The contours of our hospital’s growing affiliation with UCSF came into sharper focus at the board meeting last week with a presentation by Jen Sweeney, Chief Operating Officer of the UCSF Health Affiliates network. She discussed the network as an important part of UCSF’s plan to provide high quality patient care throughout the Bay Area and stressed the important role SVH will play in the North Bay as part of this network.
Our affiliation with UCSF grew out of a desire to improve quality of care, increase access to specialists, strengthen the hospital financially, especially through increased use of services, and better serve the healthcare needs of our community, all of which is occurring. Recently, we have benefitted from UCSF’s support in improving our stroke care, supporting our Covid-19 response, making nationally respected specialists such as urologist Dr. Peter Carroll available to Sonoma Valley patients through telehealth, and recovering from the recent cyberattack.
As we move ahead, SVH will play a larger role in UCSF’s Bay Area network by providing primary and secondary care services to UCSF patients throughout the North Bay. The new Outpatient Diagnostic Center is an important first step in the hospital’s ability to draw patients from beyond Sonoma Valley. Sweeny said there is also consideration of having UCSF North Bay patients come to SVH for inpatient care.
Skilled Nursing Facility Update
The board had a positive report from Mike Empey, administrator of the skilled nursing facility located in the hospital now called Valley of the Moon Post Acute. In his twice-yearly report to the board, Empey reported that, while the census has dropped somewhat in the past year due to the pandemic, it continues to meet the highest performance and safety standards in measures used to evaluate SNF quality of care, frequently exceeding national and California performance averages. He noted that 100 percent of discharged patients report they are highly satisfied with the care received at the facility and would return if needed or refer a friend to the facility.
It is clear that transferring management of the SNF to the Ensign Group in 2019 was a sound decision. The SNF continues to provide our community with excellent skilled nursing care while saving the hospital close to a half-million dollars a year.
CEO Search Update
The board’s CEO search committee reported that it will soon bring two finalist candidates to Sonoma to meet with board members and also members of the administration team and medical staff, as well as others in the community. It has been an effort to narrow the field from the several hundred initial candidates identified by our executive search firm, but we feel we now have excellent finalists, all with the significant healthcare and hospital operational experience we seek. We expect to make an offer to our leading candidate by February.
On January 1, Ken Jensen, Chief Financial Officer, and Dr. Sabrina Kidd, Chief Medical Officer and UCSF Medical Director, assumed their roles as Interim CEO and Interim COO upon Kelly Mather’s departure. They are working closely with the hospital’s administration team and hospital leadership to ensure the hospital continues to operate at a high level.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sabrina Kidd reported that, with considerable help from UCSF Health, the hospital has recovered from the cyberattack and almost all systems have been fully restored, along with increased security measures.
She reports that, to date, the hospital has administered the Covid-19 vaccine to more than 300 healthcare workers including physicians and some first responders. She said the hospital has not yet received information from the government on when it will receive larger quantities of the vaccine or information on how quickly it will be made available to groups beyond healthcare workers.
Dr. Kidd will lead a virtual Community Townhall meeting on Tuesday, January 12, at 11:30 am for the community to learn about the currently available vaccines for COVID-19. The Zoom meeting will discuss how the vaccine works and provide available information on local COVID-19 vaccination plans. The virtual session will be simultaneously presented in Spanish. You can find more information about the meeting here.
Next Board Meeting
The next regular District Board meeting will be held on Thursday, February 4, at 6 pm. Complying with state regulations on physical distancing due to the coronavirus, Board meetings are being conducted by video conferencing. 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