Sonoma Valley Hospital has updated its strategic plan to identify hospital priorities for the upcoming fiscal year, beginning July 1.

The latest plan notes that while the hospital has made great strides in such areas as patient service, facility modernization, and creating a positive culture, financial sustainability remains a priority. It is the fourth update of the strategic plan since 2010.

According to CEO Kelly Mather, the strategic plan addresses many of the challenges facing all hospitals today including declining inpatient revenues, reduced Medicare and Medi-Cal reimbursements, and increased capital expenditures, including upgraded technology systems.

“We have never seen a period in health care as disruptive as what we are experiencing now,” said Mather. “The reality is health care reform has changed the rules for all providers, and especially for smaller hospitals like ours. Reform has accelerated changes already underway while initiating many new ones. As our industry is reinventing itself, we are having to rethink our understanding of a district hospital.”

“The good news is we’ve made great progress in the past few years,” she said. “Not only have we addressed many critical financial issues, but we’re also creating a model for what a community hospital needs to look like in the future. The strategic plan is an important tool that helps the board and administration set goals and measure our progress as we do this.”

The current plan emphasizes four strategic priorities for the hospital:

• Redesigning the community hospital model for greater viability. This includes placing greater emphasis on outpatient services; reaching a broader regional audience with select services; eliminating or reducing costs for unprofitable services; and continuing to reduce the cost structure.

• Increasing community use of the hospital by communicating with Valley employers the value of offering plans that provide employees with access to the hospital and its affiliated physicians and specialists.

• Continuing to upgrade and modernize the hospital facility to improve service efficiency and technology. As part of this, the Sonoma Valley Hospital Foundation will continue to seek philanthropic commitments for facility improvement capital.

• Increasing the hospital’s focus on community health and wellness. With the implementation of capitation models and the industry decline in inpatient volumes, hospitals need to improve community health.

A copy of the new strategic plan, along with copies of previous plans, can be found at the hospital website at