Press Release

Thursday, June 18, 2015
Media Contact:
Cindy Ernst, VP, Operations

Integrated Healthcare Association Selected as Choosing Wisely Grantee in Campaign to Reduce Use of Unnecessary Tests and Treatments

Oakland , CA

The ABIM Foundation announced today that the Integrated Healthcare Association (IHA) has been selected as a grantee in the Choosing Wisely campaign to reduce the use of tests and treatments in California that national medical specialty societies have said are often overused and may be unnecessary. The grant program, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, brings together health care organizations from across the country that have built strong multi-stakeholder alliances.

IHA will partner with provider organizations Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group (San Diego County) and Sutter Health (Sacramento/Central Valley/San Francisco Bay), the California chapter of the American College of Physicians, the Center for Healthcare Decisions, and Blue Shield of California. Their three-year project will aim to reduce the utilization of antibiotics for adult bronchitis, diagnostic testing for low back pain, pre-operative stress testing, imaging for uncomplicated headache and repetitive complete blood count (CBC) and chemistry testing.

“The Choosing Wisely lists of tests and treatments provide a starting place for efforts to reduce care that is unnecessary and may be harmful, along with tools and content that support conversations between clinicians and patients,” said Jill Yegian, senior vice president of IHA. “The strong partnerships that the Integrated Healthcare Association has built in California will help drive this work forward so that we can reduce waste and overuse in our nation’s health care system together.”

The focus on antibiotic overuse was driven by estimates from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that more than half the antibiotics used in the United States are prescribed unnecessarily or used improperly. Campaign partner Consumer Reports has also produced a number of patient-friendly resources about antibiotic overuse that are publicly available on its online ‘antibiotics hub’ which includes tools and resources covering a variety of situations patients may encounter.

IHA and its partners aim to promote the Choosing Wisely initiative through clinical interventions, consumer engagement strategies, and communication efforts targeting physicians, provider systems, health plans, purchasers, consumers and policymakers across the state.

The project’s two provider organization partners, Sutter Health and Sharp Rees-Stealy, will take the lead on achieving ambitious targets to reduce overuse through proposed interventions that are evidence-based and supported by published literature, in their respective regions. The Center for Healthcare Decisions will focus on consumer engagement efforts, while the American College of Physicians (ACP), California Chapter, will lead physician-facing communications to their network of 9,300 internists that reinforce the National ACP’s core value of Internal Medicine physicians as leaders in delivering high-value, cost-conscious care that is tailored to the needs of the individual patient.

In addition to working with Sutter Health and Sharp Rees-Stealy, Blue Shield of California plans to engage the providers in its Accountable Care Organization (ACO) program to share and discuss Choosing Wisely content with patients at the point of care. Blue Shield’s ACO collaborations feature strong physician leadership and aligned incentives for improving care quality and patient experience while reducing costs. The plan will work with its providers to engage members and empower them to actively participate in their healthcare decisions.

The ABIM Foundation grant amount is $315,000. In addition to IHA and its partners, other grantees awarded similar funding include: Greater Detroit Area Health Council; Maine Quality Counts; North Carolina Healthcare Quality Alliance; UCLA Department of Medicine; Washington Health Alliance; and Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality.

About the Integrated Healthcare Association

The Integrated Healthcare Association (IHA) is a nonprofit multi-stakeholder leadership group that promotes healthcare quality improvement, accountability and affordability for the benefit of all Californians. IHA has over a decade of experience leading regional and statewide performance measurement and incentive programs, and serving as an incubator for pilot programs and demonstration projects. As a regional healthcare improvement collaborative, IHA convenes diverse, cross-sector organizations to collaborate on challenging healthcare issues. Please visit:

About Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group

Sharp Rees-Stealy is one of the largest, most comprehensive medical groups in San Diego County with 21 locations. Founded in 1923, our multispecialty medical group of more than 470 physicians and 2,400 staff members represent virtually every field of medicine and are dedicated to delivering the extraordinary level of caring called The Sharp Experience, which combines clinical excellence, advanced technology and patient- and family-centered care. Please visit:

About Sutter Health

Serving patients and their families in more than 100 Northern California cities and towns, Sutter Health doctors, not-for-profit hospitals and other health care service providers share resources and expertise to advance health care quality and access. The Sutter Medical Network includes many of California’s top-performing, highest-quality physician organizations as measured annually by the Integrated Healthcare Association. Sutter-affiliated hospitals are regional leaders in cardiac care, women’s and children’s services, cancer care, orthopedics and advanced patient-safety technology. For more information about the not-for-profit Sutter Health network visit: | | |

About the American College of Physicians

The American College of Physicians (ACP) is a national organization of internists — physician specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. ACP is the largest medical-specialty organization and second-largest physician group in the United States. Its membership of 141,000 includes internists, internal medicine subspecialists, and medical students, residents, and fellows. Please visit:

About the Center for Healthcare Decisions

The Center for Healthcare Decisions’ (CHCD) mission is to advance health care that reflects the values of an informed public. Founded in 1994, CHCD is a non-partisan, non-profit organization based in Sacramento, CA. Through deliberative group processes, CHCD captures and communicates the public voice on contemporary, often controversial, local, state or national health care policy. Please visit:

About Blue Shield of California

Blue Shield of California, an independent member of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, is a not-for-profit health plan with 3.5 million members, 5,000 employees and more than $13 billion in annual revenue. Founded in 1939 and headquartered in San Francisco, Blue Shield of California provides health, dental, vision, and Medicare health care service plans in California. The company’s mission is to ensure all Californians have access to high-quality care at an affordable price. Blue Shield has contributed more than $325 million over the past ten years to the Blue Shield of California Foundation. Please visit

About the ABIM Foundation:

The mission of the ABIM Foundation is to advance medical professionalism to improve the health care system. We achieve this by collaborating with physicians and physician leaders, medical trainees, health care delivery systems, payers, policy makers, consumer organizations and patients to foster a shared understanding of professionalism and how they can adopt the tenets of professionalism in practice. To learn more about the ABIM Foundation, visit, read the ABIM Foundation blog or connect with the ABIM Foundation on Facebook and Twitter.