Sonoma Valley Hospital keeps obstetrics open, for now

Despite the current lean times for Sonoma Valley Hospital, administrators will be able to keep Sonoma’s one and only maternity ward open, at least for now.

That was the message from hospital staff Thursday night, speaking before the Sonoma Valley Health Care District board of directors. Mark Kobe, the hospital’s director of nursing, explained that the service is still a perennial money-loser, but that losses have been reduced to a manageable level.

“Given our current volume, even though it is decreasing, we believe that we can sustain the service line given a loss of $250,000 per year,” Kobe said during the board meeting.

To make this possible, he said, two important things happened: The hospital “achieved some efficiencies” – i.e. cut expenses – in its obstetrics unit, and Medicare Disproportionate Share funds were restored.

CEO Kelly Mather and other hospital leaders agreed that the Disproportionate Share funds – commonly known as DSH or “dish” funds – were key, and many expressed satisfaction that obstetrics would stay open.

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