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Sonoma Valley Hospital

Board Chair August Letter

August 15, 2023

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Dear Sonoma Valley Community,

I hope this message finds you well and enjoying the beauty of our Sonoma Valley summer along with the strong sense of community that Sonoma Valley offers.

I am writing to provide you with an overview of the developments from the August 3rd 2023 Sonoma Valley Health District Board Meeting. As a stand-in for Board Chair Judith Bjorndal, who couldn’t be present at the meeting, I present this report on her behalf.

Lown Institute Recognition: President and CEO John Hennelly reported that the Sonoma Valley Hospital was recently recognized by the Lown Institute for the organization’s overall effectiveness. The Lown Institute is a non-profit organization that conducts research, convenes experts, and sparks public debate to bridge the gap between existing public policy solutions and the care that Americans want and need.  The 2023-24 Lown Institute Hospitals Index has awarded Sonoma Valley Hospital “A” grades in Health Equity, Value, and Outcomes, placing us among just 54 hospitals nationally achieving Honor Roll status. We’re ranked 2nd in California and 14th nationally for Social Responsibility.  SVH did not apply for this honor, nor were we aware of the research the Lown Institute was doing.  The Lown Institute used public data to come to this great conclusion.

Annual Financial Summary: As stipulated in our 2023 Strategic Plan, the Health District aims for financial stability. Benjamin Armfield, SVH CFO, reported that despite June challenges, Fiscal Year 2023 marked success. Our financial performance exceeded budget and the previous fiscal year, including Operating Margin by 10%, Operating EBDA by 20%, and Net Revenues by 4%. Operating Expenses, while slightly above budget, were 5% lower than the prior fiscal year.

CMO Update – Dr. Sankaran: Dr. Sujatha Sankaran provided a comprehensive update during the meeting, spotlighting various critical topics including the hospital’s commitment to participating in Age-Friendly Health System principles and the New Emergency Department Group. Dr. Sankaran’s report unveiled our commitment to transforming Sonoma Valley Hospital into an age-friendly health system, tightly aligned with the best practices in geriatric care. The introduction of Becky Spear, an inpatient geriatric NP, will play a pivotal role in this endeavor. Her responsibilities span peri-operative geriatric care, inpatient consultations, community outreach, and the establishment of robust systems. Spearheading essential tasks, from pre-operative evaluations to post-hospitalization mobilization, Becky Spear’s role is instrumental in advancing our commitment to holistic geriatric care.

Dr. Sankaran also referenced the Napa Valley Emergency Medicine Group beginning to staff the emergency department effective 8/1/23. The transition will unfold in phases, with August/September signaling a hybrid phase merging the Napa Valley Group and our current ED providers. October will witness full staffing by the Napa Valley Group.

Employee Housing Initiative: We recognize that the cost of housing in Sonoma Valley can pose challenges for our employees. Our commitment to their well-being has fueled an active exploration of housing solutions to render more affordable options. Facilitating comfortable living conditions for our staff is pivotal to upholding the level of care our community deserves.

Approval of bid site work for temporary MRI: Kimberly Drummond, SVH Chief of Support Services presented an MRI project update and the Board provided approval of the bid for site work for temporary MRI. The Hospital engaged in a public bidding process involving five contractors and four subcontractors, which resulted in GMH Builders being the sole bidder. The scope of work has been revised, including revising the bid to relocate certain elements. These changes maintain budget parameters and allow a contingency of approximately $80,000. Approval for the bid at $761,000 is granted, with further adjustments addressed through change orders.

Next Board Meeting: A quick reminder that our upcoming regular District Board meeting is scheduled for September 7, 2023 at 6:00PM. We encourage your attendance, either in person at the Sonoma City Council Chamber or via Zoom. For the meeting agenda and Zoom link, please visit our hospital website at

We value your ongoing support and invite you to connect with us for any inquiries or matters of concern. Rest assured, our dedication to providing you with the highest quality healthcare experience remains steadfast.

Thank you for being an integral part of our community.

Warm regards,


Susan Kornblatt Idell First Vice Chair, Sonoma Valley Hospital District Board

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