Sonoma Valley Hospital

January Board Chair Report

January 9, 2024

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Dear Sonoma Valley Community, 

As we step into a new year, I would like to extend warm greetings and share in the collective excitement for what lies ahead. The beginning of 2024 marks not only a fresh start but also a continued commitment to our strategic goals and projects at the Sonoma Valley Health District.  

Inaugural Board Meeting Highlights 

Our first board meeting of the year was an opportunity to reflect on our ongoing endeavors. For example, we heard from Becky Spear, our Geriatric Nurse Practitioner, and Jane Taylor, the Director of Patient Care Services, who reported on the advances of the Age-Friendly Health System initiative. This project, aligning with our strategic pillars, is integral to providing exceptional care to our aging population. Achieving Level 1 recognition as an age-friendly health system underscores our commitment to the 4Ms framework (What Matters, Medications, Mentation, Mobility). We look forward to advancing to Level 2 and further integrating these principles into our operations. For more information, please visit our website. 

CEO Report: Update on Key Negotiations and Projects 

CEO John Hennelly reported on the ongoing Anthem negotiations, including a recent 30-day extension (now valid through March 1st). John assured the community that emergency services are always available and ‘in-network’ whether you are covered by Anthem, Medicare, Kaiser, or another insurance provider – and that this will continue.  Our seismic planning and the temporary MRI project are progressing well, with the MRI expected to be operational by February. The second phase of the CT project is also underway, focusing on enhancing our service offerings.  

Financial Overview and Acknowledgements 

CFO Ben Armfield provided a comprehensive financial report for November. Despite challenges such as decreased surgical volumes and increased depreciation costs from new projects, our commitment to fiscal responsibility remains strong. Notable was a slight increase in surgical activities, though offset by challenges in Orthopedic services and heightened project expenses. 

CMO Report: Enhancing Patient Care  

Our Chief Medical Officer’s report underscored ongoing efforts, including improving physician rounding on our inpatient unit. This means that rounds will be interdisciplinary in nature, and will take place at the bedside, which should result in significantly improved communication with patients and their families. We are also widening our focus in geriatric care to include some outpatient as well as inpatient services. These endeavors are examples of our commitment to comprehensive and compassionate care. 

We would also like to remind everyone that the respiratory virus season is upon us. Covid, RSV, and influenza remain significant threats. Masking is required at the hospital. Please be careful with social interactions, and, if you have not done so, be sure to GET YOUR VACCINATIONS for all three of the above. 

Invitation to Join and Collaborate  

There will be openings for positions on the Board this year. If you, or someone you know, would be interested in joining the Board, we invite you to reach out to any of us. Attending meetings is a great way to become familiar with what we do, and to see if you might be interested. Community involvement has always been a key to the success of the Hospital. 

I would like to extend special commendation to the Finance Committee for their relentless effort and dedication, with a particular nod to Committee Member Peter Hohorst. As he prepares to step down this year, we reflect on his decades of invaluable service to our community and hospital, including multiple terms on the Board of Directors. 

Thank you all for your steadfast support and partnership. Together, let’s look forward to a year marked by growth, health, and collaborative progress. 

Join us for our next Board meeting on February 1, 2024. For details, please check our website. 

Warm regards, 


Judith Bjorndal, M.D.  

Board Chair, Sonoma Valley Health District 

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