SV Hospital confronts ‘destructive’ social media comments 

Posted on August 21, 2019 by Sonoma Valley Sun

A recent rash of social media attacks against Sonoma Valley Hospital are untrue and destructive, according to Board Chair Joshua Rymer. Among the false claims: the hospital is badly managed; employees are unhappy; and CEO Kelly Mather is overpaid. “None of these are true,” he countered.

Joshua Rymer, board chair, Sonoma Valley Health District

Rymer decried the charges, made “especially on social media,” as “attacks of a personal nature” directed at both Mather and the board. 

“Critics who insist that a hospital perform financially like a non-regulated, private company are at best naive, and at worst, destructive,” he said. “Among the many differences, no private company is required to serve all customers regardless of their ability to pay as we proudly do every day.”

In the context of healthcare in 2019, the hospital is doing extremely well, Rymer insists. At the board meeting where Rymer addressed the attacks, Mather reported that the hospital ended fiscal year 2019 with a small positive net income, compared to a deficit of almost $3 million the year before. 

Countering  the negative comments, Rymer said, “The hospital provides high quality care and currently enjoys a stronger financial position than it has seen in a decade.”


9 thoughts on “SV Hospital confronts ‘destructive’ social media comments 

  1. The hospital provides excellent service, no question, and the people involved at all levels are top notch. As for the social media comments, many are by aliases who only deserve to be ignored. If people can’t own their own opinions, they deserve no response. One local hospital critic has a habit of using many aliases to troll local social media. I won’t be surprised to see him show up here, either in real name or alias.

  2. Please note that any comments or opinions on Nextdoor are by real people. I hope this in not being lumped in with other social media. Nextdoor requires that you use your real name. I have had “trolls” removed from Nextdoor, when I saw the aliases that Fred it talking about. People should be able to question the hospital board and raise concerns. I have met with hospital board members and I do understand the financial difficulties facing the hospital. But, being concerned about the way the hospital is being run and about it financial viability is of concern to many of us. We want the hospital to succeed and we view it as very important to the community. If you will remember the parcel tax just barely passed last time, and on a second time on the ballot.

  3. Calling hospital critics “at best naive and at worse destructive” — even if they are — is NOT a way to win friends and influence people. Such combative, dismissive language is completely unnecessary to correct any misinformation or mis-impressions the ‘critics’ might be voicing. Such nuances in communication may not be important for the board and CEO of a private enterprise but the hospital is a public entity that depends on the voter-approved parcel tax to keep operating. The parcel tax always passes with the slimmest of margins, as many voters are covered by Kaiser and other plans & feel the hospital is not really ‘their’ hospital even though they have to pay for it. Keeping it open depends on winning and influencing — being nice to — as many voters as possible, including the ‘naive’ and ‘destructive’ whose votes are important if the hospital is to be around to serve the majority of non-naive and non-destructive Valley residents who want and need it.

    1. Bob, is this “wrong way” to communicate the same as casting all cops as donut eating bigots on Facebook? Some critics minds will never be changed no matter how much one sugar coats the language. The piece opens like this: “A recent rash of social media attacks against Sonoma Valley Hospital are untrue and destructive, according to Board Chair Joshua Rymer. Among the false claims: the hospital is badly managed; employees are unhappy; and CEO Kelly Mather is overpaid. “None of these are true,” he countered.” This is a clean and neutral statement. As I’ve advised Joshua, ignore unnamed trolls who for whatever reason need to hide behind an alias; and be careful of what you ask for with a hint of schadenfreude, you just might get it with no hospital.

  4. No Way, may be an un-named troll. But, I would still like some clarification on what social media is being referred to. There has been discussion on Nextdoor and there have been speakers at hospital board meetings that raised what I think are legitimate concerns. These posters and speakers are not trolls, they are all easily identified and not hiding behind aliases. I have a real concern that a parcel tax may not pass again and we may lose the hospital. I made it my business to meet with board members to get clarification about the hospital’s financial situation. I have concerns and I am not a troll. All the board members I spoke with were honest and answered all my questions. The voters perception about the hospital will determine if a parcel tax can pass again. I urged board members to do more out reach or town halls and meet with the community. Structured board meetings with public comment will really not engage with the voters and establish the dialog needed to pass a parcel tax or build community good will.

    1. Hi Josette, I am not privy to all the info the hospital is seeing, and I’m not on Nextdoor. I agree, people who differ and use their real names aren’t trolls. Difference of opinion is par for the course. Harassment is not.

      Past hospital troll(s): Johnjdp, Jack Shmollie, Runnz63, Sonoman, Dee Test. Some, maybe all, are the same person. Three of these came out recently on an I-T story about website hijackers, insulting the management, nasty, sarcastic, same MO as when this suspected same troll uses his real name. The effect is like flies harassing, it’s annoying, and destructive, as is the intent. I can see how the hospital is tired of it over time. I’m tired of it too, look at comments on my Sun blogs the last two years and put two and two together.

      With the anonymous mailer attacks on city council members, the I-T traced the IP address and they fingered the culprit. The hospital could do the same and find out.

  5. Trolls?? Hah! And who is masquerading on this thread under the name “Fred Allebach”?? That can’t be a real name, because everyone in town who knows Fred calls him Fred AlleNbach. 🤣

  6. I have contacted the author of this piece and yes, Nextdoor is the social media referred to. I do not want to get into a war of words with anyone. But, there are no “trolls” on Nextdoor, everyone is using their real names. I guess only those who are on Nextdoor can judge if the hospital critics crossed a line of decency or not. I can only say there were no anonymous attacks, the very same people who are critical of how the hospital is being run, wrote on Nextdoor and also spoke openly at board meetings. The names Fred mentioned as aliases are people who wrote comments in response to letters and articles in the IT on-line, they are not on Nextdoor. I have no idea of who No Way is, but if he or she is on Nextdoor they are using their real name there.

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