I’d like to begin this report by noting that I have assumed the position of board chair as of the January meeting, and want to thank Joshua Rymer on behalf of the entire board for his excellent work as chair over the past two years. His term has covered a critical period for the hospital as the board, with community input, worked closely with hospital administration to make many important decisions to strengthen the hospital financially and operationally. He deserves a great deal of credit for leading the board so effectively during this challenging period.
Joshua now moves to the First Vice Chair position and the other board members continue their current roles – Michael Mainardi as Second Vice Chair, Sharon Nevins as Treasurer, and Bill Boerum as Secretary.
Skilled Nursing Report
At the January meeting the board heard a very encouraging report from Ensign’s Mike Empey on the Skilled Nursing Facility’s successful transition to the Ensign Group which began July 1. Based on the results of the first five months of operation, it’s clear that bringing in the Ensign Group to operate the SNF was the right decision for the hospital and the community.
Empey reported the SNF, which is now called Valley of the Moon Post Acute, continues to meet high patient quality and safety standards, and remains a 5 Star facility with excellent marks in most performance areas, although there is room for improvement in a couple areas. Patient satisfaction also remains high. Empey noted that 90 percent of patients come from the local community. Importantly, there has been an increase in the patient census which has increased revenue.
As a result, the SNF has improved financially and is now profitable, a dramatic change from when the hospital started the SNF review process back in 2018 because it faced an annual operating loss of $800,000. I should point out that the hospital continues to maintain oversight of the SNF. Importantly, the hospital is now realizing revenue from services provided to Ensign as part of the agreement.
The hospital’s Chief Information Officer, Fe Sendaydiego, provided the department’s annual report to the board. Her report illustrates how important our IT Department is to the smooth operation of the hospital and the level of care it delivers to patients. Technology continues to grow in importance in healthcare, but the cost of keeping technology current is high. Our IT department works hard to keep our systems up-to-date and operating smoothly, and does so with a very tight budget – SVH IT costs run around five percent of hospital revenue, far less than for many hospitals.
Sendaydiego reports secure data sharing under HIPAA guidelines is a growing responsibility of hospital IT. SVH currently shares patient data – such as lab reports and imaging results – with such healthcare partners as local physicians, the Sonoma Valley Community Health Center and UCSF Health. This sharing will become even more important in the future as our hospital increasingly exchanges data with other organizations and healthcare systems on the state and national levels in order to better serve patients.
In other business, CEO Kelly Mather reported that the hospital met budget in December, the eighth consecutive month it has done so. Chief Medical Officer Sabrina Kidd, MD, reported that in January the hospital began using UCSF Health for telemedicine services for Infectious Disease services; SVH already turns to UCSF for Neurology telemedicine services. Dr. Kidd also reported that the hospital switched the telemedicine provider for Psychiatric Services to Valley Emergency Physicians, which provides the physicians for our Emergency Department.
Finally, I want to welcome Bruce Flynn who joins the board’s Finance Committee as a community member. He retired last year as Director of UCSF Finance Department, Risk Management and Insurance Services, and beings considerable financial expertise to SVH. Community participation in the hospital through board committees is important to maintaining community involvement and transparency.
Next Board Meeting
Our next regular District Board meeting will be held on Thursday, February 6, at 6 pm in the City Council Chamber 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