The Skilled Nursing Facility Task Force provided an update at the board meeting last week following their very well attended public meeting on September 27. According to Task Force Chair Jane Hirsch, the group has made considerable progress since it was formed in August to study the viability of the hospital’s Skilled Nursing Facility.
Two key opportunities for improved financial performance have surfaced through the Task Force’s work to-date: reducing unit staffing and increased therapist staffing. Both of these opportunities are being tested as I write this through the implementation of a new staffing plan, the recruitment of contract therapists, and a tightening of admission requirements.
Over the next few months, emphasis will be on those patients with significant rehabilitation potential who are best served by our SNF and offer the most reimbursement for the hospital. This will ensure that the hospital is reimbursed adequately for services.
As Hirsch mentioned in her recent report, current staffing in our SNF, at 6.4 Hours Per Patient Day (HPPD), has been significantly higher than the state standard of 4.5 HPPD. The Task Force will reduce staffing and manage the census to reach the 4.5 HPPD and see what impact this has on margins going forward.
Hirsch mentioned that people have inquired about the report recently completed by the SNF consultant and she said this report will soon be available to the community on the hospital website. A news release will be distributed when it is available. She noted that the Task Force expects the process to take several more months to assess the impact on SNF margins from recent process changes, and another public meeting will be held before any final decision is made regarding the SNF’s future.
Medical Tourism Presentation
The Board had a presentation on Medical Tourism by Renee-Marie Stephano, president of the Medical Tourism Association. The presentation, made by telephone and PowerPoint, was arranged by board member Bill Boerum to inform the board on the growing trend to medical tourism as a potential way to increase patient volume.
Other Board Reports
SVH Chief Information Officer Fe Sendaydiego reported on recent steps to review the system that the hospital uses to transmit medical records to/from other providers (e.g., doctors and other facilities). In addition, she updated the board on steps recently taken to update cybersecurity at the hospital. She cautioned that the hospital will never ask a patient for personal information by phone or email. If you receive such a request, contact the hospital directly for clarification.
Our new Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sabrina Kidd, who also serves as our UCSF Medical Director, said she continues to work with UCSF to share quality metrics and standards. She also reported that the hospital has been reviewing procedures preparing the hospital for the closure of the Obstetrics Unit on October 31, including closely tracking patients who are expected to give birth before that date, finalizing transfer agreements with nearby hospitals, and arranging refresher courses for Emergency Department medical staff on dealing with precipitous deliveries, which are rare.
Our next regular District Board meeting will be held on Thursday, November 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