Preparing SVH For A Bright Future

Mar 4, 2019 | From the SVH CEO

SVH has served our community for more than 70 years as a small, independent District Hospital committed to providing valuable and life-saving healthcare services for all. For most of that time, things did not change much.

Then, about 10 years ago, after much discussion and debate, the community chose to invest in the future of its hospital by passing the General Obligation Bond. This gave the hospital a new beginning and provided a foundation for its future.

When I arrived in 2010, it was clear that SVH was primed and ready to become one of the best small hospitals in the Bay Area. We first needed to build the new Emergency Department and Surgery wing, and work together with our staff and physicians to create a strong place of healing.

We quickly launched the first capital campaign with a goal of reaching $11 million. It seemed daunting at the time because it was the biggest fundraising campaign for SVH by far. But we had a robust philanthropy strategy driven by our amazing and committed supporters and donors.

With the outpouring of support from the community, first with the bond measure, and then with the capital campaign, we created a beautiful hospital with modern emergency and surgery facilities that is a point of pride for our community.

During this time of rebuilding, the healthcare industry entered a period of unprecedented change, one that continues today. It’s fair to say that hospitals like ours have seen more change in the past decade than in the previous 50 years.

Last summer, I shared our vision to reinvent the hospital, a process now well underway. When you look at the environment facing small, independent hospitals today, you see we really had no choice.

As I said then, small hospitals like ours must rethink their role in this new era of healthcare. The best new concepts consider being small an asset rather than a liability, and small hospitals are restructuring themselves to build in new ways on their mandate to provide emergency services. We are doing so and, with UCSF Health as our partner, I am very optimistic about our future.

Our strengths include our accessibility, our exceptional emergency and outpatient services, our high efficiency and our service excellence resulting in high quality and safety standards, and high patient satisfaction. We have found our niche in the healthcare industry and its one we can own and develop over time, especially since we can now bring tremendous value to the many strengths that UCSF affiliation provides us.

Our vision is to become the “Outpatient Diagnostic Center of the North Bay” by offering most of the same pre- and post-clinic services that you can receive in San Francisco.

This capitalizes on the strong growth in outpatient care today and responds to the reality that inpatient care is shrinking. It’s clear that the inpatient side of our hospital will always be small, although it will remain an important service to our community. We are currently redefining how inpatient care is delivered by improving service while creating greater efficiencies.

In the process, we are raising our sights with the goal of becoming one of the very few 5 Star CMS hospitals in the Bay Area, moving beyond our current 4 Star rating which already places us among the top 25 percent of hospitals nationally for quality and safety.

Clearly, change remains the norm in healthcare, and especially for hospitals. But I’m confident that we are moving to get out ahead of that change and become a model for small hospitals.

In good health,


Kelly Mather
President and Chief Executive Officer
Sonoma Valley Hospital