President’s Message

President’s Message

Posted on Apr 2, 2020 in President's Message, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Dear Colleagues,

We are at the forefront of a monumental challenge in the fight against COVID-19. This global pandemic has ripped apart the norms by which we practice medicine, threatens to sicken us as we care for those affected, and will undoubtedly alter forever the nature of our social fabric.

It is with that understanding that I feel ever more committed to my community – my neighbors, my colleagues, and my patients. Every day I go to work, I reassure myself that my training and experience have prepared me for this. Our senior administrative leaders have been working tirelessly with our physicians to plan and execute a strategy for dealing with the pandemic. We are expanding our clinical footprint, re-purposing existing spaces, flexing staff to meet the demands.

Is it enough?

Reading and watching the news is profoundly sobering. New York has a growth and death curve for the disease that surpasses the tragedy occurring in Italy and Spain. Is California only a week or two behind? Did the shelter in place order enacted by our counties and our state do enough to “flatten the curve” locally?  There are more questions than answers.

Let me acknowledge all the fears and anxieties that you face, because I have them too. I worry about getting sick, and exposing my family to disease. I worry about my colleagues who are older and with medical conditions that put them at greater risk. These are my friends. My greatest comfort and expectation is knowing that in these extraordinary times, we physicians will act extraordinarily.  Already I have received pledges of support from physicians in the community, physicians returning to bolster the ranks, and offers from other specialties to fill in wherever they are needed.

 We must also be mindful to care for ourselves in all of this. Get some sleep. Go for a run. Read your kid a story. Catch up on Game of Thrones. Get in touch with friends through FaceTime. In such difficult times, it is often the little things that will get us by.

If those little things are not enough, our EAP for physicians is going live on April 1. This is a resource that can help you with free counseling, referrals for pet care/child care etc.

Call 800-477-2258 or email

You can also reach out to peer support @

Attached is also a list of resources from the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, some of them dealing specifically with coronavirus.

President’s Message

Posted on Mar 3, 2020 in President's Message | 0 comments


My name is Jeff Chen, your new chief of staff. I am an emergency physician by training and have been working at ABSMC for the past 14 years. I am excited to represent all of your concerns over the next two years.

Before going further, I would like to recognize Dr. Jill Kacher Cobb for her incredible leadership, energy, and vision these past two years, and for the remarkable efforts she has made to further physician wellness and engage with our hospital administration to work towards our common goals.

My journey into medicine started of course as a patient. As a young man, I had embarked upon many perilous activities that invariably landed me in the emergency department for treatment. I was always thankful for the care that I received and felt the innate vulnerability that one feels when ill or suffering. It is this intrinsic human-ness that lends to our ability to care for others, that we have been or certainly most will be in that place. As patients, we have implicit trust in our doctors, and yet that faith that the care will be safe, personal, and accessible is not one that is easily achieved.

We practice in difficult times. Our patients expect and deserve the best that we can give. We are constantly asked to do more with less time. Distractions abound. Innovations in technology encourage more time in front of a screen instead of a face. Market forces, legislative mandates, and the changing demographics of our community threaten to curb our ability to practice.

At the heart of it all, the connections we make with our patients, those moments in which we remember that we too are patients, is what makes our care truly special.

Tip of the month:
Practicing safe medicine requires that we be cognizant of the possibility of error. Before critical tasks, whether procedurally based or cognitive:


Congratulations to the ABSMC Mitral Valve program, which earned the Society of Thoracic Surgery 3 star (out of 3 stars) rating for 2016-2019, of which only 4 out of 133 programs in the state received 3 stars! This was due to the combined efforts of our excellent thoracic surgeons, cardiologists, anesthesiologists, and ancillary staff. Kudos!

Jeff Chen MD, MPH, FACEP
Chief of Staff, ABSMC Summit Campus

President’s Message

Posted on Feb 4, 2020 in President's Message | 0 comments

Thank you for the wonderful opportunity to serve you over the past two years as President of the Summit Medical Staff. It’s been an honor leading such an amazing group of physicians and APCs who are truly dedicated to our patients and our community. On February 1, 2020, Jeff Chen, MD (ED physician extraordinaire) began his two year term as President of the Summit Medical Staff. Also, Theresa Kim, MD (General Surgeon) will serve as Vice Present and follow Dr. Chen in two years as President of Summit Medical Staff. Steven Kang, MD (EP) will serve as our Secretary/Treasurer. Donna Tigno, MD (Pulmonary/Critical Care) will serve as Member at Large for the Department of Medicine, and Karen Goodwin, DO (Breast Surgeon) will remain Member at Large for the Department of Surgery. Thank you for serving; we are in good hands!


~David Clark, our Interim CEO, will remain Interim CEO until April. Thank you David!

~Please save the date for Doctor’s Day Monday, March 30, 2020. Buffet breakfast (7-9 a.m.) and luncheon buffet (11 a.m. -1:30 p.m.) will be served in the Bay View Room on the 11th floor. Take the “A” elevators and use your badge to access the 11th floor.

~ABSMC Website Improvement Project: You may receive an email asking you to update your physician profile information. Please update at your convenience. You will need your state license number and NPI number to complete the form. This information will go onto the ABSMC Sutter website and allow you to be searchable on the website. Under interests, please list items that you would like to be searchable. In other words, if you are a general surgeon who does robotic hernia repairs, list robot and hernia under interests. A tip sheet will be included in the email.

~Look our for new bus wraps and billboards advertising ABSMC, coming mid-February!

~Thank you for filling out the Physician Satisfaction Survey. We had a record number of surveys returned this year- 61.1% (up from 46% last year). Dr. Ursi Boynton will share the results with each Department. Also, thank you for taking time to share your thoughts. We have collated the comments and will prioritize and use them as a guide to address our many “opportunities” in 2020.

Construction update:

~Thank you Denise Navellier, Lisa Bailey MD, Marc Schroeder MD, and so many other team members for OR closure planning and coordination for work on the hybrid OR and the air handling system over the holidays. There was a lot of work that went on behind the scenes and all of your effort was greatly appreciated! Construction on the hybrid OR is expected to finish at the end of March and open June 2020.

~Demolition continues on the Summit West Tower and is ahead of schedule. The target for completion is June 2020.

~Phase 1 construction in the ED is underway. Demolition of the former entry vestibule and restrooms has begun and they are building out a new entry vestibule.

~We are waiting for CDPH approval for building a wall to separate zones 2 and 3 for the MRI. Timeline for opening is TBD.

Thank you and cheers!

Jill Kacher Cobb, MD

President’s Message

Posted on Jan 6, 2020 in President's Message | 0 comments

Bygone memories
Rain washing leaves down a hill
Tabula rasa

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had an enjoyable holiday and a chance to reconnect with family and friends. We have a lot to look forward to this next year.

During our peer support journey, we realized that as peer supporters we could only do so much. Some of our colleagues require resources beyond peer support. To address this gap, we are partnering with the Sutter Empolyee Assistance Program (EAP) to offer broader resources to our physicians and advanced practice clinicians.

A special thank you to David Clark, ABSMC CEO, for supporting Physician Wellness by securing the contract for EAP! All medical staff members will be able to access EAP after April 1, 2020, as this is our “go live” date.

The benefit will provide three free sessions every six months that can be used for counseling with licensed therapists or work-life resources. Also, they have a 24 hour a day/7 day a week crisis hotline. Benefits include short term problem resolution in areas including managing stress, parenting and relationships, grief and loss, drug and alcohol use, and managing life and career changes. Work-life program resources include child, elder and pet care referrals, legal and financial consultation, and education referrals and resources.

EAP is strictly confidential and there is no paperwork and no copay. To learn more about the services we will be able to access after April 1st, please visit or call 1-800-477-2258.

Thank you Lenny Husen for organizing two Physician Wellness Retreats in 2020! The first will occur on May 30, 2020 and the second on December 12, 2020. They will both be held at the beautiful and relaxing Green Gulch Zen Center in Marin County. More details to follow.

Also, our Wellness team is developing a budget for fun activities. We currently are exploring many options and will develop a survey monkey to see what interests the medical staff. Stay tuned!

We continue to work with administration and the Bay Operating Unit on growth and strategy for ABSMC. One project is updating physician information on the ABSMC website. Ellen Carroll may reach out to you to provide an information update for the ABSMC website. She also can be reached at if you would like to reach out to her sooner than later to provide your updated information. Also, we are working on a stronger marketing presence in the East Bay. Keep your eye out for new shuttle and bus wraps, along with other marketing strategies!

Wishing you health, happiness and adventure in 2020,

Jill Kacher Cobb, MD President, Summit Medical Staff, ABSMC

President’s Message

Posted on Dec 2, 2019 in President's Message | 0 comments

Hints of cinnamon, a cool breeze tickles your nose, softly painted sky…

Thank you to those who joined us at the Closed Active Medical Staff meeting~we had a great turnout! Below is a summary of our amazing accomplishments over the past year, along with a few other highlights from the meeting. Thank you to all of our wonderful physicians (you!), advanced practice clinicians, nurses and our entire hospital team who’ve helped make this happen!


-CMS 5/5 stars
-Healthgrades America’s Best Hospitals 2019~ABSMC is rated as one of the top 250 hospitals in the country. The award is given for clinical quality outcomes based on 32 conditions and procedures, for exceptional, comprehensive quality of care.
-NISQIP Meritorious Award~we’ve received this award for the past 7 out of 8 years for top surgical quality of care in the country.
-Society of Thoracic Surgeons distinguished 3 star rating~designating us as one of the top hospitals in the country for heart surgery. 
-American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Get with the Guidelines Gold Plus Quality Award~given to us for the 10th consecutive year.
-We continue to earn the Target Stroke Honor Roll Elite Award for quick treatment of stroke patients.
-We continue to be a Bariatric Center of Excellence.
-We continue to be a Robotic Hernia Mentor Case Observation Site.
-We are a leader in LGBTQ health care, once again receiving the LGBTQ Health Care Equality Award.

Medical Staff Awards:

-Congratulations to the Bariatric Clinic who received the President’s Award for going above and beyond while taking care of patients in our community!

-Congratulations to the Preop Clinic who received the Quality Award for improving the quality of care for our patients!

Other highlights:

-We formed the nominating committee at the meeting, and the committee met the following week. The nominee for Vice Chief of Staff (who will become Chief of Staff) is Theresa Kim, MD and Secretary/Treasurer is Steven Kang, MD. Ballots will follow in approximately one month. Please remember to vote in the election!
-We continue to focus on growth and strategy.
-A Joint Venture with Stanford to develop a Comprehensive Cancer Center was announced earlier this year.
-We have a new Bioethicist, Robert Fulbright.
-We added Department Chairs to the Credentials Committee.
-Philanthropy has been deconstructed to local councils at each affiliate to better capture donors. Our partnership with Philanthropy continues to strengthen as we rely on more funds from Philanthropy for capital investment.
-We continue to develop our Physician Wellness Program~we will offer the Employee Assistance Program for all members of the Medical Staff by the middle of next year. The program offers initial counseling sessions, they help identify local counseling resources covered by individual insurance plans, and offer a 24 hr/7 day a week crisis hotline, allowing us to better support the mental health needs of our physicians and APC’s. Thank you to David Clark for helping make this happen! More to come…
-We just passed the one year anniversary of launching our Peer Support Program. The program offers the gift of compassionate listening to any member of the medical staff for any reason. The Peer Support email is and the phone number is 510-869-8688.
-We have wellness resources on the intranet.
-Dr. Lenny Husen is planning two, yes two, Wellness Retreats for 2020. Thank you Lenny! Details to follow.
-Our Wellness program also plans to look at addressing gender bias in 2020.

-Thank you for filling out the Physician Satisfaction Survey! We had a record number of surveys returned this year. The results of the survey will be reported to each department in early 2020. There will be a special focus on the comments section to batch and address the “pebbles in your shoe”. While we may not be able to solve all problems, we will look into addressing, and begin to address, many of the issues brought forward. Please be patient, offer help to solve problems, and become a part of the solution!

Wishing you a very Happy Holiday season,

Jill Kacher Cobb, MD
President, Summit Medical Staff, ABSMC

President’s Message

Posted on Nov 1, 2019 in President's Message | 0 comments

Crisp air, swirling leaves
Reflections in a puddle
Memories blow, bye

~The Closed Active Medical Staff Meeting will take place in Bechtel Hall, Samuel Merritt University (west of the hospital main entrance), on November 14 and will begin at 5:30 pm with food, drinks and social time. Bring a friend (or your department)! Come find out what we’ve been up to over the past year. We hope to see you all there!

~The Medical Staff Holiday Party at Trader Vics is December 11, 2019. Please save the date! Come socialize and enjoy the company of your colleagues, and have dinner, drinks and fun!

~Congratulations to our Orthopedic Surgeons, OR and floor orthopedic nurses, techs and staff, the Preop Clinic, the Department of Internal Medicine, the Department of Anesthesiology, our quality staff, and the entire team for a successful biannual Joint Commission Hip and Knee Certification survey. Your great teamwork is a testament to our outstanding orthopedic care.

~Work on the hybrid OR will interfere with the normal Operating Room schedule from November 26 until 6 am Monday December 2 and December 23 until 6 am December 30. Traffic outside of the OR will be rerouted. Please look out for further information via email as the details become available.

~Medical Staff Leadership continues to work with Administration and Tyler Bennett to create a growth strategy for ABSMC. We also are engaged in conversations with the Marketing team regarding local marketing and the ABSMC website. Thank you all for your partnership.

~Thank you for filing out the Physician Satisfaction survey. If you have not already, please fill it out soon. Also, please add detail to your free text answers, as we will work with administration and do our best to address the issues you bring forward. A new question was added regarding wellness; please do share your ideas! Ursi is also raffling two restaurant gift certificates per week. Names will be randomly selected by NRC as the results of the survey are de-identified.

~Unfortunately, the MRI opening is postponed for six months due to the need to create a zone 2 screening area.

~We are currently focusing on improving patient satisfaction, specifically on nurse and physician communication. There are a few small things we can do to improve our communication with patients, including introducing ourselves (and our role in their care), sitting down while listening and discussing their plan of care, asking “what questions do you have for me today”, and asking the patient to repeat to you what their plan is for the day.

~An EPIC upgrade will occur on November 10. Details are below. Of note, you will now have the ability to sign verbal orders on Haiku. Be sure to update Haiku on your device to ensure proper functionality.

~Neurointerventional Radiology is now operational 24/7.

~Our Peer Support team continues to reach out to colleagues. We are here for you! Our email is peeroutreachABSMC@gmail.comand telephone number is 510-869-8688. All conversations are confidential and 1157 protected.

Take care and have a wonderful Thanksgiving,

Jill Kacher Cobb, MD
President, Summit Medical Staff