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Sonoma Valley Hospital attracts specialists with timeshare office space

“Sonoma is a small market and it’s difficult to attract physicians, and particularly specialists,” according to Sonoma Valley Hospital CEO Kelly Mather.

And because it can be difficult for seniors and low-income residents to travel 30 minutes to an hour to find the care they need, Mather and her staff have made it a priority to bring new specialists to Sonoma over the past year.

One way that they did this was to establish “timeshare” office space to make it easy for specialists located elsewhere to conveniently schedule times in Sonoma to see patients.

Their efforts have been successful enough to warrant a second office, which will open at 462 W. Napa St. in April.

The first office, on First Street West, is adjacent to the Prima Medical offices, and currently includes surgical specialists in orthopedics, bariatrics, spine and vascular surgery, as well as ENT and urology.

The hospital recently added two nephrologists – offering care to those with kidney disease, renal transplantation, hypertension and complex electrolyte disorders. And a second cardiologist has joined Dr. James Price’s practice.

The new timeshare office on West Napa Street will include specialists in orthopedics and pain management.

The hospital announced that the Sonoma Valley Health Care District board approved establishing a 1206(b) clinic under the hospital’s aegis for physicians who want an alternative to private practice. A 1206(b) clinic creates opportunities for increased compensation from private and government payers.

The first physician who will operate under the model locally is Dr. Parinaz Azari, a pain management specialist, who is moving her office to Sonoma in April.

“We hope to expand the clinic to include primary care in the coming year,” said Mather. She also mentioned success in drawing patients from beyond the Valley with specialty services like those offered by board certified bariatric surgeon Scott Perryman.

Finally, Mather noted the expansion of the hospital’s outpatient services.

SVH has doubled its volume in occupational health and now works with more than 200 employers throughout the region, according to Mather.

The hospital has also seen growth, she says, in its wound care program, outpatient rehabilitation department, outpatient nutrition counseling program and MRI business.

The hospital’s emergency room has also seen a 20 percent increase in patient visits in the past year.

“(We think this) shows how seriously we take the challenge to reinvent and re-energize our hospital,” said Mather.

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