Sonoma Valley Hospital District Board To Consider Plans for a New Facility To Replace Current Building
Directors for Sonoma Valley Hospital on Wednesday ordered a strategic planning committee to develop within 90 days a plan for a new hospital to replace the current facility, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports. Plans for a new hospital were tabled three years ago when the current 83-bed hospital began running annual deficits of about $2 million and the bankruptcy of Health Plan of the Redwoods "further sapped its revenue," according to the Press Democrat. In addition, the existing hospital, which opened on its current site in 1957, faces new state seismic requirements (Rose, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 2/18). California law requires that all hospitals guarantee by 2008 -- or by 2013 if the buildings are expected to remain in use 30 years from now -- that their buildings will not collapse in a significant earthquake. By 2030, hospitals must be able to withstand a major earthquake and continue functioning immediately afterward (California Healthline, 2/18). Dick Fogg, chair of the strategic planning committee, said that the new facility must be "more than an acute care hospital attached to an emergency room," the Press Democrat reports. He recommended that the new facility include a professional services building for doctors, as well as testing and lab facilities to attract support from the local medical community and potentially increase revenue. Fogg recommended that the board decide the scope of the new hospital before beginning to consider potential sites or financing possibilities, adding that "loans, bonds, grants, philanthropic gifts and even a parcel tax" could be used to fund the facility's construction.
Tim Miller, a representative of Medical Development Associates of Indianapolis, said that his firm could provide a for-profit venture that would not require a parcel tax to fund the construction of a new facility. However, hospital board member Mike Smith, an official for the Service Employees International Union, said that Miller's proposal would provide a "boutique hospital that skims the most profitable patients and leaves Medi-Cal and Medicare patients out the door." Miller denied Smith's statement and said that local doctors had asked his company to develop a proposal that included physician ownership of a surgery center (Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 2/18).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.