A Decade of Progress

Nov 19, 2019 | From the SVH CEO

Sonoma Valley Hospital was founded in 1945 and moved to the current hospital in 1957, and subsequently expanded in the 1970’s. From 1980 to 2008, change occurred slowly. By 2008, modernization of the hospital was absolutely necessary.  

When the community made the decision to pass the General Obligation Bond, it was a major turning point for our hospital. The much-needed changes began and I’m proud to say that, as we end this decade, we are in the final stages of providing modern, efficient and convenient healthcare services to our community. And, as the hospital’s upcoming fiscal year 2019 Annual Report highlights, we have made financial progress as well.  

A Modern Hospital Facility

Starting in 2010, we began upgrading the physical plant after years of deferred maintenance. Today, our facility looks great and we have extended its life with a new Central Utility Plant and many upgrades to vital systems due to the General Obligation Bond.    

In 2011, we opened an expanded Outpatient Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy service on Highway 12 which is one of the largest rehabilitation services in the region, providing nearly 30,000 patient treatments last year. We often receive very high praise for this service and for this team’s ability to help patients improve their health.  

The opening of the new Emergency and Surgery wing in 2014 was the highlight of the past decade’s accomplishments.  Both of these key departments have increased volumes since that time. Our Emergency team often saves lives and are always here for you, while treating everyone like family. Many new surgeons have joined us over the years including Orthopedics, General Surgery, Bariatrics, Ophthalmology, Pain Management, Gynecology and Urology because of our state-of-the-art operating rooms.  

Recent years also saw continued upgrades, including new equipment for many departments, such as the 3D mammography unit that opened in 2018, funded entirely by donations made through the Sonoma Valley Hospital Foundation. We begin the final stages of our decade of progress when construction starts on the new Outpatient Diagnostic Center in December, also entirely funded through the Foundation by our generous donors. 

Expanded Services Through Strong Partnerships

It’s become clear that community hospitals cannot function as islands in healthcare, and must develop partnerships that bring needed resources and services to the community, especially specialized expertise a local hospital cannot afford. Over the past decade, we have greatly expanded community access to physicians through our relationship with Prima Medical Group and Marin General Hospital, which has helped bring both primary care and specialist physicians to Sonoma Valley.

In early 2018, the hospital formed an affiliation with UCSF Health, the top-rated medical center in California and one of the top five in the nation. While this relationship is still developing, it is already providing benefits. We have increasing access to many specialty services through telemedicine and will soon have some of their physicians holding clinics in Sonoma. The new Outpatient Diagnostic Center will be a hub for UCSF in the North Bay, which will increase hospital volumes and revenues. 

High Quality Care

Patient care and safety was enhanced in 2012 with the adoption of an Electronic Health Record (EHR), a $5 million investment that was just recently paid off. The EHR speeds up physician decision-making by instantly providing access to patient information online, and greatly reduces the chance for errors, such as with medications, where it checks for drug interactions.  

While a small hospital, we have worked diligently over the past decade to maintain the highest standards in patient care and safety. Our success in quality outcomes has led us to receive a 4 Star ranking (out of a possible 5) from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) each year since 2015, which places us among the top third of hospitals nationally. We’ve recently instituted a hospital-wide initiative to achieve 5 Stars.

In 2019, we completed consolidation of our Inpatient Unit on the third floor. We are modernizing the ICU and Medical/Surgical rooms and including advanced technology for patient education, again funded by the Foundation. The collaboration and communications among the inpatient team improves the patient experience and leads to better health outcomes for those patients admitted to the hospital. 

A Healthier Community

Over the past decade we have worked to make our community a healthier place to live. We offered a program to staff and community members called “Wellness University” and we now have several hundred Wellness Ambassadors who promote healthy lifestyle choices among family and friends using the 5 Keys to Wellness. In 2014, we became a “Healing Hospital” that inspires healing at the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels, and showcased this model to hospitals throughout California.  

Each year the hospital, on its own or with community partners, sponsors or supports around 20 health events reaching several thousand community members. Hospital staff also volunteer more than 1,000 hours annually to benefit our community through events and support for local nonprofits, including support for the Back to School Health Fair each year, and the Active Aging lecture series with Vintage House.

As you can see, this has been a decade of great change for our hospital and we are now well prepared for the future. I am certain we will continue to provide compassionate, excellent, efficient healthcare for decades to come.

In good health,

Kelly Mather

Sonoma Valley Hospital