Focusing on Affordability.

Affordability Matters – To Everyone

Controlling healthcare costs and delivering high-value care is an important focus at Sutter. It’s important to us because it benefits our patients, their families, and the broader healthcare system.

Our affordability efforts are centered on finding efficiencies, reducing costs, enhancing the patient experience and delivering the best possible outcomes. Through an efficient, value-based care model we’re able to reduce medical complications, unnecessary procedures and hospital stays, which in turn, helps lower the total cost of care for our patients and payors today and in the future.

Controlling Costs & Improving Care

Sutter’s integrated network is able to scale best practices across multiple care sites, allowing for investments in innovations and technologies that save lives, deliver efficient care and shorter stays while helping our patients experience better outcomes and, ultimately, more affordable healthcare.  

Our efforts include:

Investing in Life-Saving Innovation: Making long-term investments in innovation and technology across the Sutter Health network has expanded patient access to the newest and best life-saving techniques, such as our e-ICU system, tele-stroke program and obstetric care best practices.

Spreading Best Practices: Applying best practices across the network helps reduce treatment variations and promotes high-quality care.

BEST PRACTICES:

Sutter rapidly scaled best practices to care for COVID-19 patients systemwide, reducing hospital stays from an average of 20 days early in the pandemic to just 8 days today.

CREATING EFFICIENCIES:

Saved $30 million in two years by applying clinical best practices across our integrated network.

Focusing on Total Cost of Care: By embracing value-based care we are able to broaden our focus from the traditional analysis—one that’s based on the cost of individual services—to look more comprehensively at how much it costs to take care of a patient over time. This ensures we can prioritize patient outcomes and identify efficiencies that can reduce costs, while providing a much more accurate measure of the actual, long-term costs that impact our patients and our healthcare system.

A Medicare expenditure analysis of our acute care sites and physician groups shows that our focus on lowering total cost of care is working:

BEST PRACTICES:

CREATING EFFICIENCIES:

Providing Cost Transparency

While independent analyses like this one have reported Sutter’s charges to be competitive and comparable to the market, it’s important for consumers to have access to meaningful, actionable cost information that can help them make decisions about their healthcare. This includes helping them to understand their potential out of pocket costs for anticipated healthcare services. That is why we offer tools such as the Sutter Healthcare Cost Estimator, which can be used to estimate the individual costs of more than 200 frequently used medical services provided by Sutter physician organizations.

Targeting Population Health

Sutter is actively focusing on population health, which is an approach that employs holistic healthcare to empower communities and drives equitable health outcomes for all. Our goal is to reach patients before they enter our hospital walls—advancing whole-person health that is personalized to the individuals we serve.

Promoting Efficiencies & Streamlining Services

Sutter’s integration allows us to carefully manage resources across the network, helping us to identify and deliver on opportunities to streamline services, reduce costs, and promote efficiencies.

Saved $473 million over a five-year period through coordinated resource management like vendor consolidation.

Focusing on Our Region

Northern California is home to a thriving healthcare region with more than a dozen hospital systems and a unique set of cost drivers for healthcare providers.

Our region has:

Factors driving up hospital costs throughout the region include:

Despite these factors, Sutter’s average overall rate increases to health plans have been held to less than 3% annually since 2014.

Looking forward, Sutter Health is prioritizing continued work across our integrated network to lower the total cost of care for our patients. This focus will allow us to continue delivering high-quality, affordable healthcare that focuses on prevention and wellness while addressing some of the factors that impact costs for patients – and the nation’s broader healthcare system – over time.

[1] The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice; The Dartmouth Atlas Data; Medicare spending per decedent during the last two years of life; https://atlasdata.dartmouth.edu/downloads/eol_chronic

[2] 2016 CMS Quality and Resource Use Reports for Sutter Health Foundations in Northern California.

[3] Sutter Health’s Advanced Illness Management(AIM)® Program provides personalized, home-based medical care and emotional support to patients with advanced chronic illness. The data included refers to the second and third quarters of 2020, and analyzed inpatient, emergency department and intensive care unit (ICU) services 90 days preceding and 90 days after becoming part of the AIM® program.

[4] This data includes hospital systems as defined by OSHPD, healthcare organizations that define themselves as a health system and independent hospitals.