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Statement from hospital board on parcel tax vote

Posted on March 9, 2017 by Sonoma Valley Sun

Statement On Parcel Tax Ballot Results

By Jane Hirsch, Chair, Sonoma Valley Health Care District

We are deeply disappointed that the parcel tax measure on the March 7 ballot did not pass. It fell just short of the 67 percent majority needed for approval. Unfortunately, the measure’s failure places the future of the hospital in question.

Because the parcel tax revenue is so critical to continued hospital operation, the board has decided to place the measure on the next ballot in June. It is essential to move quickly because, without a new parcel tax, the hospital will experience a critical revenue shortfall by fall.

It is important to clarify the necessity of passing the parcel tax:

  • The hospital cannot continue operating without the revenue provided by the parcel tax. We cannot maintain emergency services or any of the other critical services the hospital currently provides. If the measure fails again, residents will have to seek emergency care in Napa, Petaluma or Santa Rosa.
  • The parcel tax has been in place since 2002 when it was needed to help the hospital operate in the black. It has been important for the hospital’s financial health since then and has not been increased in 10 years.
  • The total tax requested is $250, a $55 increase over the current tax. This will provide the hospital with approximately $3.8 million in revenue each year, the amount determined necessary to meet projected expenses.
  • We ask for this increase in the parcel tax largely to offset reductions in federal and state reimbursement to the hospital. Almost 75% of SVH revenue is provided to patients with government insurance, mainly Medicare, but also Medi-Cal. Both have reduced payments to all hospitals in recent years, but the impact is felt mainly by small hospitals like SVH which serve large numbers of patients with these types of insurance.
  • Losing the parcel tax will have an almost immediate impact on the hospital. The current parcel tax expires in June 2017 and the hospital will receive its last payment in April. SVH will experience a significant revenue shortfall by Fall 2017 without the revenue from the parcel tax.

We hope that those who voted no on the Parcel Tax will reconsider, and those who supported it but did not vote will do so in June. We have an excellent hospital and the health of our community will suffer without the round-the-clock emergency care and critical services it provides. The reality is that the hospital cannot continue to serve the Sonoma Valley without the revenue from the parcel tax.




5 thoughts on “Statement from hospital board on parcel tax vote

  1. As a Kaiser member, I live a considerable distance from a Kaiser facility when an emergency strikes. When I severely cut my hand gardening last year, I was so relieved to be able to go to the local hospital for treatment and care. Everyone was not only very professional, but kind, generous and very patient-focused. They easily coordinated payment with Kaiser. As a senior, I feel having a hospital in Sonoma is a vital part of our community and I wholeheartedly support it.

  2. The “bottom line” is SVH cannot stand on its own financially. The property owners in the Sonoma Valley Hospital District (Schellville to Glen Ellen) will have to pay to keep it open. This is not a temporary issue or for only a Five Year time frame. This will be FOREVER!
    Do not pass the measure in June. Voting NO is the only way to force significant changes in approach and policy at SVH. Otherwise, five years from now another increase will be requested!

  3. There is no point in voting for a parcel tax until the current CEO is fired. She has been running the hospital into the ground for years and the Board has been allowing it. The employees at the hospital do not trust or respect her. She is paid an exorbitant amount of money and is incompetent.
    Vote No, Hire a new CEO

  4. Here is the problem. Every board meeting for years the SVH CEO states the hospital is doing great financially. She asks for salary bonuses for her and those who follow her and time after time the SVH Board gives it. This occurs when vendors are 120 days+ without payment. Employees pension contributions are sometimes withheld to pay some vendors so the hospital won’t shut down. All the while the SVH Board smiles and won’t ask the tough financial questions.
    Too many slight of hand decisions by the board and CEO.
    We are tired of the CEO firing every CFO who tells her the real financial truth, then feeds the employees of SVH rosey claims of how well the hospital is going.
    The employees want the truth. The public tax payers want real profit/loss statements.
    All of us need a CEO that understands money!! How to make cuts, how to economize based on the needs of the community. How to do what needs to be done. The current CEO is just a project manager using other people’s money without understanding budgets. The current CEO is driving the hospital into the ground and this parcel tax is just another bailout of her incompetency.
    Two things need to happen. 1. The CEO NEEDS TO RESIGN OR BE FIRED. 2. The Parcel Tax measure needs to be voted DOWN.
    Once we get a competent CEO then the public can decide whether or not to give the hospital more tax money. Until then, VOTE NO on any hospital tax.

    Finally, you Board members should be ashamed of yourselves. DO YOUR JOB!

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