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11 North Bay leaders in health care you need to know in 2019

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As the health care industry continues to be in the midst of significant change, North Bay Business Journal connected with some of the leaders at major facilities in the region.

We asked each to describe some of the biggest challenges in care today.

The information is provided by leaders of these organizations: Petaluma Health Care District, Marin General Hospital, Ole Health, NorthBay Healthcare, Santa Rosa Community Health, Sonoma Valley Hospital, Petaluma Health Center, Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital and Novato Community Hospital, Kaiser Permanente medical centers in San Rafael and Santa Rosa, and St. Joseph Health–Sonoma County.

Ramona Faith, MSN, RN

CEO
Petaluma Health Care District
1425 McDowell Blvd., #103, Petaluma; 707-285-2143; www.phcd.org

Ramona Faith is CEO of the Petaluma Health Care District, a public agency that serves the changing health and wellness needs of Southern Sonoma County residents.

Describe one specific challenge you faced administering your health care facility this year. Why did it pose such a challenge to you and your organization?

The greatest challenge faced was the need to secure a future operator under a new long-term arrangement for Petaluma Valley Hospital.

The district board has been striving to secure a new agreement since 2015 and the process has been extremely complex due to a competitive environment and the changing landscape in health care delivery.

This made it difficult to map the path and future of the hospital. We are pleased to report that we recently signed a non-binding letter of intent with ST Network, LLC, a proposed joint operating company between St. Joseph Health and Adventist Health System/West, to operate PVH under a 30-year term lease.

Final lease negotiations will occur after the applicable regulatory authorities have approved ST Network.

What inspired you about your facility or job in the past year, and why it was so memorable?

I am inspired by the collaboration in our community and the impact of collective action.

I’m proud of CHIPA (Community Health Initiative of the Petaluma Area), a 120-member cross-sector advisory committee to our board of directors and a local chapter of Health Action.

CHIPA provides leadership in identifying our community health priorities and acts to engage in policy, system and environmental changes to improve local health and to achieve equity.

Health care districts like ours play such an important role in addressing the social determinants of health and disparities represented in their communities. We are helping to move the needle through collective action in South County.

Consolidation has been a significant phenomenon in health care with larger organization agreeing to share certain functions and smaller organizations making alliances with larger groups. Tell us whether you see this trend continuing. Why or why not?

We will continue to see new partnerships and alliances emerge due to increasing financial pressures. In order for hospitals and health systems to remain competitive and position themselves to meet the changing health care landscape, they need to consolidate their expertise, explore and engage in less expensive settings utilizing technology, and take advantage of greater economies of scale. Hospitals and health systems will continue to move into new markets and we will see more public private partnerships with the overall goal of keeping people healthy and out of the hospital.

Jon Friedenberg

Chief Operating Officer
Marin General Hospital
250 Bon Air Rd, Greenbrae; 415-925-7000; www.maringeneral.org

Jon Friedenberg provides overall direction for all internal hospital operations. Prior to joining Marin General Hospital he served as vice president of El Camino Hospital.

What inspired you about your facility or job in the past year, and why it was so memorable?

Last November, there was a tragic incident in Marin County. Two gunshot victims were rushed to Marin General Hospital’s Trauma Center in the middle of the night. Our trauma experts, including two neurosurgery teams and supporting staff from multiple departments across the hospital collaborated to provide immediate care. I was proud of our teams performance in this high stress situation to deliver exceptional lifesaving aid. This is what we train for. We were honored to serve our community then...and now.

Alicia Hardy

CEO
Ole Health
1141 Pear Tree Lane, Napa; 707-254-1770; www.olehealth.org

Alicia Hardy was named OLE Health’s CEO in 2018, where she oversees OLE’s health delivery systems. She is passionate about caring for underserved communities.

Describe one specific challenge you faced administering your health care facility this year. Why did it pose such a challenge to you and your organization?

One of the biggest challenges we face here at OLE Health is building our workforce. This is an issue on a national level as we observe less and less providers choosing to pursue primary care as their field. The fires in Napa in 2017 resulted in less affordable housing locally, which has made recruitment even more challenging. Workforce challenges have been apparent in the areas of mental health and medicine, and negatively impacts the ability of our patients to access the care and services they need.

Consolidation has been a significant phenomenon in health care with larger organization agreeing to share certain functions and smaller organizations making alliances with larger groups. Tell us whether you see this trend continuing. Why or why not?

Yes, I believe this trend will and should continue. It allows us to leverage resources in order to serve more people. We have had success partnering with our local hospitals and other nonprofit organizations, and I hope to continue to pursue similar collaborations in the future.

What inspired you about your facility or job in the past year and why it was so memorable?

We are opening a beautiful 30,000-square-foot building in a few months that will offer many new services, including optometry, a community garden, a teaching kitchen, and an on-site pharmacy and lab. It has been so inspiring to watch the building come together month after month and imagine how our patients will feel receiving services in this facility.

B. Konard Jones

President & CEO
NorthBay Healthcare
4500 Business Center Drive, Fairfield; 707-646-3116; www.northbay.org

B. Konard Jones became president and CEO of NorthBay Healthcare in April 2017 after holding other senior leadership positions there and with UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.

What’s your biggest challenge?

As we see more health systems around us merge, or consolidate functions that hamper their independence, our continuing challenge is to retain the freedom to deliver care to our community free of the corporate, mega-system constraints on innovation and nimbleness. For 60 years, we’ve flourished by providing advanced services others will not bring to the community because they export patients outside our county for advanced specialty care.

Will consolidation and mergers continue into 2019 and beyond?

We have created strategic alliances for clinical excellence, not financial convenience. That is why we invested in becoming a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. The disturbing trend of systems merging functions likely will continue, but it’s not healthy for local communities they serve.

What inspired you most last year in your job?

When our entire organization, from front lines to seniors management, embraced an initiative we call OpEx, a pursuit of operational excellence, it was inspiring. We have 10 workstreams and 50 work groups laser-focused on improving care, communication and efficiency – all in a quest to maintain our independence, building trust and providing seamless care.

Gabriela “Gaby” Bernal Leroi

Chief operating officer
Santa Rosa Community Health
983 Sonoma Ave., Santa Rosa; 707-583-8700; www.srhealth.org

Gaby Bernal Leroi runs a network of 10 health centers that serve over 50,000 people in Santa Rosa.

Describe one specific challenge you faced administering your health care facility this year. Why did it pose such a challenge to you and your organization?

We’re still in fire recovery mode.

Losing your largest health center that serves half of your patient population in a wildfire is beyond your usual management challenges.

Since December 2017, we’ve opened three new medical sites and two admin suites to recover all our patient capacity and reorganize supporting services. The challenge – as with any new facility – is getting things up and running. In this case, helping 24,000 dislocated patients find their clinician in one of three locations was top priority. All this unexpected change was tough for employees too. They had to get to know new teams, new locations, new systems.

Consolidation has been a significant phenomenon in health care with larger organization agreeing to share certain functions and smaller organizations making alliances with larger groups. Tell us whether you see this trend continuing. Why or why not?

Here in Sonoma County, I think the key is partnerships.

At Santa Rosa Community Health, we strive to provide the best integrated medical, dental, and mental health care possible, which includes identifying and addressing all the social determinants of health that impact that individual or family.

Developing partnerships around housing, food, education, coordinating care with emergency rooms and hospitals – that’s all part of making the fragmented health care system that we live in easier to navigate and more effective, especially for those who face the greatest challenges because of chronic disease or socio-economic status.

What inspired you about your facility or job in the past year and why it was so memorable?

Responding to the fire.

Personally, I was impacted because I opened Vista. It was my baby, and I was so proud that as a team we cared for 24,000 people. It was a huge loss to our SRCH family and to our patients. And I’m incredibly proud of our organization’s response. We were closed for one day! We immediately focused on meeting all our patients’ needs during the fire and it hasn’t stopped. Now we’re rebuilding Vista. I cannot wait to welcome our patients and staff back to this beautiful new building that’s redesigned around team-based care.

Kelly Mather

CEO and president
Sonoma Valley Hospital
347 Andrieux St., Sonoma; 707-935-5000; www.svh.com

Kelly Mather has led the hospital since 2010, overseeing an extensive upgrade of the facility and the addition of a new Emergency Department and Surgery Center.

Describe one specific challenge you faced administering your health care facility this year. Why did it pose such a challenge to you and your organization?

Due to the low number of births in our Valley and the many choices patients have for their obstetrical services, after many years of losing money in OB, we were faced with closing this service. While most understood that the hospital cannot continue to lose money on any services outside of Emergency care, the staff and community were understandably disappointed.

Consolidation has been a significant phenomenon in health care with larger organization agreeing to share certain functions and smaller organizations making alliances with larger groups. Tell us whether you see this trend continuing. Why or why not?

Sonoma Valley Hospital is a great example of the trend to join larger organizations with our decision to affiliate with UCSF Health in 2018. Most small hospitals are struggling, and independent small hospitals need to be a part of a larger organization in order to manage through all of the significant changes and continue to thrive.

What inspired you about your facility or job in the past year and why it was so memorable?

I was inspired by the incredible support of the Sonoma Valley community in helping us to raise over $15 million for our new Outpatient Diagnostic Center. Our community sees the importance of having a local, high quality hospital.

Kathie Powell, MA, MSHA

CEO
Petaluma Health Center
1179 N. McDowell Blvd., Petaluma; 707-559-7500; www.phealthcenter.org

Kathie Powell has been a healthcare administrator for over 35 years, and has served as the CEO of PHC for 16 years. Powell previously served as the CEO for a Pennsylvania federally qualified health center for five years, and spent many years as a community hospital administrator and healthcare consultant.

Describe one specific challenge you faced administering your health care facility this year. Why did it pose such a challenge to you and your organization?

Probably our greatest and most rewarding challenge this year was opening two robust new medical provider training programs.

We opened a family nurse practitioner (FNP) residency to provide high level intense community medicine training for new FNP graduates.

We also started providing community and integrative medicine training for Kaiser Family Medicine Residents. These are costly training programs and we are thrilled to have received funding to start them. A small ongoing challenge will be to secure ongoing funding for them.

Consolidation has been a significant phenomenon in health care with larger organization agreeing to share certain functions and smaller organizations making alliances with larger groups. Tell us whether you see this trend continuing. Why or why not?

Yes, I do believe this phenomenon will continue for several reasons.

Staff time and expenses associated with demonstrating compliance with federal and state regulations continue to increase.

We have an entire compliance department now that we neither had nor needed five years ago. Highly educated and trained staff members are needed to build systems to document and audit all of our operating, clinical and administrative activities.

Highly trained and skilled staff members are needed to send compliant and accurate bills to public and private insurance plans, simply to be reimbursed for the great health care services we provide to all members of our community. Much of our reimbursement is now “pay-for-performance” and is dependent on clinical outcomes.

We receive some funding for every visit we have with a patient, and the remainder of the funds come when we have proven outcomes including things such as: our diabetic patients have their blood sugar under control, hypertensive patients have their blood pressure under control, and that patients have received all of their vaccinations and cancer screening tests.

All of these are critical to operate a health care organization today, and if health centers are not able to do these, then they often must depend on larger organizations to share their systems and specialized staff to be successful.

What inspired you about your facility or job in the past year and why it was so memorable?

I am inspired every day by our staff for their commitment to providing high quality compassionate care to our patients.

Their dedication to excellence was highlighted several times this year. First, when we received our three year accreditation by The Joint Commission for providing high quality care. Second, when we received seven federal quality awards from HRSA that put us in the top 1 percent of the country for Federally Qualified Health Centers. And third, when we received notice last year and this year that we scored 100 percent on our quality measures for Partnership Health Plan, which put us in the top 2 percent of northern California health care providers.

Working with providers, support staff, administrators and board members, who are all so dedicated to building a great place to work, great customer service, excellent quality and commitment to the underserved and entire community, inspires me, every day.

Mike Purvis

CEO
Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital, 30 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa; 707-576-4000
Novato Community Hospital, 180 Rowland Way, Novato; 415-209-1300
www.sutterhealth.org

Mike Purvis has served in leadership at Sutter Health since 2009. Mike’s experience leading nonprofit community hospitals includes his current CEO role for Sutter Health’s North Bay hospitals and prior service as CEO with Saint Joseph’s Health System’s in Northern California and Baptist Hospitals and Health Systems in Phoenix, Arizona. He began his career as a physical therapist providing direct patient care. Purvis is a graduate of Portland State University with a masters of business administration.

Describe one specific challenge you faced administering your health care facility this year. Why did it pose such a challenge to you and your organization?

We underestimated the long term impact that the October 2017 wildfires would have on our care giving team. We are learning that recovery is a long-term process as team members work toward finding permanent/replacement homes and recover from the deep emotional trauma. This has contributed to additional stress along with posing a recruitment challenge for new positions. On a positive note, our supportive team has become closer – even like family – as we face these challenges together.

Consolidation has been a significant phenomenon in health care with larger organization agreeing to share certain functions and smaller organizations making alliances with larger groups. Tell us whether you see this trend continuing. Why or why not?

I would characterize our phenomenon more like an integration rather than consolidation. Delivering high quality care to patients in our community involves our acute care hospitals along with ambulatory physician offices, surgery centers, home health/hospice, training programs and specialty services.

As one of the largest health systems in California, Sutter Health and patients benefit from these efficiencies. We anticipate a trend of continued integration and alignment to create the full spectrum of care for our patients.

What inspired you about your facility or job in the past year and why it was so memorable?

Our team of physicians, nurses and staff work at full capacity to serve an increasing number of patients.

Last year, we received approval from the county of Sonoma and Sutter Health funding to begin expansion planning for our Santa Rosa hospital. The expansion will include a three-story building addition to create 40 new acute care beds, nine additional ED bays and additional operating rooms.

It is gratifying to work on this expansion, which will help us serve more patients, increase local jobs and meet the health care needs of our community.

OTHER HEALTH CARE LEADERS

Naveen Kumar, M.D.

Physician in chief
Kaiser Permanente San Rafael Medical Center
99 Montecillo Road, San Rafael; 415-444-2000; www.kp.org

Naveen Kumar, M.D., has recently completed his first year as physician-in-chief at Kaiser Permanente San Rafael Medical Center, and he has been a Kaiser Permanente doctor since 2007. He was most recently the Chief of Interventional Radiology at the San Rafael Medical Center. He is board certified in both Diagnostic and Vascular and Interventional Radiology. He completed his residency in Radiology at UCSF, followed by a fellowship in interventional radiology. He was honored as a North Bay Business Journal Forty Under 40 outstanding young professional in 2012. Dr. Kumar is a Bay Area native.

Michael Shulman, M.D.

Physician in chief
Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Medical Center
401 Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa; 707-393-4000; www.kp.org

Michael Shulman, M.D., a Santa Rosa urologist, was named physician-in-chief at Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Medical Center in 2017.

Shulman joined the Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Medical Center in 2006. He served as Santa Rosa’s chief of urology for over nine years. He was born and raised in central coastal California.

He graduated from Occidental College, Magna Cum Laude, with a degree in Chemistry. He received his master’s degree in chemistry from Harvard University and from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland. He taught high school chemistry at Iolani and Punahou Schools in Hawaii. He also worked as an environmental consultant for both private industry and the Hawaii State Department of Health. To pursue his interest in medicine and service to patients,

Shulman received his medical degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he graduated cum laude, with election to Alpha Omega Alpha. He then completed an internship in general surgery and residency in urology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

Tyler Hedden

Chief operating officer
St. Joseph Health–Sonoma County
1165 Montgomery Drive, Santa Rosa; 707-525-5300; www.stjosephhealth.org

Tyler Hedden, MHA, is chief operating officer of St. Joseph Health-Sonoma County. He joined St. Joseph Health in December 2016.

Hedden is responsible for oversight of day-to-day operations of Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, Petaluma Valley Hospital, and associated outpatient clinics. Throughout his career, Tyler has served in a number of executive leadership roles and has advanced multiple projects in support of both patient care and employee engagement, including oversight of performance improvement and lean initiatives, quality improvements, and patient experience and satisfaction.

Hedden holds a master's degree in health care administration from Washington University School of Medicine and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Drury University in Springfield Missouri. He is also a fellow with the American College of Healthcare Executives and has held membership roles with the Medical Group Management Association and Healthcare Financial Management Association.

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