In a win for the community and the hospital, the board approved the sale of the South Lot to housing developer DeNova Homes at the meeting last week. The South Lot is a four-acre parcel of adjacent land that was owned by the hospital until this sale went through. The sale involves nearly three acres of the parcel, with the hospital retaining the rest for continued use as an employee parking lot.
The benefits for the hospital are clear – we were able to take an underused asset and turn it into a financial gain. However, the community also benefits, gaining additional and much needed new housing. The 22 unit development includes four affordable homes. In addition, 18 of the homes have casitas (auxiliary dwelling units) that owners will be able to offer as rentals to community residents.
The sale price was $3.3 million. After repayment of the loan and deposits, SVH receives approximately $1 million which will be entirely used to pay down the hospital’s existing line of credit.
While the sale is beneficial for the hospital, and comes at a time when the hospital is reporting improved financial performance, it doesn’t mean the hospital is out of the woods financially. The reality is the hospital must continue to look for additional revenue sources and keep a tight rein on expenses. It also will continue to depend on the parcel tax to maintain 24/7 emergency services for our community.
Chief Ancillary Officer Dawn Kuwahara provided an update on the hospital’s Ancillary Services Department, which comprises 100 staff members providing Cardiopulmonary, Laboratory, Medical Imaging, Occupational Health, Rehabilitation and PT, and Wound Care services.
Kuwahara discussed the Patient Access Center currently being phased in. This new one-stop shopping service will, when fully implemented, dramatically improve patient experience through centralized patient scheduling. It is expected to lead to improved patient satisfaction, reduced wait times, increased collaboration with stakeholders and physicians, and increased productivity for hospital staff.
She also mentioned that Ancillary Services continues to achieve high patient satisfaction scores, according to data provided by RateMyHospital. Cardiopulmonary, Medical Imaging and Outpatient PT received patients scores in the past year of 4.8 or 4.9 out of a potential maximum score of 5.0.
Board member Jane Hirsch, who chairs the hospital’s Quality Committee, provided the committee’s quarterly report. Based on her report and all of the metrics we monitor, it is clear that our staff, physicians and leadership continue to provide a very high quality of care to our patients. Hirsch also noted that the hospital continues its commitment to continuous quality improvement using a systematic approach to ensure all services meet high standards. To that end, the hospital undertook 21 performance improvement projects in 2018 involving representatives from each department. Investing in these projects is consistent with a continued focus on efficient delivery of the highest quality care.
In her monthly report, CEO Kelly Mather noted that the transition of the Skilled Nursing Facility to The Ensign Group is proceeding as planned. Ensign began the transition on June 1 and assumed formal responsibility for the unit on July 1, which now operates under the name Valley of the Moon Post Acute. Mather said that Ensign has already submitted its application for a license to extend the facility to treat subacute patients. This will broaden the set of services available in our community, but may take up to a year to receive approval.
Mather also reported that the Capital Campaign being led by the Sonoma Valley Hospital Foundation has secured $17.5 million toward the goal of $21 million to complete the planned Outpatient Diagnostic Center, which will include upgrading the Imaging Department with new CT and MRI equipment and suites.
Next Board Meeting
Our next regular District Board meeting will be held on Thursday, August 1, 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.
Chair of the SVHCD Board of Directors