How We Run Your Community HospitalJanuary 11, 2023
At the start of this new year, I’m reminded about how much goes into running a high-quality community hospital. As the Board for the Sonoma Valley Health Care District, we closely monitor your hospital. At our monthly meetings, we review ongoing reports and assessments of our services and systems as well as provide oversight of new projects such as the building of the MRI facility and implementation of EPIC and MyChart. At the January board meeting, we also set up our committee assignments and work plans so we can be effective throughout the year.
High Marks for Outpatient Services
The Board heard the annual report from the hospital’s Chief Ancillary Officer, Dawn Kuwahara RN BSN who oversees Ancillary (Outpatient) Services which are an essential part of the services SVH provides our community. Services include Diagnostic Services such as Imaging and Cardiology, as well as Laboratory, Rehabilitation services, and Wound Care and Occupational Health which serves employees of employers in our region. It also includes Patient Access and Admitting, and oversight of the hospital’s three physician clinics. Volumes were up in nearly every category from 2021 to 2022 with financial performance increasing across the board.
Dawn reported that patients are highly satisfied with the hospital’s outpatient services, consistently rating Medical Imaging and Outpatient Rehabilitation above 4.8 on a 5.0 scale. Patients can look forward to more services in the future with the Phase II Outpatient Diagnostic Center, the MRI Project, as well as expansion of Physical Therapy, including possibly aquatic therapy.
Quality Performance for the Hospital
Quality performance for Sonoma Valley Hospital in the 3rd Quarter remains strong according to Committee Chair Susan Kornblatt Idell. Metrics measured and reported monthly to Quality Committee include Mortality, AHRQ Patient Safety Indicators, Patient Falls, Readmissions, Blood Culture Contamination, Stroke Core Measures, Utilization Management, Core Measures- Sepsis/ED/Colonoscopy, Infection Prevention, and Inpatient and Outpatient Satisfaction. The Hospital continues to focus on quality initiatives involving sepsis cases, stroke care, readmissions, and length of stay. There were zero adverse events to report.
Board Members Lay Out Work for 2023
Committees are a vital part of governing the Sonoma Valley Health Care District. As the Board President I made the following recommendations of board members for committees: Finance Committee Bill Boerum, Chair and Wendy Lee; Quality Committee Susan Kornblatt Idell, Chair and Judith Bjorndal, MD: Audit Committee Bill Boerum, Chair and Wendy Lee; Governance Committee Bill Boerum, Chair and Denise Kalos, and the Affiliation Oversight Committee Judith Bjorndal, MD, Chair and Wendy Lee. The Board approved the assignments. Two openings for community members are currently sought for the Finance Committee. Interested parties who have financial acumen and some knowledge of the medical field are especially desired and should contact Chair Bill Boerum before the next board meeting February 2, 2023.
Additionally, the board voted in its work plan for the year, setting a schedule for topics and possible speakers for each board meeting. Strategic planning is considered in detail each fall in separate meetings as well as throughout the year in board meetings.
• Status of Phase 2, MRI. As part of the further expansion of the Outpatient Diagnostic Center, the MRI temporary facility is moving forward with expectations of completion by December 2023. This interim solution for providing services while the long-term facility is being built was approved at the December 2022 board meeting. The long-term facility is expected to be completed by Spring 2025.
• EPIC and MyChart Implementation Going Well. The primary focus of December was the rollout of EPIC and MyChart and is going smoothly according to CEO John Hennelly. The most resounding evidence of this is in the 55% activation rate by patients for the online patient portal, MyChart. This rate is extremely high when measured against the usual 20 to 25% rate that most implementation cycles demonstrate. Patients wanting to access their hospital records digitally can set up MyChart by visiting www.sonomavalleyhospital.org for directions or to receive help in English or Spanish.
• CEO John Hennelly Year-End Summary. 2022 brought some significant transitions to Sonoma Valley Hospital. John reported, “We said goodbye to our chiefs in Finance, Medicine, and Nursing and welcomed new faces in those roles. We brought new equipment online in the lab, operating rooms, occupational health, physical therapy among others on top of our significant investments in CT and our new electronic health record Epic. We’re not done! 2023 will be headlined by a new MRI, co-gen capability enabling us to power the campus, long term, using natural gas and a renovated ICU. These initiatives will be coupled with aggressive recruitment to fill key provider roles at the hospital and in the community.” The community can read more about these achievements in the Annual Community Report which will be made available to the community as a supplement through the Sonoma Index Tribune as well as on the hospital website (www.sonomavalleyhospital.org). The bilingual report is in both in English and Spanish. Look for it!
Next Board Meeting
The next regular District Board meeting will be held on Thursday, February 2, 2023, at 6 pm. Due to the continuing Covid situation, the board will continue to meet virtually as a safety precaution. We will revisit the question of returning to public meetings during our February meeting. The public is encouraged to participate, and video conferencing details are available on the hospital website at www.sonomavalleyhospital.org. Public comment is always welcome.
Judith Bjorndal, M.D.
Chair, Board of Directors
Sonoma Valley Health Care District