Sonoma Valley Hospital and Anthem Blue Cross reach agreement. - Click here to learn more
Sonoma Valley Hospital y Anthem Blue Cross llegan a un acuerdo. - Haga clic aquí para aprender más.
Sonoma Valley Hospital

April Board Chair Report

April 16, 2024

Leer en español

April 6, 2024 

Dear Sonoma Valley Community, 

During our most recent Board meeting, we had the privilege of observing the spirit of cooperation and unity that embodies Sonoma Valley Hospital. Throughout the meeting, we heard from several key leaders within our hospital, with an update from our partners at UCSF. These discussions underscored the vital role that both our internal and external partnerships play in the success of our hospital. Such collaborations are the bedrock of our Strategic Plan, aiming to amplify the quality of healthcare through collective effort and teamwork. 

We started the meeting by honoring Peter Hohorst for his many years of dedicated service on both the Board and the Finance Committee. Serving diligently in both roles, Peter has enhanced our Board’s effectiveness. His dedication has enriched our discussions and has been instrumental in steering our hospital toward its objectives. 

UCSF Affiliation Update: Leveraging Resources for our SVH Patients 
Shelby DeCosta’s update on our partnership with UCSF was particularly interesting to me.  UCSF’s acquisition of St Francis and St Mary’s hospitals has deepened their commitment to care in the community, and as a result, more progress is being made in their relationship with us.  The goals of the Affiliation have always included increasing our access to UCSF specialists, increasing utilization of our surgical and diagnostic facilities, and sharing IT and administrative resources.  We are starting to see more results in these areas.  Very encouraging to me is an IT focus on “patient capacity management,” which aims to more efficiently distribute patients, which should result in increased utilization of our capabilities and decreased need for Sonoma Valley residents to travel for services.  

Assessment of Quality at SVH 
In her annual report to the Board, the Director of Quality and Risk Management Kylie Cooper presented data from the year. Her department is increasingly looking at data through an equity lens. As an example, we now know that 28% of our ER patients are Hispanic.  

Not only does the department monitor quality metrics, but it also monitors and answers complaints and grievances and implements improvements at the hospital based on those and the quality metrics. She noted that we encourage community feedback as this allows the hospital to continually strive to improve. Two areas of ongoing emphasis are decreasing length of stay and decreasing readmissions.   

Addressing the Medical Needs of the Community 
Three of the reports focused on physicians and medical care. Dawn Kuwahara gave an overview of the 1206(B) Family Practice Clinic. The clinic is crucial in helping to provide the necessary primary care our community relies on, aligning closely with our strategic goals. Dr. Ako Walther is now in her second year as Chief of Staff, and she gave an excellent report on the progress that the Medical Staff is making in trust and unity among members, integration of the new ER group into the staff, and improved communication between the hospital and primary care physicians. We welcomed Dr. Sabrina Kidd back to the community. She has agreed to take the role of Acting Chief Medical Officer while we search for Dr. Sankaran’s permanent replacement and has resumed her surgery practice as well. 

CEO Report: Momentum and Outreach in Our Strategic Plan  
In a presentation CEO John Hennelly shared encouraging developments, including the introduction of interim Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sabrina Kidd, and the positive outcomes from our negotiations with Anthem, which will impact our financial stability. Our recruitment efforts, particularly in orthopedics and general surgery, remain a priority, reflecting our ongoing dedication to meeting the community’s healthcare needs.  

Financial Overview and Acknowledgments  
In his financial overview, CFO Ben Armfield highlighted the current fiscal landscape, pointing out the revenue dip due to Dr. Brown’s departure but noting optimism with a new orthopedist arriving in June. Despite exceeding expectations in acute discharges and outpatient visits, we’ve encountered deficits, with a shortfall in emergency department revenues and a drop in surgical services. To counter these challenges, the hospital has effectively cut expenses demonstrating our proactive strategy to maintain operational stability and ensure our commitment to delivering quality care continues unabated. 

As we move forward, I am reminded of the critical role each of us plays in this dynamic ecosystem of care. Our strengths—internal communication, cooperation, and the seamless integration of services—are the threads that bind us, enabling us to provide comprehensive and compassionate care close to home. 

I encourage each of you to join us in this journey, to engage in our efforts, and to contribute to our shared vision for a healthier, stronger community. Your support, insights, and participation are invaluable as we continue to evolve and adapt to meet the changing needs of those we serve. 

Please mark your calendars for our next board meeting on Thursday, May 2nd. For agenda packets, time and location, go to our website.  

Warm regards, 


Judith Bjorndal, M.D. 

Board Chair, Sonoma Valley Health District 

| null E-Mail

Emergency: Call 911707.935.5000347 Andrieux Street, Sonoma, CA 95476DirectionsContact
managing health conditions at home during a power outage - icon of elctric pole