Placeholder Image photo credit: Sonoma Valley Hospital


One of the region's financial struggling hospitals was thrown a $3 million lifeline from the state of California. 

While the stir caused by Petaluma Valley Hospital shuttering it's maternity ward grabbed local headlines, the recently merged medical center isn't the only one with financial struggles.

Thursday morning, salvation, of sorts arrived for Sonoma Valley Hospital, in the form of a three point one million dollar loan from Sacramento.

"I've been on for sixteen years and I think this is the most stable situation that I have experienced," remarked Bill Boreum, who has served on the Sonoma Valley Health Care District for more than a decade and a half and currently chairs its finance committee.

Boreum said the hospital has been operating at an annual loss.

"We've experienced, like many hospitals and health care facilities, a long term secular decline in in-patient services. The other factor is, about seventy-five percent of the moneys we receive are reimbursements from Medicare and MediCal, they generally pay less than commercial reimbursements and less than direct-pay, y'know, cash payments."

Two long term trends are at work. Operations are increasingly performed as surgery centers and patients sent to recover at home.

Also, the gulf between what Medicare and MediCal pay for a service and a hospital's rack-rate has grown.

Despite the hospital carrying other debts, Boreum says he is confident. He said the infusion will enable the facility to institute efficiencies and put financial travails in the rear-view.

"The administration has been working towards reducing the operating losses, and we do look out, three-to-five years from now to becoming profitable from an operating standpoint," Boreum said.

Among the initiatives: replace contract nurses with direct employees, and new billing and collections software.

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