SV Hospital gets high marks in Medicare survey

In its latest evaluation of hospitals, the government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) in July gave Sonoma Valley Hospital an overall rating of four stars out of a possible five, which places the hospital among the top 25 percent in the nation for quality outcomes.

Data for each hospital in the country is posted on the CMS Hospital Compare website (, which provides a summary evaluation of quality and safety measures. These include patient experience, timely and effective treatment of common medical conditions, prevention of complications and infections, re-admission rates, safe and effective use of medical imaging and value of care.

Hospital CEO Kelly Mather described herself as “pleased” SVH has met or exceeded national benchmarks for quality and safety.

“Everyone here has worked very hard to create a culture of safety in the hospital,” said Mather “We are committed to continuously improving what we do to make sure community members, staff and physicians provide and receive excellent care in a safe environment.”

Mather pointed out that while the use of star ratings is new for hospitals, it has been in use for some time for home health care and skilled nursing facility services; both the hospital’s Skilled Nursing Unit and its Home Health Care program have received five-star ratings for a number of years, according to hospital officials.

The CMS rating also provides a financial benefit for the hospital. According to Mather, the hospital’s strong performance provides it with a premium payment from Medicare that is 1.5 percent higher than the average payments to hospitals. Very few hospitals nationally qualify for this premium, she said.

Locally, Novato Community Hospital and Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital also received four stars.

Queen of the Valley Hospital in Napa, Petaluma Valley Hospital and St. Helena Hospital received three stars, as did both the Sutter and Kaiser hospitals in Santa Rosa. No hospitals within 25 miles of Sonoma received five stars by CMS Hospital Compare.

Hospital Compare’s overall ratings include more than 60 measures tracked by CMS. Data collection periods vary by measure and much is based on information collected in 2014 and 2015. According to its website, Hospital Compare aims to provide detailed quality of care information about more than 4,000 Medicare-certified hospitals in the U.S.

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