Sonoma Valley Hospital board mulls shutting obstetrics unit

This Thursday, as promised, the Sonoma Valley Health Care District’s five-member board of directors will consider a proposal to close the Valley’s only maternity ward in a cost-saving move.

According to the regular meeting agenda, Sonoma Valley Hospital CEO Kelly Mather is recommending that the board close maternity because it “has had questionable viability for many years.”

“Obstetrics currently loses approximately $86,000 per month and has very low demand from our community,” hospital staff wrote in the upcoming meeting’s agenda packet. “Due to the necessity for future financial health, and after exhausting all possible avenues to increase the volumes to make this service viable, we recommend Obstetrics be closed.”

Hospital spokesman Bob Kenney said board members are not obligated to make a final decision Thursday, although they have the option.

“They could vote or they could table it for a month for further discussion,” he said.

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