Response to Our Critics
We undertook this review of the SVH hoping to help foster a community discussion about SVH, its recent past, its current status and future. It was our hope that those who have comments, questions or suggestions would step forward with their views and engage in a dialogue.
Having been unsuccessful in convincing our public critics to come together to openly share information and views, we have written an open response which can be found . We encourage you to read it and we welcome your comments and questions.
We created this simple, largely static website to facilitate availability and distribution of Sonoma Hospital Observations, our independent report on the recent performance, current financial position, business strategy and significant current and future issues for Sonoma Valley Hospital.
We encourage you to read our report, including the exhibits. We would value hearing any comments, questions or suggestions. We would also be delighted if you would like to become involved in supporting our hospital. There are many available roles, including leadership, community outreach, fundraising and other important support roles.
Click to open the report.
Click the for a one-page summary of February 2020 YTD, results, the last 12 months and last three years of audited SVH key performance indicators.
Click the for a one-page overview of SVH financial performance during the period 2013-2019.
• Sonoma Valley Hospital (SVH) is very likely to continue to require a parcel tax in the future to remain open.
• Nationally, rural hospitals are struggling to stay open. In part this is because Medicare and Medi-Cal fail to pay the full cost to serve those patients. Fewer than half of California’s 78 Healthcare Districts still operate hospitals. Twelve of the remaining 35 are SVH peers in terms of size and services, but only SVH is not classified as a “Rural, Critical Access Hospital.” The others are reimbursed for actual costs plus 1 percent, as defined by Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services ("CMS") plus 1 percent. Sonoma Valley Hospital does not qualify for that benefit. The effect is large continuing losses.
• About 61 percent of Sonoma Valley Hospital revenues come from serving Medicare and Medi-Cal patients. Over the last three years SVH Medicare and Medical losses averaged $8.5 million per year.
• Moreover, half or more of the District’s population are Kaiser members. They use the Hospital’s Emergency Department, but nearly all of their other medical needs are handled at Kaiser facilities.
• Individual medical emergencies such as heart attacks, strokes, severe accidents and other ailments require the immediate professional attention that only a fully licensed emergency room can provide. Travel times to the nearest hospitals outside of Sonoma can be an hour or more.
• Over the last couple of years, our Hospital has made major progress.
o Since August 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid has ranked SVH in the top quartile of hospitals nationwide (4 of 5 stars) for the quality of its care.
o SVH’s 2019 financial results were the best in years – net income of $198,477 after including parcel tax revenues and SVH Foundation donations. This was $3.6 million better than 2018 results.
o In Feb. 2018, SVH affiliated with UCSF, one of America’s best hospitals. That move is already bearing fruit in SVH’s “Stroke Ready accreditation” and reduction of annual SVH physician support cost of $500,000 or more. Accreditation allows stroke victims to be brought by ambulance to SVH and immediately connect with UCSF neurologists to evaluate, treat and/or transfer those patients.
o Great strides have also been made in philanthropy. Annual donations are now $1 to $2 million per year. Additionally, nearly $19.5 million has been pledged to build a new Diagnostic Center.