Growth and Staff Engagement Highlighted At May Meeting

May 9, 2018 | SVHCD Board Chair Report

At the May board meeting City Manager Kathy Capriola and Police Chief Bret Sackett reviewed the City’s response to the October fire emergency. Their presentation, “October Fires Update & After Action Report,” is available here on the city’s website and I recommend you take a look.

We want to thank the City for its hard work during and after the fires. It’s clear that the City has taken its role very seriously and, while it performed well during the emergency, has identified ways to be even better prepared for future emergencies. The hospital understands that it too has an important role to play in emergency response and will continue working closely with the city in planning for the future.

In addition, Capriola discussed the city’s new website as a resource for the community ( She noted that a comprehensive “Sonoma County Recovers” website has been developed as the official source of information on recovery resources for the County of Sonoma and the City of Santa Rosa.

Hospital Business Development

Michelle Donaldson, who oversees the hospital’s growth and business development efforts, provided an update on current initiatives. The hospital has set a goal of generating $1.45 million in new revenue in the current fiscal year, and growth to-date is trending at $1.61 million.  Most of this growth has resulted from successful initiatives to expand bariatric (weight loss) surgery, and pain management and women’s health services.

It’s important to point out that what we are measuring is incremental growth from increases in procedures and the revenues associated with them.  This growth has been very beneficial in helping to offset reductions in revenue the hospital continues to experience in inpatient stays because of the government’s emphasis on lower-compensated outpatient care. This decrease is impacting all hospitals, driven by Medicare-mandated reductions in inpatient care and length of stay. This especially impacts small hospitals like ours because of our high ratio of Medicare patients

Her report also discusses hospital efforts to provide diverse specialty services that reduce the need for patients to travel outside of the Valley for specialized care. The hospital has been instrumental in attracting a number of specialists in recent years including, most recently, an ophthalmologist, a breast surgeon and a colorectal surgeon. We ask community members to remind their primary care physician to refer them to local specialists who use our hospital facilities whenever possible. That will help ensure that we are able to maintain a hospital and emergency services in our community.

Human Resources Report

Lynn McKissock, Director of Human Resources, provided the department’s annual report to the board. Especially noteworthy were her comments on the high level of staff engagement, which translates into many benefits for the hospital and its patients, from reduced turnover to increased patient satisfaction.

Each year the hospital uses an outside firm to survey staff, and then compares the results with those of hospitals across the country. While the results this year were slightly lower than previous years, they were still strong.

Overall, the employee engagement score, at 4.19 out of a possible 5.0, was down slightly from last year, but is still higher than the national average. That score placed the hospital in the top 40 percent of hospital’s nationally. The turnover rate, at 13.6 percent, was higher than last year’s 10.3 percent rate. A big factor impacting employee engagement and turnover is salary, and the hospital saw total salary costs of $26.1 million, representing 47.5 percent of net revenue, slightly higher than last year. This represents hospital efforts to remain regionally competitive on salaries.

I should point out that both Donaldson’s and McKissock’s presentations are included in the May board agenda packet, which is available online here.

Our next Sonoma Valley District Board meeting will be held on Thursday, June 7 at 6 pm in the Community Meeting Room, 177 1st St. West in Sonoma. The public is welcome to attend, and public comment is always encouraged.



Joshua Rymer
Chair of the SVHCD Board of Directors