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June 2017

Message From The Director

Communicating During Emergencies

An emergency or disaster can strike without warning and it is critical that we are prepared to respond to any situation. This means understanding our roles as disaster service workers and how we can stay informed during or immediately after an emergency.

Updating Contact Information

Employee contact information in iSITE is our source to notify employees 24/7 about disaster response and reporting instructions. It's crucial that your personal and after-hours contact information is kept up to date.

Staying Informed

Our Incident Response Information System or IRIS is the tool we use to share situational awareness about incidents that impact our work. If you haven't done so already I encourage you to sign up to receive IRIS alerts by filling out a UAF. If you're already signed up be sure to check your preferences to ensure you're receiving the alerts you need.

Calling our employee emergency hotline during an emergency is another way to provide you with reporting information and instructions. That number can be found on your disaster service worker badge, 1-866-946-9911.

We tend to think of catastrophic disasters such as earthquakes, floods or terror attacks when it comes to emergency preparedness. But experience tells us that there can be many unanticipated incidents that can significantly impact our ability to do our jobs.

A case in point was a recent law enforcement action in Martinez that resulted in CCHS employees being unable to get to their worksites on Douglas Drive. Police had closed a nearby intersection as they negotiated with a suspect in the area.

During and after the incident, there was a lot of confusion among CCHS employees about their roles and responsibilities, as well as how we use our emergency communications tools.

I know that many of you were concerned that you did not receive a notification from Health Services about the police action. I'd like to take this opportunity to remind you that while it is important to receive this type of incident information in a timely manner, it is not the responsibility of Health Services to conduct notifications relative to law enforcement activities. That responsibility lies with local or county law enforcement agencies.

Sign Up to Receive Notifications

There is a way for you to sign up to receive these types of notifications. The Contra Costa Sheriff's Office, as well as many other local law enforcement agencies, operate such notification systems. The sheriff runs the community warning system. To register for alerts, visit the CWS website. For those wishing to receive alerts specific to Martinez law enforcement actions, you can sign up for Nixle, an SMS-based alert service.

There was also confusion among some staff about the role and purpose of IRIS as it relates to alerting staff about law enforcement activities. We use IRIS to facilitate the collection and sharing of information related to the medical/health system in Contra Costa. In this instance, IRIS was used to provide information about the impacts that law enforcement actions had on CCHS operations, namely the closure of CCHS buildings.

Join Emergency Management Team

I want to remind you about our Department's Emergency Management Team (EMT). EMT includes employees from all CCHS divisions who come together to work on improving how the department responds to emergencies. If you are interested in joining EMT talk to your supervisor.

I hope you will take the steps necessary to stay informed and be prepared for all emergency incidents that could occur in our county.

Going the Extra Mile:

These CCHS Employees are GEMs

Click here to find out how the people named below went the extra mile.

Susan Dagcuta, RN
Graciela Vaquerano
Pamela Anderson-Moore
Chad Henry
Karla Pauig, RN
Melorie Belonguel, RN
Diane Russo
Shanta Ramdeholl
Kenneth "Mike" Allday
Catherine Berg, FNP
Elizabeth Taylor
Wendy McKeever
Denise Root
Vaya Wilde
Martin Lynch
Public Health Care Services Nurses
Caroline Killough
Gurjeet Bhandhal, RN
Kenneth Corbin, RN
Norma Martinez
Alena Cruz
Moges Hailemariam, RN
Camille Nolan
Nula Lakha-Jackson
Maryanne Silva

Erica Patterson
Comfort Nwamuo
Susanne Madsen
Lilian Guzman
Nicole Heath
Michael Dossey
Matthew Luu
Dustin Peasley
Melissa Lovelin
Shari Jones
Deborah Rangel
Dora Regalado
Nati Flores Paniagua
Patricia Berhnardt
Bill Sorrell
Hong Nguyen
Richard Frith
Leonard Ramiro
Gurbir Kaur, RN
Jaqueline Proudfoot, MD
Sonia Sutherland, MD
Nursing Staff at the George & Cynthia Miller Wellness Center
Teresa Carrillo

Affordable Care Act

Medical Staff Rally for Healthcare Coverage in Response to Threat to Obamacare

About 100 physicians, nurses and other healthcare workers gathered in front of Contra Costa Regional Medical Center on May 10 to express their concerns about the impact of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) on patients and the community.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the AHCA in early May. The bill, which is currently being reviewed by the senate, would potentially eliminate protections for patients with pre-existing medical conditions and gut funding for Medicaid, known as Medi-Cal in California.

"The cuts to Medicaid and high levels of uncompensated care this bill would create put our mission to care for the most vulnerable in jeopardy," said Dr. Ori Tzvieli, ambulatory care medical director for CCRMC & Health Centers

Under the AHCA, more than 100,000 Contra Costa County residents could lose health coverage they gained through Obamacare. That figure includes 72,000 people who are benefiting from Medi-Cal expansion.

Several physicians, including CCHS Director Dr. William Walker, spoke at the rally, which was organized by members of the medical staff.

Communicable Disease

Tuberculosis Testing at Middle School in San Pablo

Health Services staff provided two tuberculosis (TB) testing clinics at Helms Middle School in San Pablo for follow-up screening after a member of the school community was diagnosed with active tuberculosis.

Staff from our Public Health Division, including TB Control, Health Emergency Response, Public Health Lab, Disease Investigation and Control, Immunization and Public Health Administration worked with volunteers from the Medical Reserve Corps on May 8 and June 5 to test nearly 150 people who likely shared indoor airspace when the case was contagious.

The response, led by TB Control, included working with the school to identify those who were likely exposed, setting up the school-based clinic, communicating with families and processing and testing blood samples. Two clinics were needed to identify any changes in test results, as it can take several weeks before an infection becomes detectable following exposure to tuberculosis.

Almost everyone identified as possibly exposed at the school was tested at these clinics. A small number was not tested. TB Control Program staff will offer to test any potentially exposed people who were not screened at the school clinics, and work to obtain results of TB tests done by other medical providers. The investigation by the TB Control Program is still ongoing to determine whether or not there was likely transmission at the school.

Emergency Medical Services

Contra Costa Commemorates 40 Years of Paramedic Service During EMS Week

The Emergency Medical Services Division (EMS) celebrated the 40-year anniversary of professional paramedic service in Contra Costa County at the Board of Supervisors during national EMS Week.

In 1977, the first local ambulances with paramedics were deployed in the county, providing advanced life support services as part of enhanced prehospital care the county's EMS System established through the federal Emergency Medical Services Systems Act.

Today, Contra Costa EMS is recognized as a leader in quality prehospital care throughout California, with specialty programs to reduce loss of life, including systems of care for high-risk heart attack (STEMI), stroke, cardiac arrest and EMS for children.

National EMS Week is held each May to promote public safety and honor frontline EMS workers.

EMS and Contra Costa County Fire Protection District hosted a celebration barbecue on May 22 at the district's training center in Concord, which included firefighters, paramedics, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), dispatchers, hospital emergency department staffers, law enforcement partners and many others.

Visit to learn more about the Contra Costa EMS system, and for links to follow Contra Costa EMS on Facebook and Twitter.

CCRMC & Health Centers

Brentwood Health Center Expansion Celebration

Congressman Jerry McNerney and Supervisor Diane Burgis joined us on May 31 to celebrate the expansion of the Brentwood Health Center. The health center has added eight exam rooms and hired more primary care providers, allowing us to accommodate hundreds more office visits every month

Clinic staff also gave Congressman McNerney a tour of the expanded space at the health center, which has increased its number of empaneled patients from 7,720 to 12,600 since the Affordable Care Act went into effect in 2014. Our Pittsburg Health Center will be unveiling its own expansion later this summer.

Electronic Health Record

Upgrade to Our Electronic Health Record Coming in July

On July 22, we will be upgrading ccLink, our electronic health record, to the 2017 version of Epic's software. This upgrade will improve the system's performance for CCMRC & Health Centers, Contra Costa Health Plan and Behavioral Health.

It will take about six hours to switch to the updated software. From 2 a.m. to about 8 a.m. on July 22, affected agencies will need to follow downtime procedures while the system is offline.

The upgraded software contains important enhancements and a new look, but it is not expected to change the workflow for most users. Patients will get a redesigned version of myccLink, our online patient portal, and a more user-friendly and shorter version of their after visit summaries.

In the weeks before the upgrade, IT will be conducting training for affected staff, including doing site visits to our ambulatory health centers. Staff who experience problems following the conversion should call the Help Desk at 925-957-7272.

For more information, contact Ates Temeltas from IT at 925-335-8827.

Staff Recognition

Nominate Someone for the Ruth Pease Award

Do you know someone who has gone to extraordinary lengths to help patients? If so, nominate them for the Ruth Pease Award.

This award is given by the Medical Staff to a non-physician who exemplifies the dedication of Ruth Pease,a longtime CCHS nurse tirelessly to positively on behalf of patients. The aware will be presented at the annual Medical Staff Dinner & Dance on September 22, 2017-Pleasant Hill Community Center.

Be sure to include nominee's name, work location and reason why you are nominating them

Please submit your nominations via email to no later than Tuesday, July 3.

Report Shows Child Deaths in Contra Costa Are Often Preventable

A review of 21 child deaths in Contra Costa during 2013 shows that nearly all of them were preventable.

The report, produced by the Contra Costa Child Death Review Team and the Child Abuse Prevention Council of Contra Costa County, found that 18 of the cases were "probably preventable," including deaths by drowning, motor vehicle crash, sleep-related deaths including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and accidental asphyxia, and firearms.

The 2013 Contra Costa County Child Death Report offers several recommendations for reducing the incidence of future childhood deaths, including a countywide "Safe to Sleep" campaign, promotion of active supervision and child abuse prevention, youth anti-violence programs and firearm safety laws.

The team includes representatives from the Contra Costa Sheriff-Coroner, District Attorney, local police, Health Services, Children & Family Services and others. Dr. Jim Carpenter, a pediatrician at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center, chairs the team.

The team reviews coroner's investigations of some child deaths to determine if and how they could have been prevented. The team does not review natural deaths in which the child was receiving medical care for a known condition, such as a disease, that caused the death.

Coroner's cases that were reviewed represented about one-quarter of the county's child deaths in 2013.


Thanks to these employees who have given us long years of service:

35 Years

Eva L. Lodetti, Theo W. Durden (Employee retired 03/31/17)

30 Years

Alfreda Lattier, Nikita A. Hughes

25 Years

Cynthia Cook (Employee retired 12/31/16), Soheila R. Ghanadan, Vernon C. Hampton, Eve D. Cominos

20 Years

Rofel Mitra, Christina M. Reed

15 Years

Mary R. Azzopardi, Somchith Phonboupha, Teri A. Williams, Adeebeh Fakurnejad, Alexandra R. McMullen, Nora J. Meadows, Paul R. Manaut, Danielle R. Brodus-Zamora, Edward R. Donnelly, Jr., Sherrill M. Shamblin, Sandeep K. Dosanjh, Kennisha A. Johnson, Ericia L. Keithlin, TaiYun Roe, Nalini Singh, Jose I. Yasul, III, Sheryl A. Wiseman

10 Years

Oleg Andreev, Yves C. Mottier, Francis Lee, Charlene N. Seaberry, Chukwuma V.S. Ubannwa, Judith E, Cranmer, Emmanuel A. Asabia, Gina L. Compilli-Diaz, Darlene D. Hall, Stacey l. Harris- Brinser, Maria T. Ortega, Jamie M. Boudreau, Deboran Everist, Will C. Sheldon, Josefina Zepeda, Anders W. Gaeth, Navindranauth Rampersaud, Jeffrey J. Tipton

Send feedback and story ideas to editor Will Harper at