My husband and I have lived in Sonoma for nearly 37 years, and for most of that time, the community has debated the merits of having a hospital in town. Each time residents are asked to help fund hospital operations or capital improvements, we discuss whether we need an emergency room, whether the economics work in a small community, whether the hospital is being effectively managed, and whether we can meet the challenges of limited reimbursements, regulatory changes and legislative directives. Debate has been robust and occasionally, contentious.
And yet, the hospital survives and thrives, testament to the community’s underlying desire to provide comprehensive routine and emergency health care for all residents.
That’s not to say that the debate is without merit. None of our public institutions is perfect. We engage with our city, county and other government entities regularly, insuring their actions mirror the priorities and desires of the community. Institutions that do not respond to that important input risk losing the support of the very residents they serve.
In my view, Sonoma Valley Hospital has done an amazing job over the years of meeting local needs while also responding to changes in the healthcare industry, shifting demographics and unending state and federal mandates. Each component of their current operations responds to a critical community need, not the least of which is the Emergency Room.
I believe our hospital is vital to maintaining a healthy, vibrant community, and I will happily support Measure E to insure it remains so.
Mary Neilan, Sonoma