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Hospital Board report: home care, nursing task force and more

Posted on March 12, 2019 by Sonoma Valley Sun
By Joshua Rymer, Chair of the Sonoma Valley Hospital District Board of Directors
Last week’s board meeting provided updates on several hospital initiatives including the transfer of the skilled home care program to Hospice By The Bay, the Skilled Nursing Facility Task Force, and ongoing hospital business development efforts.

Healing At Home
It has been five months since Hospice By The Bay took over the hospital’s skilled home care program, Healing At Home, and Wendy Ranzau, HBTB COO, said the transition has gone well and both staff and patients are pleased. The license for the service remains with the hospital for now but HBTB has applied for a license.

Ranzau said the number of community members served by the program is growing and HBTB is expanding the home care service area to match that of its hospice care in the region so it can serve even more people. She also said that the organization plans to move Healing At Home staff to join hospice staff in the Sonoma office in the near future.

Skilled Nursing Task Force
Board member Jane Hirsch reported that the Skilled Nursing Facility Task Force, which she chairs, has completed its review of the hospital’s Skilled Nursing Facility and has concluded that the best way to ensure that the SNF remains in the hospital and continues to serve community members is to involve an experienced SNF management company to run the facility.

The Task Force was formed last August to investigate ways to make the SNF financially viable in the face of significant losses, and had recommended several changes to improve financial performance in the unit. As reported previously, the volume of patients has not met expectations and the resulting financial performance has been disappointing, even after implementing operational improvements.

The Task Force then explored the idea of working with an outside organization to manage the facility and reviewed proposals from two well-respected SNF management companies. With this decision, the Task Force has concluded its work and has turned over the next steps to hospital administration.

The hospital is currently negotiating with one of the companies and the final recommendation is expected to come before the board for approval in April or May. This decision is, Hirsch noted, a win for our community as it will enable the SNF to remain operating in the hospital.

Hirsch praised the efforts of all concerned in reviewing SNF operations over the past six months, singling out Task Force members, including community members, and the SNF staff which were very helpful in implementing new operational approaches.

Business Development
Michelle Donaldson, who is responsible for hospital business development, provided a mid-fiscal year update and reported continued growth in several areas that contribute to the improved financial health of the hospital.

Donaldson noted that the hospital has seen direct margins increase in six of the eight main service areas, and surgeries and procedures are on track to report a nine percent increase this fiscal year over last. She reported the hospital is seeing strong increases in pain management, orthopedics, cardiology, ophthalmology and endoscopy services.

CMO Report
In her report, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sabrina Kidd said that the hospital began using UCSF Health for tele-medicine stroke consultations in the Emergency Department on March 1, providing access to their excellent neurology services. She also reported that the hospital is very close to receiving Acute Stroke Ready certification which is given to hospitals that meet high standards of care for the initial treatment of stroke patients.

Next Board Meeting
Our next regular District Board meeting will be held on Thursday, April 4, 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.



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