The board received an update at the April meeting from Chief Medical Officer Sabrina Kidd, MD, and CEO Kelly Mather on COVID-19 preparedness which illustrated the impressive efforts that hospital leadership, physicians and staff have taken during the past month.
Kelly Mather said that SVH, like all Bay Area hospitals, has identified potential increased capacity as much as possible, has prepared for high Emergency Department demand, and is addressing concerns about staffing and supplies. She also noted that the affiliation with UCSF Health, allowing the hospital to draw on their expertise and support, has been invaluable.
As an added benefit to the community, the hospital opened a COVID-19 hotline and drive-through testing for patients with symptoms. Patients must call the RN screening hotline before scheduling testing. (Call 707.935.5440. It’s open 8 am to 8 pm, seven days a week).
As of Monday, April 6, the hospital reported 105 people have been tested with 57 using the drive-through testing option for less severe symptoms. Primary Care Physicians can also send orders and their patients will get an immediate appointment for testing. Testing availability and turnaround time has improved greatly and this service will continue as long as supplies are available.
In preparation for a potential large influx of inpatients, the hospital has doubled inpatient bed capacity to 48 (the hospital is currently licensed for 24 inpatients.) It also has the option of adding another 11 beds in the Surgery Department, if needed. This higher capacity is ten times the current inpatient census and includes 6 ICU beds and 6 ventilators. So for those concerned with a possible hospital bed shortage, our hospital is here for you and currently has capacity.
High Emergency Department demand is also a concern. The hospital will open a triage tent near the main entrance of the hospital which will then separate Emergency patients, with those that are stable and ambulatory being seen separately in the old Emergency Department. This plan will double ER capacity, if needed. It also includes a quick registration process and access to telehealth Emergency physicians to supplement physician staffing.
The hospital continues to purchase and receive needed Personal Protective Equipment, such as masks, gowns, face shields and gloves. It also has been receiving donated supplies from local businesses and community members, for which we are grateful!
I would remind you that the hospital has created a COVID-19 information resource for the community on the SVH website which continues to be updated as new information becomes available. It can be accessed here.
During this crisis, please don’t put off your medical care, as Dr. Kidd noted many physicians in the Valley are now using telehealth in some form to continue to see patients while their offices are closed for routine visits. She suggests that you check with your personal physician to see what is offered.
At the meeting, the board approved a resolution declaring a local emergency for COVID-19. The resolution allows the District, as a government entity with over 42,000 members, to take all necessary steps to protect life, health and safety in coordination with other agencies, as well as to seek and recover relief funding from the government.
Administration reported that the hospital has had a strong year financially in the first eight months of the fiscal year, through February. Unfortunately, due to the impact of the pandemic on operations, the financial outlook will not continue to be positive for the fiscal year ending in June 2020. Non-essential surgeries and most outpatient services have been postponed until the end of the emergency. Normal operating revenue is about $3.8 million per month and revenue will likely be half or less that from March through May. In addition, some expenses have increased due to the necessary preparations for COVID-19. The hospital will seek funding support from the state and federal sources targeted to keep hospitals alive during this time.
Next Board Meeting
The next regular District Board meeting will be held on Thursday, May 7, at 6 pm. Due to state regulations on sheltering in place and physical distancing, the April board meeting was changed to video conferencing. The May meeting will be held by video conference if it again becomes necessary.
Chair of the SVHCD Board of Directors