Sonoma Valley Hospital lost no time in adding “An affiliate of UCSF Health” to its logo, and why not? This new relationship is something to be proud of. And it is worth noting that ours is the first small independent hospital with whom the prestigious UCSF has affiliated.
UCSF is arguably one of the best hospitals in the country – we have heard “one of the top five.” So it is a noteworthy attainment that SVH met all of the quality standards of this stellar institution the first time around. UCSF required no work to bring our hospital up to their level.
These standards include quality of care, outcomes and the metrics for that. UCSF holds its affiliates to its own standards of quality and values. We learned from CEO Kelly Mather that our hospital passed UCSF’s scrutiny with flying colors.
UCSF was very impressed, SVH Board Chair Joshua Rymer told the Sun. “It’s an honor when such an institution recognizes a hospital like ours.” One of the specifics of the new affiliation assures the continuation of quality care. As part of the co-managing relationship, UCSF will name from its own faculty the Medical Chief Officer for Sonoma Valley. The new Chief will continue at UCSF, maintaining the relationship.
Mather affirms that this is a true collaboration, not a take-over. UCSF gets some advantages, too. One she mentions is that they will learn from SVH how to run an efficient, low-cost hospital.
So how did this come about? We asked Jane Hirsch, Chair of the hospital board during the negotiations. Hirsch, herself a former faculty member and Chief Nurse at UCSF, credits it to Mather’s “visionary pursuit” of the affiliation. Apparently Mather first approached the San Francisco-based health mecca five years ago about developing a relationship. UCSF was not ready for this kind of affiliation at the time. A couple of years ago UCSF launched Canopy Health, an insurance plan for the Bay area, and SVH signed up.
But the actual negotiations leading to affiliation went quickly. The agreement was signed in less than six months.
What will this mean for us here in the Valley? CEO and board members mention some very promising possibilities. One would be an expanded Memory Care and Aging program. Certainly for the Valley’s demographic, that would be a great asset. Another is an Infusion Center, which would mean that cancer patients don’t have to make long drives for their chemo treatment. And it is likely that UCSF will be our telemedicine partner, giving our physicians long-distance access to those specialists.
We welcome this new collaborative relationship, and our thanks to its creators. We are grateful to have Sonoma Valley Hospital.