August Board Chair Report: SVH Covid Cases Remain Low, But Hospital Is Prepared
Speaking at the recent board meeting, Hospital Chief Medical Officer Sabrina Kidd, MD, reported that Sonoma County continues to see a dramatic increase in the spread of the Delta variant, a highly transmissible form of Covid that is having a big impact on the unvaccinated. She said the hospital has seen only a few cases in the past week but is prepared to respond to an increase, if needed.
Dr. Kidd stressed that the hospital maintains strict safety protocols so community members can feel secure when seeking routine care. She reported that the hospital:
- Is well out in front of new mandates to vaccinate all health care workers, and 91 percent of staff members and 99 percent of medical staff are currently vaccinated, and this will increase in the next month. In the meantime, any unvaccinated staff will be masked and regularly tested;
- Has resumed Covid testing for all patients admitted or undergoing procedures, and it now has the technology in-house to quickly handle all Covid testing; and,
- Those visiting patients either must show that they are vaccinated or have had a negative Covid test within 72 hours of the visit, and all seeking care must wear a mask.
The hospital soon will be announcing additional and updated Covid-related policies reflecting continuing changes in the situation and incorporating all new government mandates. Sonoma Valley Hospital encourages any residents of the Healthcare District who have not been vaccinated and who are able to receive the vaccine, to get vaccinated as quickly as possible.
Foundation Provides Vital Support
Our hospital is extremely fortunate to have an outstanding philanthropic Foundation providing significant financial support that allows us to upgrade our facilities and equipment and improve hospital services. It is not an overstatement to say the hospital depends on the Foundation and its volunteer board, generous donors and supporters to maintain the high quality of services we provide the community.
Dave Pier, Sonoma Valley Hospital Foundation Executive Director, highlighted the Foundation’s vital role in his annual presentation to the board. He noted that, between 2015 and 2021, the Foundation has raised around $27 million for the hospital, of which $21 million is funding the new Outpatient Diagnostic Center.
Beyond the big projects like the Diagnostic Center, the Foundation supports the hospital in many smaller ways. For example, in the past year it has funded a new Dexa Bone Scan machine and a new Xenex Robot used to disinfect patient rooms and surgery suites, as well as many other small equipment purchases. It also funds continuing education programs for nurses and other professional staff, as well a supporting Project Pink that provides free mammograms for uninsured women.
The board is so thankful for the tremendous contributions made by the Foundation and all of our donors!
SNF Remains An Important Community Service
The board had an update from Mike Empey, administrator of the skilled nursing facility (SNF) located in the hospital and now called Valley of the Moon Post Acute. His reports continue to reinforce the conclusion that transferring management of the SNF to the Ensign Group in 2019 was a sound decision for the hospital and the community.
He reported that the SNF continues to rate high with patients, with 100 percent of discharged patients in the recent quarter reporting they are highly satisfied with the care they received and would recommend it to a friend.
Empey also said that in the past six months, 76 percent of the patients in the SNF were admitted directly from the hospital, demonstrating that the SNF remains an important part of hospital services to the community. Empey also noted the facility has experienced no cases of Covid this year with residents or staff.
Also Of Interest
Audit Committee. As part of its efforts to recruit community members with valuable experience, the board approved the appointment of Arthur Grandy and Graham Smith to serve as public members on the Board’s Audit Committee. Both are Sonoma Valley residents with extensive experience in business and finance.
Bond Refinance. Finance Committee Chair Bill Boerum reported that steps to refinance one of the District’s two general obligation bonds at a lower interest rate were recently completed, resulting in a $2.2 million savings for District taxpayers.
Next Board Meeting
The next regular District Board meeting will be held on Thursday, September 2, at 6 pm. Due to precautions regarding the coronavirus, Board meetings will continue to be held via video conferencing for the near future. The public is encouraged to participate, and video conferencing details are available on the Hospital website. Public comment is always welcome.
Chair of the SVHCD Board of Directors