Hospital soup – recipe looks good
I am writing this in response to Joanne Hurley’s request for an explanation of the Sonoma Valley Hospital strategic plan.
The hospital district board has always had a business strategy. It has been changed many times in response to community needs, business conditions and regulatory compliance issues. The one constant is the mission of the district, to serve the health care needs of the Valley.
Following the 1989 earthquake and the state-mandated seismic upgrade, the strategy became a simple, “do whatever is necessary to keep the doors open until the earthquake problem is solved.”
After the passage of Measure P in 2008, it was clear that the emergency room was viewed by the Valley residents as an essential service and the hospital as a necessary component to keep it open. With this clear direction, the hospital’s strategy has been refocused on four important elements to ensure the hospital’s future.
• Build a new seismic-compliant emergency department.
• Improve the patient experience at the hospital.
• In all businesses – private, public or nonprofit – customer satisfaction is essential for success.
• Join/develop a regional health care alliance of doctors, and hospitals. The Sonoma Valley Hospital (SVH) cannot survive as a stand-alone organization. The suppliers, competitors and insurers are all large, and being part of a larger network is necessary to effectively compete.
• Control and reduce costs in all non-patient care areas. All indications point to reductions in our reimbursement rates when National Health Care Reform is implemented in 2014. Every effort must be made to minimize costs, provided the changes do not compromise patient care.
Much has been accomplished: The new emergency department is scheduled for opening in the fall of 2013. Patient, staff and doctor satisfaction scores are climbing. The hospital is cleaner and more orderly than at any time in recent memory. SVH is a partner in a regional alliance with Marin General Hospital, Palm Drive Hospital and the physician’s Marin-Sonoma Independent Practice Association, (now Meritage Medical Network). Computer driven consolidations are driving “back office” costs down.
It’s not soup yet, but the recipe looks good and all of the ingredients are on hand.