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SONOMA VALLEY HOSPITAL – A GEM

May 13, 2022

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I am very proud of our hospital which provides close-to-home emergency care and convenient acute care services with high quality and a caring staff. Our staff and leaders are so talented, and they care so much about the community and patients. We are extremely lucky. I get notes, emails and letters from patients and families thanking the hospital and the staff for the incredible care that they’ve received. I’m so grateful that we have this gem of an institution in our community.

We covered quite a bit at our last board meeting on May 5th, here are the highlights:

SEISMIC RETROFIT UPDATE

We promised to keep you updated on the state enforced seismic regulations requiring upgrades by 2030 and impacting hospitals across the state. As that year draws nearer, Sonoma Valley Hospital is one of many hospitals in California learning just how to make this happen. The California Hospital Association reports that only five 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. And given that hospitals have received no relief from the state and very little from the federal government, it’s not reasonable to expect hospitals to find the funds to upgrade themselves he said. 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 bill that asks for a seven- year delay on bringing buildings into compliance with the new standards and also, more importantly, focuses on retrofits for emergency services and operating room facilities rather than the whole hospital. We are fortunate that both our Emergency Department and Surgery Center already meet the 2030 standards, but much of our older structure does not. Bucklew further emphasized that hospitals have demonstrated a capacity for dealing with crisis and emergencies more than any other entity, especially through Covid and the natural disasters that have occurred in the last few years. Hospitals are resilient, but this ask challenges us all. We are requesting our community join us in writing letters to state legislators in our behalf. We’ll have a link to a letter template posted to the website next week that will allow you to alert our local legislators to these concerns and request they support the bill. We thank you.

CONFIDENCE AND GOOD MARKS FOR SVH

So much of Sonoma Valley Hospital’s success is based on rigorous and continuous evaluation of our services. It’s gratifying to survey patients and find such a high degree of confidence in the care teams and the hospital. We are pleased to report the same holds true internally as well. The Human Resources team at SVH has continued to survey our staff of 340 employees finding that we are creating a healthy workplace where team members can thrive. Employees feel they are treated with respect and are part of a work unit that strives to exceed the expectations of the people we serve. They feel a strong sense of purpose and accomplishment for the work they do.

HR Chief Officer, Lynn McKissock, reported that one of the battles we do have as a small independent hospital is retaining workers in a market of competitive salaries. Strategies are underway to expand recruitment and address salary issues.

BRIEF UPDATES

  • Covid: While continuing to prepare for any future waves of Covid, the hospital is currently seeing fewer Covid admissions and patients in the Emergency Department. Public reporting indicates a small rise in community infections over the past month, but, so far, that has not translated into a rise in hospital admissions.
  • New Electronic Health Record: One of the most exciting changes coming is the shift to a new electronic health record (EHR) system called EPIC. System implementation is underway now and the new EHR will be fully operational by December of this year. This system will provide greater ease and access to patient data within the hospital as well as allow our patients who wish to access their digital health records to do so via MyChart. MyChart also allows patients to share their health records with physicians affiliated with UCSF, Sutter, and other major healthcare systems.
  • Outpatient Diagnostic Center: We expect our new computerized tomography scanner (CT Scanner) to be operational late this summer.
  • Welcome our new Chief Financial Officer: The Board Meeting also included a report from the SVH’s newly appointed CFO Ben Armfield who cited many post- Covid recovery indicators in the hospital’s finances, saying “With financial due diligence, we are improving, and going in the right direction.” Welcome aboard Ben.

NEXT BOARD MEETING

The next regular District Board meeting will be held virtually on Thursday, June 2, 2022, at 6 pm. The public is encouraged to participate, and video conferencing details will be available on the Hospital’s website ahead of the meeting. Public comment is always welcome and encouraged.

Sincerely,

Joshua

Joshua Rymer
Chair of the SVHCD Board of Directors

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