The District board held a special public meeting last week to hear plans to transition the Hospital’s home health care service, Healing At Home, to Hospice by the Bay. The proposed transition of Healing at Home appears to be excellent news for the Hospital, our community and Hospice.
It ensures that an important and highly regarded service that provides nearly 9,000 home visits each year continues to serve our community. And importantly, it will be a seamless transition for patients, families and Healing At Home staff, so patients will not see any change in their care. Nothing changes except that Healing At Home now has a more secure future.
The agreement with Hospice by the Bay is the result of a process the Hospital began many months ago. Due to rising costs, many hospitals have closed their home care services and our home care service might have faced a similar fate due to rising costs and lowered reimbursement rates. However, Hospital leadership did not want to take that route and instead searched for a strong partner who would be able to operate the service efficiently in conjunction with its own home care services. Hospice by the Bay, a long-time partner with our hospital, appears to be the ideal organization to preserve this important service. It’s an agreement that benefits everyone.
SVH enjoys a close relationship with Hospice by the Bay and we appreciate how committed they are to the Sonoma Valley. Hospice has been in the community since 1992 and has formed a strong relationship with Healing At Home during that time.
As Hospice CEO Kitty Whitaker explained, the organization’s decision to take over Healing At Home is part of a strategic vision to expand into skilled home care and provide the full continuum of home health, palliative and hospice care. Hospice by the Bay already operates a home care service that it acquired recently in San Francisco.
The draft agreement calls for Hospice by the Bay to acquire Healing at Home and continue operating the service for the benefit of residents of the Valley. There will be no compensation to the Hospital for the business and its assets, which will be transferred to Hospice as part of the agreement, and Hospice will assume applicable liabilities and leases.
The SVH board will seek to finalize the transfer documents and then give approval to the final agreement at its next regularly scheduled board meeting on September 6th. Hospice by the Bay’s board must also approve the transition.
Our next regular District Board meeting will be held on Thursday, September 6, 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