I would like to highlight several topics discussed at the January board meeting which have implications for the future of our hospital and its ability to remain competitive in providing high quality services, starting with plans for an Outpatient Diagnostic Center.
Outpatient Diagnostic Center
The board received an update on the hospital’s plan to build an Outpatient Diagnostic Center, relying on philanthropy to fund construction and equipment purchases.
Diagnostic services are critical for a hospital like ours and essential to have at the hospital in order to provide high quality emergency care. Last year diagnostic services such as CT, MRI, x-ray and fluoroscopy generated 13 percent of SVH’s total annual revenue. Currently, medical imaging is spread over four different locations within the hospital and two separate locations outside of the hospital. In several cases, our technology is quite dated and needs replacement.
Consolidating diagnostic imaging in a single location within the hospital will dramatically improve patient experience, create operational efficiencies and cost savings that cannot now exist given today’s separated services, and provide opportunities for better care. The creation of a new Outpatient Diagnostic Center also will have significant financial implications, as it will allow the hospital to retain revenue and reduce expenses. The value is in excess of $6.5M annually from both Outpatient and Emergency Department diagnostics.
Upgrading equipment, including the CT scanner and MRI technology, and adding a second x-ray machine, will improve quality of service and go a long way toward keeping SVH competitive, relevant and sustainable as an excellent community hospital. We will be hearing more about these plans in the year ahead.
Board Work Plan
The Board also collaborated at the meeting on a “work plan” for the coming year. The goal is to become both more engaged with those in our region whose responsibilities overlap with ours, and gain greater insight into trends in health care. We are working to strengthen our relationships with city and county administrative officials, elected representatives, and county health officials. We also will continue to invite health care experts to speak to the board about areas where the hospital can strengthen services.
In her monthly board report, CEO Kelly Mather noted that SVH is actively seeking affiliation and/or collaboration agreements with other Bay Area health care providers and is working to build relationships more broadly. There are many reasons why relationships could be beneficial for our hospital, including providing access to new services and expertise while reducing overhead. SVH would remain independent in any of the collaborations and partnerships being considered.
She noted one potential partner is UCSF Health, which is currently building a care provider network in the Bay Area and has affiliations with many hospitals ranging from Monterey to St. Helena.
There are two changes to Board Committee assignments for the coming year: Jane Hirsch and Peter Hohorst are board representatives on the Quality Committee, Bill Boerum and Peter Hohorst remain on Governance Committee, and Sharon Nevins and I are on the Finance Committee.
In closing, I’d like to send our best wishes to all of you for a happy and prosperous new year. I’d also like to remind all that the information presented at board and committee 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.
Our next Sonoma Valley District Board Meeting will be held on Thursday, February 1st at 6 pm in Community Meeting Room, 177 1st St. West in Sonoma. The public is always welcome to attend.
Chair of the SVHCD Board of Directors