Before committing to support the current Sonoma Valley Hospital $20 million capital campaign financially and as campaign leaders, Marcia and I needed to be confident that this outpatient project would support the long-term viability of our local hospital/ER and that the new UCSF relationship really would provide tangible value.

We have done our due diligence and believe that building the proposed Outpatient Diagnostic Center will benefit our entire Sonoma community.

We firmly believe this state-of-the-art, outpatient diagnostic center will meet our growing needs and generate additional income. The advantages of having a 128 Slice CT Scanner with higher resolution and the capability of providing more dependable diagnostic information, especially for ER cases, is a key component. The 3 Tesla MRI provides superior imaging that includes the ability to detect cancer earlier (and does it in Sonoma!). In addition, these procedures increase much-needed revenue for SVH. Preliminary estimates project the new center will increase hospital revenue by $1.5 million annually.

In a meeting, I recently attended with Mark Laret, president and CEO of UCSF Health, and our SVH leadership team, it was apparent that a synergy with the UCSF health care professionals is advantageous to both parties. UCSF has committed to financially support several exceptional, specialist physicians, making them available to Sonoma starting in 2019. They are also committed to promoting our new diagnostic center to serve UCSF patients throughout the North Bay. This is a win for our community!

Other significant advantages of our alliance with USCF Health to date include improved telemedicine access to world-class experts which results in patients getting timely medical information to their doctors from a broader resource of medical expertise – again, saving lives, time and money! Additionally, our SVH Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sabrina Kidd, is also a UCSF Medical Director, ensuring that quality of care, expectations and metrics will be aligned between UCSF Health and SVH. Cementing this relationship with UCSF is essential to the ongoing viability of SVH and its ability to provide emergency care to our Valley. And that relationship is now in place.

Marcia and I are proud to support this campaign for SVH, excited that the campaign has already generated over $14 million in contribution commitments, and know that with additional community support, SVH will succeed in serving our community for many years to come. Please join us and support this campaign.

Oh, and so you don’t think that we have just drunk the Kool-aid on all things SVH, I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t admit that I am a supporter of retaining the skilled nursing department if we can figure out a way to financially justify doing that! My hope is that, given time, our community can determine how to best structure a skilled nursing service that pencils out.

In the meantime, we are realistic enough to realize that supporting an Outpatient Diagnostic Center NOW is in everyone’s best interest. Please join us and make a donation.

Gary and Marcia Nelson are longtime Sonoma Valley philanthropists, as well as investors in Sonoma Media Investments, which publishes the Index-Tribune.