Springing Forward

Apr 12, 2022 | SVHCD Board Chair Report

April 2022 Board Chair Report

It feels like spring has sprung with so much good news to report from our April Board meeting.

Community Partner Spotlight: La Luz Center

The Board appreciated a presentation by Leonardo Lobato, Executive Director of La Luz Center, who highlighted the nearly 8,000 Latino residents in the Valley who are “touched” and served by the nonprofit with programs in family services, economic advancement, and community engagement and, most recently, disaster and emergency and direct services.

The Board affirmed its commitment to be a place of healing for all of the communities in the Valley, including those served by La Luz. I believe that we must be a welcoming place, providing important services to all of our communities’ residents, especially to Latinos who make up such an important part of our Valley. We look forward to collaborating with La Luz to bring the necessary resources to the Springs.

Outpatient Diagnostic Center Construction Now Underway

Construction on our Outpatient Diagnostic Center is set to resume with awarding of a contract to GMH Builders, as reported by Kimberly Drummond, Chief Officer of Supportive Services. While we had a slow-down in progress due to:

  • conditions that were discovered during construction that required remediation, some of it extensive;
  • the impact of Covid on working conditions, sourcing of materials and workforce availability; and,
  • leadership changes at the hospital.

Drummond noted that we are now on track to wrap up the CT scan (computerized tomography) portion of the project in the coming months with patient access expected before the end of the summer. The CT project includes the purchase and installation of a state-of-the-art CT scanner along with a new waiting room. 

The MRI portion of the project is also underway this month starting with the interior demolition. This part of the project includes the purchase and installation of a new 3 Tesla MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) unit. Our expectation is that initial demolition work will be completed by July, with project completion slated for late 2023. 

The entire Outpatient Diagnostic Center has been funded by $21 million raised through a successful capital campaign conducted by Sonoma Valley Hospital Foundation. We are grateful to the Foundation, major donors and our community for their support. We are confident that Sonoma Valley residents will soon have access to the modern outpatient diagnostic center which the community so generously supported through donations. The new center will also be an important step in working more closely with UCSF Health to better serve our community.

Covid Update 

CEO John Hennelly provided an overview of the Covid situation, noting that since the decline of Omicron cased towards the end of January, the hospital has returned to a more normal operating environment with fewer Covid patients in the Emergency Room and fewer still that have needed inpatient care. This has provided an opportunity for our staff to take a breath and to insure we remain prepared for whatever the future presents. 

Building upon the stellar work during the Omicron surge in January, Hennelly reported that hospital quality performance continued to be strong in February. “Even during the busiest times with the anxiety and stress that patients felt due to COVID, our staff-maintained protocols and were able to maintain incredibly high standards for quality of care and patient service. I’m incredibly proud of how our staff performed during this latest outbreak and feel ready for any future surges.”

New Surgeons

Other gains for our community include three new additions to the surgery department, a new general surgeon and two new orthopedic surgeons. Dr. Andrew Solomon, MD and Chief of Staff, reported that doctors are drawn to our hospital because it is a great place to work. He said that SVH has created “a field of dreams” with a wonderful facility, strong leaders and great staff. That combination will continue to attract even more doctors to care and surgery teams.

Dr. Solomon reflected on the progress that the medical staff have made in building a strong, caring and positive culture among the doctors, nurses and technical staff. He noted that this culture means that more physicians, nurses and staff will want to work here, which in turn, allows us to better serve our community.

Dr. Solomon further reported on the SVH Performance ScoreCard, citing two highlights: a patient-reported high satisfaction rate with doctors both in time spent with patients and the courtesy shown them by their practitioner. 

Brief Updates
• New Anesthesia Systems
CEO John Hennelly reported on, and the board approved, the purchase of three new anesthesia systems selected by the hospital administration team in concert with the Department of Anesthesia. The Sonoma Valley Hospital Foundation and their donors have generously funded these much needed new systems as the current equipment had reached the end of its useful life. 

• Bridge Loan Secured
The hospital was able to secure a significant, no-interest Bridge loan from the State of California intended to support hospitals in the transition between two government programs that support patient care. While we always keep an eye on the amount of debt on our balance sheet, this short-term, zero-percent-interest loan from the state was an attractive option to help fund several ongoing projects and programs. 

Next Board Meeting

The next regular District Board meeting will be held virtually on Thursday, May 5, 2022, at 6 pm. The public is encouraged to participate, and video conferencing details will be available on the Hospital’s website ahead of the meeting. Public comment is always welcome and encouraged.



Joshua Rymer
Chair of the SVHCD Board of Directors