter Health was officially created in 1981 as a small Sacramento health care system. A few years earlier, the organization had introduced a series of reforms in governance, communication, and accountability in the wake of a late 1970s scandal involving William Miofsky, a physician who was charged with and pleaded no contest to felony charges of sexually abusing sedated Sutter hospital female patients.[4]

Over the next 15 years, government cutbacks, the advent of managed care and other financial pressures fueled an increase in hospital and physician organization mergers, acquisitions and affiliations.[5] By 1995, Sutter Health had grown to include 18 affiliated hospitals, seven medical foundations (physician organizations) and numerous outpatient care centers throughout Northern California.

Meanwhile, in the San Francisco Bay Area, another affiliation of hospitals was forming. By 1986, Pacific Presbyterian Medical Center in San Francisco, Mills-Peninsula Hospital in San Mateo and Marin General Hospital in Greenbrae had created an affiliation known as California Healthcare System (CHS). Berkeley-based Alta Bates Corporation (now known as Alta Bates Summit Medical Center) joined CHS in 1992, the same year that saw the creation of California Pacific Medical Center, formed through a merger of Pacific Presbyterian and Children's Hospital of San Francisco.

In January 1996, Sutter Health and California Healthcare System merged.

21st century[edit]

The new century brought advances in health care technology and Sutter Health was among the first health systems in the United States to install bar code medication safety technology and an electronic intensive care unit.[6]

In 2004, 13 Sutter Health hospitals were among 25 statewide dropped by the California Public Employees Retirement System from one of its HMO networks because of cost-related concerns.[7]

Also in 2004 Sutter Health implemented a systemwide policy for charity care and health care discounts for uninsured and underinsured patients. In 2006 Sutter Health expanded its policy to offer automatic discounts to uninsured patients. Later it, along with several other health systems, reached settlement agreements in class-action lawsuits related to the billing of uninsured patients.[8]

In 2015, they became the jersey sponsor of the San Jose Earthquakes.


The Sutter Health Network currently consists of eight physician foundations, 24 acute care hospitals, cancer centers, a regional home health and hospice organization, long-term care centers, a university and research institutes.

In 2014, Sutter Health redesigned its operations into two geographic regions and four broad focus areas.

Focus Areas

  • Patient Experience
  • Medical and Market Networks
  • Enterprise Transformation
  • Strategy and Innovation

Sutter Health Bay Area Operating Unit

Sutter Health Valley Area Operating Unit

  • Memorial Hospital Los Banos
  • Memorial Medical Center
  • Sutter Gould Medical Foundation
  • Sutter Tracy Community Hospital
  • Sutter Amador Hospital
  • Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital
  • Sutter Davis Hospital
  • Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento
  • Sutter Center for Psychiatry
  • Sutter Medical Foundation
    • Sutter Physicians Alliance
    • Sutter North Medical Group
    • Sutter Medical Group
  • Sutter Roseville Medical Center
  • Sutter Solano Medical Center
  • Sutter Surgical Hospital North Valley

Affiliated provider organizations not aligned with a region because of locations or other considerations

On June 30, 2010 Marin General Hospital, Greenbrae transitioned from the Sutter Health network to the Marin Healthcare District. The billing center has been moved to Utah.

Clinical services[edit]

Sutter Health doctors and hospitals provide a variety of clinical services including cancer care, complementary medicine, diabetes care, heart care, children's health, home health/hospice, mental health care, orthopedics, pregnancy and childbirth, sleep disorders, transplant services and weight loss surgery (bariatrics). Until the opening of UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital's pediatric emergency department in 2013,[9] Sutter ran the only pediatric emergency department in San Francisco.[10]

Sutter Health also operates outpatient surgery centers in 13 communities and three retail-based Sutter Express Care health clinics in the greater Sacramento region.


Sutter Health doctors and hospitals participate in voluntary and mandatory programs that publicly report patient satisfaction, cost, utilization and quality of care measures. These include Hospital Compare, California Healthcare Foundation, California Office of the Patient Advocate (OPA), and The Leapfrog Group.

Sutter Health affiliated hospitals and medical groups, have been recognized by a number of independent health care quality organizations. For example:

  • 2016, Truven Health Analytics named Sutter Health and Sutter's Valley Area among the top-performing health systems in the country. In its 15 Top Health Systems® study, Truven recognized Sutter Health and its Valley Area as two of the nation's top five performers among large health care systems.
  • 2009, the Lewin Group ranked Sutter Health the top health care system in California for quality.[11]
  • 2009, SDI Health, the health care research firm formerly named Verispan, ranked Sutter Health fifth among the "Top 100" integrated health care networks in the United States.[12]
  • 2008, The Leapfrog Group ranked two Sutter Health-affiliated hospitals to its “Top Hospitals” list.[13]
  • 2008, the Integrated Healthcare Association recognized several Sutter Health affiliates for accomplishments in areas of clinical care including heart care, preventive care, chronic care management, pneumonia, patient satisfaction and use of information technology.[14]
  • 2007, the Adaptive Business Leaders (ABL) Organization named Sutter Health's eICU as most innovative approach to health care delivery.[15][16]

Individual performance measures for Sutter Health hospitals and affiliated medical groups are posted on the Sutter Health Web site.


In 2015, NPR in Los Angeles reported that the Sutter Health network doctors are standardizing treatment and testing options to make care more consistent and help reduce overall costs for patients, while maintaining care quality.[17]

In 2014, the Brookings Institution[18] and The Atlantic[19] wrote about Sutter Health's nationally recognized Advanced Illness Management program, which improves quality of life for patients with advanced, chronic illness, reduces unnecessary hospitalizations, and makes care more cost effective.

A 2013 New York Times article focused on hospital costs in the expensive cities of San Francisco and New York. Sutter Health, which has medical centers in San Francisco, was included in the story.[20]

In 2014, the UFCW & Employers Benefit Trust (UEBT) filed a class action antitrust lawsuit against Sutter Health.[21] Blue Shield spokesman Steven Shivinsky argued "Sutter has a long history of driving up the cost of healthcare. Now they are seeking new contract terms that would insulate them from any potential litigation." Blue Shield has said that Sutter's prices are 30% higher than other hospitals.[22]

In 2018, the Attorney General of California filed a lawsuit against Sutter Health, alleging antitrust.[23]

Labor relations[edit]

Sutter Health's physician organizations, hospitals, home health and other services have nearly 60 locally negotiated collective bargaining agreements with more than one dozen different labor unions. Approximately 13,700 employees have elected to work under labor union contracts. Sutter Health and its affiliates employ a total of approximately 48,000 people.

In November 2012, over 3,000 nurses went on strike.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ California Pacific Medical Center Women Pioneers in San Francisco Medicine, San Francisco Medical Society.
  2. ^ "1868-1898 - Trained Nurses for San Francisco - A History of UCSF".
  3. ^[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Locke, Cathy (2017-05-03). "Crime Q&A: What happened to anesthesiologist accused of sexually abusing patients?". The Sacramento Bee. ISSN 0890-5738. Retrieved 2018-09-12.
  5. ^ California's Closed Hospitals, Nicholas C. Petris Center on Health Care Markets And Consumer Welfare University Of California, Berkeley School Of Public Health
  6. ^ Remote intensive care that's more intensive, US News and World Report. Archived 2011-09-22 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ CalPERS gets OK to drop hospitals, Oakland Tribune.
  8. ^ Rebecca Vesely (August 4, 2006). "Sutter Health settles lawsuit for $275 million". East Bay Times. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
  9. ^ Poulos, Theresa. "UCSF Opens New Pediatric Emergency Department". University of California San Francisco. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  10. ^ California Pacific inaugurates $3.7 million ER for kids, San Francisco Business Times.
  11. ^ The Lewin Group Analysis of Performance of Systems with More than Four Hospitals on Quality and Patient Satisfaction Measures: Q1 2007 thru Q4 2007, The Lewin Group. Archived 2011-07-13 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Sutter Health and UC Davis recognized for integration, San Francisco Business Times.
  13. ^ Alta Bates, CPMC and Stanford hop on Leapfrog's list, San Francisco Business Times.
  14. ^ Integrated Healthcare Association (IHA) Announces Pay for Performance Program Results and Award Winners, Integrated Healthcare Association.[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ Innovations in HealthcareSM 11th Annual Awards Event, Adaptive Business Leaders. Archived 2011-09-04 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ Innovations in Healthcare 11th Annual Awards Event, Adaptive Business Leaders. Video: Archived 2009-09-13 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ Plevin, Rebecca (May 6, 2015). "Showing doctors the way to lower cost, improved care". NPR. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
  18. ^ Rauch, Jonathan (December 5, 2013). "Opportunity Knocks at Home: How Home-Based Primary Care Offers a Win-Win for U.S. Health Care". The Brookings Institution. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
  19. ^ Rauch, Jonathan (December 2013). "The Hospital Is No Place for the Elderly". The Atlantic. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
  20. ^ "As Hospital Prices Soar, a Single Stitch Tops $500" Part 5 in a series on health care costs in the United States by Elisabeth Rosenthal in The New York Times December 2, 2013
  21. ^ Communications, Blattel (7 April 2014). "UFCW & Employers Benefit Trust Files Antitrust Class Action Against Sutter Health". GlobeNewswire News Room.
  22. ^ Terhune, Chad Terhune, By Chad. "Blue Shield in dispute with Sutter Health over costs".
  23. ^ "California attorney general sues Sutter Health, alleging unlawful price rises -". 2018-03-31. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  24. ^ "More Than 3k Nurses Begin Two-Day Strike at Sutter Health Hospitals".

External links[edit]