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Sonoma Valley Hospital

May Board Chair Report

May 15, 2024

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Dear Sonoma Valley Community,

As we approach National Nurses Week and then Hospital Week, it’s a perfect time to express our deepest gratitude for the dedication and tireless efforts of our healthcare and other staff. Their commitment is the backbone of Sonoma Valley Hospital, and we are profoundly thankful for their service, particularly as we navigate through both challenges and opportunities to enhance our community’s health.

Human Resources Update: Enhancing Employee Satisfaction, Effectiveness and Safety
In our latest Board meeting, Lynn McKissock, Chief HR Officer & Chief Compliance Officer provided a comprehensive overview of the current HR landscape at our hospital. She notes that employee turnover has decreased and satisfaction in nearly every area has improved marginally. However, pay and benefits continue to be areas where employee satisfaction is not as high. The team is actively focusing on enhancements in these areas along with ongoing training, regulatory oversight, and staff safety initiatives.

Exploring New Opportunities
Board member Bill Boerum presented a proposal that seeks to capitalize on Sonoma Valley Hospital’s strategic location and reputation as a tourist destination. The idea is to establish one or two new services, or expand existing services, that will attract out-of-district patients. This has the potential to significantly enhance our revenue streams. Mark Bodenhamer, CEO of the Sonoma Chamber of Commerce, affirmed that many local businesses are ready to support this initiative. To thoroughly and carefully assess this proposal, we are planning to form an ad hoc committee at our next meeting. When the time comes, we will invite community members who are interested in supporting this endeavor to get involved.

This initiative, highlighted in the third pillar of our strategic plan, “Sustainability: Ensure our Financial Future,” is part of our strategy to secure the resources necessary to continue providing exceptional care to our residents. Ensuring the financial sustainability of our hospital is crucial, and this initiative aims to enhance our capabilities without detracting from our primary focus—caring for our community.

I want to make very clear that this would in no way interfere with our mission to “maintain, improve and restore the health of everyone in our community.” Rather, as stated in the third pillar of our strategic plan, “Sustainability: Ensure our Financial Future,” we are looking for ways to continue providing excellent care for our residents. That will always be our primary focus.

Finance Committee: Addressing Financial Health
The Finance Committee raised concerns regarding the Hospital’s financial position and the need to enhance revenue streams. An ad hoc committee has been formed to delve into the budget and propose solutions. These suggestions will be discussed in an upcoming joint meeting with the Board and Finance Committee.

2023 Community Report: Celebrating Progress
CEO John Hennelly presented the 2023 Community Report, which is a colorful, completely bilingual brochure produced by our Community Outreach & Marketing team. It contains highlights of the year, and includes statistical snapshots, such as patient volumes. I found it interesting, for example, that 75% of our revenues come from the public sector. The report has been widely distributed in the Index Tribune, as well as through the Sonoma Valley Hospital Foundation and is also available on the Hospital web site.

CMO Report: Updates on Health Protocols and Services
Dr. Sabrina Kidd, Chief Medical Officer, shared updates in her report, including the end of the mask mandate, with optional continued mask use for those who prefer it. Additionally, we are excited about the new orthopedic office, with Dr. Christopher Walter, set to open on June 24th.

Financial Overview: Navigating Challenges
CFO Ben Armfield reported on our financial performance for March. Despite the challenges following Dr. Brown’s departure, there was a notable improvement compared to February, both in operational and cash flow performance.

As we look forward to our next meeting on June 6, 2024, please know that both the Board and the Finance Committee are diligently working to address these issues. The well-being of our community and the financial health of our hospital remain our top priorities. Thank you for your continued support and engagement.

If you would like to watch the May meeting in full, a video recording is available here.

Warm regards,
Judith Bjorndal, M.D.
Board Chair, Sonoma Valley Health Care District

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