Reaching Out To Our Community For Seismic Support –May 24, 2022
There are many things that make the Sonoma Valley special, and one of them is having a high-quality hospital to serve our community. In recent years our small community has experienced so many challenges, e.g., wildfires, the pandemic, power outages, and drought. At Sonoma Valley Hospital we have worked to support the community through all of these with innovation and grace.
Now we need your help to stop decades old seismic regulations from forcing hospitals across the state from closing their doors.
Decades ago, California put in place seismic regulations requiring upgrades to hospitals throughout the state by 2030. As that year draws nearer, Sonoma Valley Hospital is one of many hospitals in California challenged by the cost of upgrades. And we’re not alone. The California Hospital Association reports that only 36 percent of the 415 California hospitals currently meet the 2030 standards. Yet as Bryan Bucklew, President and CEO of the Hospital Council of Northern and Central California reported at the Sonoma Valley Hospital Board Meeting this month, hospitals remain the safest places in the state of California seismically. These requirements have already forced the closure of several hospitals in rural areas where services are most needed.
To address this issue, the Hospital Council has put together a proposal that asks for a seven-year delay on bringing buildings into compliance with the new standards and also, more importantly, focuses retrofits on the most critical facilities within hospitals—emergency services and operating room facilities—rather than the whole entity. We are fortunate at Sonoma Valley Hospital that both our Emergency Department and Surgery Center already meet the 2030 standards, but much of our older structure does not and would be permanently closed if these new standards had to be implemented. Bucklew also emphasized that hospitals have already demonstrated a capacity for dealing with crises and emergencies. Hospitals are resilient, but this ask challenges us all.
We are requesting our community join us in writing “seismic” letters to state legislators to support the proposal. A template for the letter can be found at the Sonoma Valley Hospital website HERE. We invite you to make the letter your own by personalizing it with your health care priorities. We thank you.
Together we can make sure that the Sonoma Valley Health Care District always has a hospital serving the needs of those who reside and work in Sonoma Valley.
Joshua and John
Joshua Rymer, Chair,
Sonoma Valley Health Care District Board of Directors
John Hennelly, CEO,
Sonoma Valley Hospital