Hospital board picks Boerum as new chair
THE SONOMA VALLEY Health Care District board now includes, from left, Bill Boerum, Peter Hohorst, Sharon Nevins, Kevin Carruth and Jane Hirsch.
With a heavy agenda on Thursday evening, the Sonoma Valley Health Care District board tackled myriad issues, including electing new officers and exploring a new focus on Latino patients.
The night began with a farewell to boardmember Madolyn Agrimonti, who decided not to seek reelection in November. “I’m not leaving the hospital, I’ll actually be working with the foundation on fundraising,” she said.
Agrimonti’s exit made way for new member Jane Hirsch to join the board. Hirsch was given the seat after no challengers entered the election race. On Thursday, the board’s longest-serving member, Bill Boerum, was unanimously elected chair, while former board chair Peter Hohorst took the position of first vice president. Hirsch was elected second vice president, Sharon Nevins will continue as treasurer and Kevin Carruth will remain the board secretary.
Dawn Kuwahara, director of professional services and community outreach coordinator, then discussed plans to cater more closely to the Valley’s Latino population. This will include signs in both English and Spanish around the hospital; improving access to care; and developing health care programs that specifically address issues important to that population, such as diabetes, obesity and workplace safety.
“In our combined service area, over 27 percent of the population is expected to be Latino, and it’s going to continue to grow,” Kuwahara said, explaining that by 2050, Latinos will be the “ethnic majority” in California.
Carruth, a longtime supporter of developing programs for the Valley’s Hispanic community, wanted to ensure the effort would include aligning with Valley organizations that support Latino residents, such as La Luz Center and Nuestra Voz. When asked about the hospital’s relationship with the Sonoma Valley Community Health Center, Carruth said, “It didn’t seem too collaborative.”
Hospital Chief Executive Officer Kelly Mather responded, “Could it be more collaborative?” The thought was left hanging with a pregnant pause, implying there is relationship work to be done between the Valley’s two major health-care providers.
Additionally during Thursday’s meeting, the communication team from Marin General Hospital, Sonoma Valley Hospital’s sister facility, made a presentation about the upcoming marketing plan for the local district hospital. It will include a focus on general, orthopedic and bariatric surgery; as well as an emphasis on women’s health and elder care.
Finally, hospital Chief Financial Officer Rick Reid shared some of the benefits Sonoma Valley Hospital has seen since aligning itself with Marin General, Palm Drive Hospital and Prima Medical Group.
They include $1.5 million in fiscal savings by sharing people costs, vendor contracts and employee health benefits; the development of an insurance product to rival Kaiser Permanente with Western Health Advantage; and the successful recruitment of a general surgeon, orthopedic surgeon and OB/GYN.