At last week’s board meeting, I was honored to be elected unanimously to chair the board. I accepted and received the gavel from Jane Hirsch who has done an excellent job in that role over the past two years.
For those in the community who don’t know me, let me introduce myself. I’ve lived in Glen Ellen since 2006 with my husband and have served on the District Board since 2014. My background is in strategic planning and includes positions with Boston Consulting Group in the US and abroad, and with Charles Schwab & Co and Terradatum where I served as President and CEO. Since 2011, I’ve worked as a consultant with fast-growing organizations and non-profits on business strategies.
I’ve also served on several nonprofit boards including Community Foundation Sonoma County, Education Outside (Board Chair), and the Sonoma Valley Fund (Board Chair).
I’m looking forward to serving as chair and understand that we are “living in interesting times.” The constant change and turmoil the health care industry is going through makes me very thankful for the strong leadership and deep expertise we have working in our hospital.
SVH Awarded 4 Stars
I’m pleased to report that the hospital has once again received a 4-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. These ratings are given to hospitals based on how well they meet a number of quality and safety measures. We are one of just three hospitals in the three North Bay counties to receive 4 stars (the top score awarded in our region) out of a possible 5 stars. We can all be very proud of this achievement!
Financial Management and Salaries
The board and Finance Committee support the recent hospital plan to implement a small salary increase across-the-board in early 2018. Hospital administration has decided to provide all staff with a 2.5 percent increase, except for directors and above who will receive a 2 percent increase.
Those of us on the board keenly understand the financial challenges facing hospitals today, and appreciate the ongoing efforts by Kelly Mather and her administration team to reduce and streamline costs. Along with salary increases, hospital leadership is taking a hard and aggressive look at expenses. The leadership has implemented a plan that will save the hospital an additional $1.5 million, beginning on January 1st.
I believe our CEO and her team are making difficult, but very good decisions in a highly challenging environment. Balancing the need to keep hospital compensation close to our competition while keeping overall costs low is a priority. If our hospital does not take care of its staff, we will likely lose our best performers to other hospitals, many of which are part of larger health care systems with deeper pockets.
2017 Community Report
On December 1, SVH published its 2017 annual report, which many Valley residents received that day with home delivery of the Index-Tribune and Press-Democrat newspapers. This year’s report provides an excellent overview of hospital accomplishments of the past year, including an update on hospital finances. Highlights of the report include a significant growth in surgical volumes and continued growth in Emergency Department visits. If you haven’t seen a copy of the annual report, it’s available here on the hospital website.
I’d also like to remind all that the information presented at board meetings can be found on the hospital website (at sonomavalleyhospital.org under the Health Care District section), and the public is welcome at all board meetings and public comment is encouraged.
In closing, I’d like to send out our best wishes to all of you for a wonderful and safe Holiday Season. While I hope that you won’t need us, know that our staff will be here throughout the holidays to provide you with the highest quality care in a warm and welcoming environment.
Chair of the SVHCD Board of Directors