Board Welcomes Judith Bjorndal and Susan Kornblatt Idell

Dec 15th, 2020

I would like to extend a warm welcome to Dr. Judith Bjorndal and Susan Kornblatt Idell who joined the board at our December meeting last week. Both bring considerable experience and expertise to their new roles. Judy is a retired physician who has worked in the Sonoma Valley for much of her career. Susan Kornblatt Idell is a social gerontologist who develops curricula for health professionals in the field of aging, and has served on the Hospital’s Quality Committee for many years. You can find more information about our newest board members here.

In welcoming Judy and Susan, we also said goodbye to Jane Hirsch and Sharon Nevins who have retired from the board. Jane served on the board for eight years, including three as board chair, and Sharon served for nine years, including two as chair. Both were instrumental in the considerable progress the hospital has made in recent years and will be greatly missed.

CEO Search Update

We made considerable progress in our search for a new CEO last month. Our executive search firm WittKieffer narrowed down an initial field of several hundred highly qualified potential candidates to a short list of 34 who were interviewed. From this, nine candidates were presented to the board’s search committee for review.

These nine are a very strong group. All have strong hospital or healthcare operations and management experience, and many have served as CEOs of hospitals or other healthcare delivery related organizations.

Six of the nine candidates were asked by the search committee to be interviewed this week and the hope is that we will be able to make an offer to the best candidate in January. 

With Kelly Mather’s departure at the end of this month, the board has made two interim appointments to oversee hospital operations until the new CEO joins. Ken Jensen, Chief Financial Officer, will serve as Interim Chief Executive Officer, and Sabrina Kidd, MD, Chief Medical Officer and UCSF Medical Director, will serve as Interim Chief Operating Officer. Jensen will oversee Finance, Facilities, and Community Outreach/Marketing. Dr. Kidd will oversee Ancillary Services, Human Resources, Nursing, Information Services, and Quality. 

Financial Report

In reviewing hospital financials, Ken Jensen reported the audit for the past fiscal year was completed by the accounting firm, which was highly complimentary of the hospital’s results during what has been a difficult time. They specifically noted that the hospital’s total net position increased by $9.2 million for FY 2020, despite an overall decrease in revenues of $11.4 million due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the change in SNF management. The management team deserves recognition for managing the finances so capably through a very challenging year.

CEO Report

CEO Kelly Mather notes that the first phase of the Outpatient Diagnostic Center has been delayed slightly. However, the CT project will be completed and ready to receive patients in March, and the MRI suite will be open by the end of 2021.

I know much has been said about Kelly’s time here, but I would like to add my thoughts as she prepares to leave us. Kelly came here to turn around a struggling hospital, and in doing so she reinvented it in so many ways. We are better, by far, on so many levels than we were when she arrived – modern new facilities, high quality of care and excellent patient satisfaction, and a greatly improved financial situation. On behalf of the board and our community, I want to say thank you to Kelly and wish you great success in your next role.

Covid Update

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sabrina Kidd reported that, along with the rest of the state and county, the number of Covid-19 patients in the hospital has increased, but we have adequate beds and staffing at this time. She said the hospital anticipates receiving an initial limited supply of Covid-19 vaccine this month which will first be used for front line staff and physicians. She said the hospital plans to assist with community vaccination once supplies become available, likely late first quarter 2021. She also noted that the hospital is making good progress in restoring hospital systems following the ransomware attack in October.

Next Board Meeting

The January regular District Board meeting will be held on Thursday, January 7, at 6 pm. Complying with state regulations on physical distancing due to the coronavirus, Board meetings are being conducted by video conferencing. The public is encouraged to participate and video conferencing details are available on the Hospital website. Public comment is always welcome.

Sincerely,

Joshua

Joshua Rymer
Chair of the SVHCD Board of Directors

Sonoma Valley Hospital Foundation