Season of Change Continues under New LeadershipDecember 14, 2022
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New Board for Sonoma Valley Health District
The December board meeting included the welcoming of two new board members and the voting in of new officers. Wendy Lee and Denise Kalos were welcomed onto the board after being sworn in earlier this month. The new officer slate includes myself as Board Chair, Susan Kornblatt Idell as First Vice Chair, Denise Kalos as Second Vice Chair, Wendy Lee as Secretary, and Bill Boerum will continue as Treasurer. Two resolutions of appreciation for the two outgoing board members, Joshua Rymer and Dr. Michael Mainardi, were also read and approved. We will certainly miss Joshua and Michael, but we are excited about having the new board members on the team.
MRI Services in Sonoma Valley
Because of the need to construct new space for the 3 telsa MRI machine, the estimated date of completion of phase 2 of our Outpatient Diagnostic Center has been extended to 2025. CEO John Hennelly presented a plan for a temporary building to house the MRI machine so that District residents could have access to this service sooner. It will also diminish waiting times for procedures. The plan calls for a temporary building just outside the future location in the hospital’s north parking lot. While the temporary building will cost $1.2 million, it could deliver services as early as the end of 2023, and potentially pay for itself in seven months depending on the number of scans completed daily. Mr. Hennelly presented an extensive report documenting risks and gains for the proposal. After much discussion, the board opted to approve the plan.
EPIC Now in Operation at Hospital
The new electronic health care platform, EPIC, is now in effect at the hospital. The hospital team, with the support of our Epic partner Community Technologies, has successfully launched the new system and is working to optimize it over the coming months. One week into the shift to EPIC, we can see that staff members throughout the hospital are adopting the new system well. As they learn, it is taking longer for staff to execute transactions is to be expected when implementing a new system. Meanwhile, patients can sign up for access to their SVH records through the patient portal, MyChart. Directions are on the sonomavalleyhospital.org website.
The annual SVH Community Report will be available in January. The report provides highlights from the year, along with audited financials. Distribution will be primarily through the Sonoma Index-Tribune, and will also be available on the Hospital website. This year’s report will be truly bilingual as opposed to having separate reports in English and Spanish as we have done in the past.
The Hospital experienced robust volume and revenue in October. It also experienced higher expenses, creating a negative budget variance. The financial audit for the fiscal year ending June 2022 is now complete with results noting a substantial improvement in the hospital’s net position over last year. The board also approved the execution and delivery of the Non-Designated Public Hospital Bridge Loan II Program between Sonoma Valley Health Care District and California Health Facilities Financing Authority (CHFFA) which is a 0-percent loan for 24 months.
Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Sujatha Sankaran is now on board as Chief Medical Officer and is transitioning well into her new position.
Mr. Hennelly also updated us on viruses afflicting our community. Covid has now been joined by several other viruses. Flu cases along with RSV are high. Hospitalizations for Covid and Flu represent almost 50% of our daily census. RSV admissions have only occurred in pediatric patients and have been referred to UCSF for care. He also reported that with a reduction in demand for testing both locally and at our partner UCSF, we have closed our drive-through testing program.
Virtual Board Meetings Continue
Due to the continuing Covid situation, the board agreed to continue meeting virtually as a safety precaution. We will revisit the question of returning to public meetings during our February meeting.
Next Board Meeting
The next regular District Board meeting will be held on Thursday, January 5, 2023, at 6 pm. As noted, for safety reasons board meetings will continue to be held via video conferencing. The public is encouraged to participate, and video conferencing details are available on the hospital website. Public comment is always welcome.
Judith Bjorndal, M.D.
Chair, Board of Directors,
Sonoma Valley Health Care District