Electric utility aims to reduce greenhouse gases through “electrification”
Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - SMUD and top national homebuilder D.R. Horton are teaming up to build 104 all-electric homes in two new neighborhoods. These “all-electric communities” – “Juniper,” which is planned to include 66 homes, and “Independence," which is anticipated to include 38 homes, are both located in North Natomas and will be priced for first-time homebuyers. The homes are included in the SMUD Smart Home program and are part of a broader electrification effort by SMUD, the first of its kind in the USA.
Groundbreaking for the subdivisions began earlier this summer. The model homes are completed, and the communities are open for sale. Construction will continue through 2019. If built as planned, SMUD will provide $466,000 in incentives to D.R. Horton for including appliances and equipment to make the homes all-electric. These include heat pump heating and cooling, heat pump water heating, and induction stoves—appliances that are typically more energy efficient and can deliver lower overall energy bills.
Heat pump water heaters can reduce electricity use by up to 60 percent compared to electric resistance water heaters. Instead of using electricity to create heat, heat pump water heaters use a refrigerant cycle to transfer heat from surrounding ambient air into the hot water tank. They also cool the area where they are located, usually in the garage. Induction stoves may cook 50 percent faster than electric resistance stoves, and often as fast as gas. They also use less energy than traditional electric stoves and offer digital control of the temperature, and they have no open flame. The absence of combustion in all-electric homes may result in greater occupant safety.
These homes will help community-owned SMUD meet its aggressive commitment to reach 90 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and surpass the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals of 80 percent by 2050.
These D.R. Horton homes are part of the SMUD Smart Home program, which offers incentives to builders and developers of up to $5,000 for new single-family homes, and up to $1,750 for new multifamily units, built to be all-electric. The homes must have all-electric appliances and mechanical systems—no gas line in the home, and no gas service at the property—in order to meet the minimum program participation requirements.
SMUD customers who own existing homes in the SMUD service territory can also qualify for up to $13,750 for existing homes that convert from gas to electricity. For example, owners of existing homes may receive up to a $4,500 incentive to replace an existing gas furnace by installing an electric heat pump space heater. A homeowner may receive up to a $3,000 rebate to switch out an existing gas water heater for an electric heat pump water heater.
There are also rebates available from SMUD for traditional efficiency measures such as duct sealing, insulation, and windows.
More information about SMUD’s all-electric conversion incentives and other energy-saving information is available at SMUD.org.
Source: SMUD Media
Mayor Christopher Cabaldon outlined the City of West Sacramento Kids’ Home Run last night during his annual state of the city address, with the goal of making West Sacramento the best place to have a child, raise a family and grow up as a kid.
“The City of West Sacramento has been able to recruit a diversity of employers and our residents are getting better skills through the West Sacramento Kids’ Home Run. We are preparing our youth for high growth, high wage entry level positions today, and bolstering our local workforce for years to come. We want to give every advantage to West Sacramento children, from cradle to college or career,” said Mayor Cabaldon. “The West Sacramento Kids’ Home Run does just that.”
Kids’ Home Run is an educational and jobs initiative that combines new and existing programs for youth ages four to eighteen. It consists of four base programs:
“This partnership is truly symbolic of an entire village coming together to raise and support our children throughout their educational journey to have the best chance at a successful future,” said Washington Unified Superintendent Linda C. Luna. “We have a unique opportunity in West Sacramento to not only transform our school district but our entire community into one that is a gateway to extraordinary possibilities for ALL children—the Kid’s Home Run is the perfect catalyst to ensure our continued success.”
“High school students with internships in their field of study have a competitive advantage in landing jobs and will earn more in their lifetimes,” said FutureReady Executive Director Chris Worden. Employers who offer internships build our local workforce, support our high schools, and create a sustainable talent pipeline to their business. Future Ready facilitates internship matches between students in career pathways and our leading employers. In the process, West Sacramento will become a national leader at providing incentives for youth to gain the skills they need.”
“This is an exciting time for Sacramento City College and the entire Los Rios Community College District. We are proud to partner with Mayor Cabaldon and the City of West Sacramento on this innovative plan,” said Brian King, Chancellor of the Los Rios Community College District. “The West Sacramento College Promise, as a key part of the Kids’ Home Run, sends a clear message to young students that the cost of a college degree is no longer a barrier to reaching your goals. We hope to build on this partnership and hold it up as a model that can be replicated throughout the capital region.”
Students will be motivated in this process by the ability to earn digital badges, or virtual credentials that track their skills development. Student completion of badges will unlock new opportunities for them, such as preferential hiring for internships, and help determine how large of a scholarship each student receives.
“With workforce development as a high-priority for the West Sacramento Chamber of Commerce, Kids Home Run knocks it out of the park for our kids, and our business community,” said West Sacramento Chamber of Commerce CEO Verna Sulpizio. “This initiative gives our Chamber members active involvement in the development and review of our career pathways so that the most relevant, industry specific, and timely academic programs will be provided to the students to best prepare them for college and entry level careers. With the Chamber’s ongoing participation, we will ensure that West Sacramento kids have the best opportunity possible to build their skills and be prepared for our ever-changing job market.”
The initiative begins in the summer of 2017 and is funded by a quarter percent sales tax revenue from ballot Measure E passed by 65% of West Sacramento voters in November, 2016. The measure helps fund potential areas of investment: repairing roads, building and maintaining bicycle/pedestrian trails, reducing homelessness and improving educational and career opportunities for youth, and enhancing internet access and use of smart technologies. The West Sacramento Kids’ Home Run is being implemented in partnership with the Washington Unified School District, FutureReady, a project of the West Sacramento Community Foundation, the West Sacramento Chamber of Commerce and the Los Rios Community College District.
For more information, please visit the Kids’ Home Run website at: www.cityofwestsacramento.org/residents/kids_home_run
The State of the City Address can be viewed on YouTube at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEme1BDAtZE
Under a resolution adopted by City Council last night, West Sacramento is voicing its support for Sutter Health’s Getting to Zero campaign, a regional effort to end chronic homelessness by aligning programs and resources around a low-or-no barrier approach to housing individuals experiencing homelessness.
“Sutter Health is showcasing the homelessness enforcement and homelessness services work that the City of West Sacramento has been modeling as an effective, results-oriented collaboration example for the region” said West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon. “By bringing unexpected allies to the work, Getting to Zero positions our region to effectively and compassionately address homelessness and its impacts.”
Working with public and private partners in Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties, Sutter Health will match up to $10 million in contributions and work to raise a total of $20 million over three years to support a low-or-no barrier model that provides the chronically homeless with housing, and then quickly offers the support services they need to achieve and maintain stability. The goal of the Getting to Zero effort is to reach Functional Zero – when the number of homeless people is equal to, or less than, the number of permanent housing units available to them – in Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties.
The West Sacramento City Council vote is consistent with recent actions taken by nearby jurisdictions. The Placer County Board of Supervisors, Yolo County Board of Supervisors, Davis City Council, Roseville City Council, Sacramento City Council, and Woodland City Council also have adopted resolutions in support of Getting to Zero.
Sutter Health has long been committed to investing in programs that improve the health of the communities it serves. In addition to Getting to Zero, the organization funds community-based services, mobile clinics, transportation services, prevention and wellness programs and more. In 2015, Sutter Health’s network of physician organizations, hospitals and other health care providers made a total community benefit investment of $957 million.
“As a business leader and health care provider, we at Sutter Health understand that homelessness touches every individual in our community,” said James Conforti, President of Sutter Health Valley Area. “Through the Getting to Zero campaign, we hope to bring together partners who can commit the resources to support programs that will make a meaningful impact in ending homelessness.”
Through the Getting to Zero campaign, Sutter Health has funded four matching grants to support low-or-no barrier responses to homelessness in the City of Davis ($233,000), City of Roseville ($250,000), City of Sacramento ($433,000), and Placer County ($1 million). The City of West Sacramento and Yolo County are each developing proposals to receive Getting to Zero matching grants.
Advanced Home Health, Inc. today announced it has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for Home Care Accreditation by demonstrating continuous compliance with its performance standards. The Gold Seal of Approval® is a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to providing safe and effective care.
Advanced Home Health, Inc. underwent a rigorous onsite survey. During the survey, compliance with home care standards reflecting key organization areas was evaluated, including the provision of care, treatment and services, emergency management, human resources, individual rights and responsibilities, and leadership. The accreditation process also provided Advanced Home Health, inc. with education and guidance to help staff continue to improve its home care program’s performance.
Established in 1988, The Joint Commission’s Home Care Accreditation Program supports the efforts of its accredited organizations to help deliver safe, high quality care and services. More than 6,000 home care programs currently maintain accreditation, awarded for a three-year period, from The Joint Commission.
“When individuals engage a home care provider they want to be sure that provider is capable of providing safe, quality care,” said Margherita Labson, RN, MS, executive director, Home Care Accreditation Program, The Joint Commission. “As the home care setting becomes increasingly popular, it is important that home care providers are able to demonstrate that they are capable of providing safe, high quality care. Accreditation by The Joint Commission serves as an indication that the organization has demonstrated compliance to these recognized standards of safe and quality care.”
Advanced Home Health, Inc. is pleased to receive accreditation from The Joint Commission, the premier health care quality improvement and accrediting body in the nation,” added Angela Sehr, RN “Staff from across our organization continue to work together to strengthen the continuum of care and to deliver and maintain optimal home care services for those in our community.”
The Joint Commission’s home care standards are developed in consultation with health care experts, home care providers and researchers, as well as industry experts, purchasers and consumers. The standards are informed by scientific literature and expert consensus to help organizations measure, assess and improve performance.
Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. The Joint Commission accredits and certifies more than 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. An independent, nonprofit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Learn more about The Joint Commission at www.jointcommission.org.
One Sacramento-based company has quietly and efficiently carved a niche into the home health care business by providing superlative care for patients and caregivers alike. The “whole-istic” business model of Advanced Home Health and Hospice (AHHH) has earned them not only professional accolades and a thriving business, but a stellar reputation for their positive results for even the most complex patient care. The beating heart of this organization is founder Angela Sehr. Sehr is a woman with a mission and a vision with patient wellbeing in the Sacramento area.
Born in Xian, China, home of the famous Terra Cotta Warriors, Sehr started college at 15 and became a nurse at 18. The youngest of nine children, her siblings are also high achievers with a judge, college professor, engineer and a teacher among her immediate family.
Shyly self-admitted as a teacher’s pet, she loved science from a very young age. She says her mother encouraged her children to all be independent. “Marry well, she said, but always be able to stand on your own two feet,” was her mom’s advice.
Sehr may now be the boss, but she is far from being afraid to roll up her sleeves when it comes to patient care. She paid her dues with years in hands-on nursing. In fact, she still takes care of patients herself, in addition to her many other duties. AHHH offers patients around the clock care, just one of the many aspects that separate them from their competition. “I go out to patients’ homes at 2 in the morning if they need it, just like everyone else on staff,” said Sehr.
Sehr is a Registered Nurse who has worked around the world with patients of all ages and many different health issues. She came to Sacramento, having worked in places like China and Saudi Arabia. She attended Sacramento State’s Nursing program and earned her BSN here, spending over a decade in pediatric care and found her way into Infusion care as a nurse for patients in need of this specialized help. She has built her company on years of caring for infusion patients. Her company carries her compassion forward, providing top-notch, compassionate care for patients and their families.
During a time when healthcare laws and models are in flux. Sehr’s company, AHHH has built a company that successfully and efficiently treats and maintains a base of anywhere from 600 to 800 patients, more than double similar programs of even healthcare giants like full-fledged local hospital systems. To meet the need AHHH has found, the company currently has a staff of approximately 400 highly-trained specialists performing an impressive array of care and support services, and specializes in “complex” patients, often avoiding such patients having to be readmitted to hospitals.
AHHH is as advertised. Staff is on-call 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. They provide truly advanced wound care, infusion nursing, orthopedic, occupation and physical rehabilitation, speech and swallow function therapy, specialized medical social workers and a chaplaincy ministering to the patients and their loved ones. The tiniest staff member is a therapy dog.
AHHH is a Medicare Certified Home Health Provider. They are licensed by the by the California Department of Public Health. They have provided care for premature babies, pre-and post op patients, patients such as diabetics with wounds that can be nearly impossible to heal. Many of these are patients the hospitals have given up on and AHHH has succeeded where others have failed, improving patient outcome in terms of health and healing. Sehr is intent that her teams utilize the latest technology to treat patients and makes available ultrasound and laser therapy, in addition to debridement if physician ordered.
The Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) alone, per Sehr can be highly effective in treating, diabetic ulcers, venous stasis and arterial ulcers, and many other types of non-healing wounds.
The hospice care that Sehr’s company provides is a growing service, based on industry best practices, but also on her own experiences as a nurse. Most hospice patients they see are given six months or less to live, but that isn’t an outcome set in stone. “We don’t give up,” she says. “We’re not God, but people do ‘graduate’ from hospice. They do get better.”
Hospice care provides comfort care to patients and family. “Advanced hospice nurses are registered nurses specifically dedicated to end-of-life care. They are focused on pain and symptom management for our patients around the clock. In addition to serving the terminally ill, hospice clinical team counsel and educate caregivers and family members on the needs of the patient, guiding them through every issue that may arise. Our hospice nurses work as a part of an interdisciplinary team that develops and manages the care for our patients and their families.”
A vital part of their team are the hospice social workers who are there to support patients and their families. “Our social workers are trained to assist our patients and their families on developing an individualized plan of care, researching ways to relief stress and anxiety by non-medical means, and connecting them with appropriate local resources.
“We understand that our patients and their families may have financial problems. Our social workers are equipped with the necessary tools and knowledge to provide counseling in these areas, as well as coordinating possible aid from other organizations,” Sehr commented.
What does it mean to be an advanced hospice social worker? According to AHHH, “It means to be a supporter of our patients and their families. Our social workers are trained to assist our patients and their families on developing an individualized plan of care, researching ways to relief stress and anxiety by non-medical means, and connecting them with appropriate local resources.
“A loss of a loved one, even if anticipated, brings a slew of emotions and grief for surviving family and friends. Our hospice bereavement professionals and volunteers are trained to provide counseling and support by understanding the loss and compassionately walking step by step with surviving spouses, children, or parents.”
“To help our patients cope with the end of their life, AHHH provides spiritual services by certified chaplains to promote spiritual and emotional well-being. Our chaplains may also work with the patient’s clergy and coordinate spiritual nourishment and revitalization.”
Sehr credits hospice volunteers for the selfless work they do as part of the organization. “Our hospice volunteers spend time with patients and their loved ones. They run errands and provide caregiver relief, companionship, and supportive services. Volunteers are the backbone of our hospice team.”. Volunteers form bonds with patients and family members. Patients and families often tell volunteers things they feel they can’t tell their loved ones and help open the way for people to talk honestly. Volunteers work alongside paid staff in every area of hospice care.”
AHHH truly treat the entire family, and that includes monthly bereavement support group meeting. “At Advanced Hospice, patients are nearing and passing the end of their life, leaving behind husbands, wives, sons, and daughters,” according to the company website.
“When a patient is diagnosed with a serious illness or is recovering from an injury, our medical professionals, nurses, and therapists work hard to rejuvenate him/her to normal life. In addition to purely medical procedures, medications, and techniques, a huge part of a person’s recovery depends on his/her psychosocial condition.”
AHHH is making a concerted effort to reach America’s veterans. “Veterans have done everything asked of them in their mission to serve our country and we believe it is never too late to give them a hero’s welcome home. That’s why our hospice is taking part in the We Honor Veterans program. Our staff understand the unique needs of veterans and are prepared to meet the specific challenges that veterans and their families may face at the end of life.”
AHHH measures its success with data, not just good feelings. Their clinicians log every visit in detail, right down to wound and physical improvement, modality effectiveness, length of visit and many more details. That data is analyzed for the benefit of each patient, but the accumulation of data is used by the company to improve patient outcome and patient satisfaction. The company has recently broken ground on its next project, a free-standing Hospice Facility. While starting small, at 6 beds, it will be the only hospice in the area and unlike any other, due again to Sehr’s experience and personal touch.
On November 1, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors approved an agreement for $360,000 with Sacramento Steps Forward (SSF) for the administration of the Winter Sanctuary Program. The Winter Sanctuary Program provides nighttime shelter with local faith-based organizations, including transportation and two meals, for Sacramento County’s homeless population from November 21 through April 30, 2017. “This is the fifth year of funding this program in order to provide 100 additional beds for Sacramento’s homeless each night during the winter,” said Chair of the Board Roberta MacGlashan. “We are pleased and grateful to the 19 congregations that have agreed to host and look forward to other organizations filling in the remaining open nights.”
As part of the agreement, SSF will provide monthly reports of the number of persons sheltered per night, including the breakdown of men, women and families served and their geographic origination. The data will be utilized to determine potential areas of focus for future funding opportunities.
Sacramento Steps Forward coordinates the shelter, transportation to and from the shelter sites, and meals with, as well as outreach and referral efforts for ongoing supportive services.
Currently, congregations have been lined up to provide services for every night except 52. Sac Steps Forward and its subcontractor, First Step Communities (FSC), are working to recruit congregations to fill out the list, including those that can accommodate pets, and two congregations to serve as intake sites for persons who are unable to travel to the main intake site of Loaves and Fishes.
In recruiting these additional intake sites, SSF and FSC are utilizing data to determine where the highest populations of homeless exist outside of the immediate geography of Loaves and Fishes.
The County is also providing $75,000 to Volunteers of America (VOA) for the period of November 21 through March 31, 2017 for the administration of the Winter Shelter Program for homeless families. Offered since 2011, this program has provided shelter to 876 adults and children since its inception.
The homeless are the invisible denizens of America's cities, says Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens. “But, the dirty little secret that has only come to light recently is the fact that the elderly are among the fastest growing populations living on the streets,” he reports.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development told Congress last year that there were more than 300,000 homeless Americans 50 years of age or more, 20% more than there were in 2007.
A recognized expert on the issue of the growing number of older individuals who are on the streets is University of Pennsylvania Professor Dennis P. Culhane. He says that in 1990 “the peak age of adults who were homeless was 30” and that today the peak age is 55.
Weber is calling on all candidates for election and re-election in November and those in the private sector to recognize the fact that more seniors are homeless than ever before and to take to heart the needs of “these hapless lost souls. Focus on their plight and let the truth be told, loud and clear. Everyone needs to pitch in if we are to solve this problem, which only grows bigger with each passing day.”
Some would blame the spike in homelessness among older Americans on the swiftly aging population. But, Weber says, it has more to do with the rising cost of health care and health insurance, the lagging economy, the impact of such diseases of old age as cancer and Alzheimer’s and, perhaps the most damaging cause of all, the lack of affordable housing.
“In fact, talk to any health provider who deals with the homeless and they will tell you that there has been a dramatic shift in recent years in the illnesses from which they suffer. It used to be that the homeless suffered mainly from drug abuse and mental illness. Nowadays they are more likely to have the chronic diseases of old age,” Weber notes.
Mel Martinez and Allyson Y. Schwartz are the co-chairs of the Bipartisan Policy Center Senior Health and Housing Task Force. Martinez is a former U.S. Senator from Florida and Schwartz is a former Congresswoman from Pennsylvania. They published an Opinion Article in U.S. News and World Report last month in which they concluded that “preventing and ending homelessness among older adults should become a major national priority in the United States. By setting goals to end homelessness; increasing available low-income senior housing; and by understanding that the challenge requires participation from public and private partners at all levels, we can and will find ways to ensure that all U.S. seniors have the shelter and security that they deserve.”
Meanwhile, Margot Kushel, professor of medicine at University of California, San Francisco, is an expert on the elderly who become homeless. She says that providing them with housing is the key to fixing the problem. “A lot of these people have been healthy their whole lives. But it doesn't take long for their health to plummet once they're homeless. Once someone is housed, depression often lifts, stress fades away, infections heal. It's instant.”
Says Weber, “everyone has his own set of priorities, but one thing we all have in common is that we are all growing older. It's one of the hardest things we will all do in this life and so we should have compassion for those who need our help.”
The Association of Mature American Citizens [www.amac.us] is a vibrant, vital senior advocacy organization that takes its marching orders from its members. We act and speak on their behalf, protecting their interests and offering a practical insight on how to best solve the problems they face today. Live long and make a difference by joining us today at www.amac.us/join-amac.