I am a 43-year resident of Sonoma Valley. I’ve worked at Sonoma Valley Hospital for five years and with Sutter Health for 18 years in Administration as well as directly with patients and their families. I strongly support Sonoma Valley Hospital. However, I do not support Measure E.
The current administrative salaries at Sonoma Valley Hospital are not “around midpoint” for hospitals of like size. Comparing SVH to Marin General Hospital with 235 beds, or to Healdsburg Hospital, 43 beds (a Certified Critical Care Hospital / Stroke Center being paid at a much higher rate), is like comparing the Sun to the New York Times. Both under the same umbrella but completely different.
SVH is a rural 75-bed acute care hospital with an average daily patient census of 35-40 or less. This would be a major revenue challenge for any hospital, and especially one that pays top dollar to their administration. The CEO’s income exceeds that of the President of the United States, and compares to that of much larger hospitals in industrial cities. Large bonuses are being given and should not be, until financial targets are met for the CEO and/or management, and only then with reduced bonus percentages. If consistency is even a consideration, why aren’t the nurses or service workers paid at the same scale as the larger hospitals? Board members have stated that SVH has “sought-after leaders” attempting to justify the current salaries as fiscally “prudent.” There is no shortage of experienced, competent health care management available to fill any position that might be vacated.
The SVH organizational structure is overextended, and that is an understatement. I have shared the SVH management structure and salary scale with leaders from other hospitals, to be met with choking laughter and disbelief. This small hospital does not demand “Chiefs” and then in addition, “Directors” to oversee small departments and does not require a CEO and also a COO. One is sufficient. A “Chief of Revenue” is employed to build revenue streams, with an annual base salary of $212,160. We fly this person in from South Carolina, and provide accommodations for one week each month. How is this fiscally prudent? And where are the found revenue streams?
Keeping our Emergency Department open does not depend upon continually increasing taxes to continue with business as is. The SVH current debt of more than $45 million and monthly payroll of $3 million must be immediately rectified, and the community should be kept informed of all corrective actions. This Board needs to do its job examining closely the fiscal waste that exists, and with open eyes look to affiliation with a health care system that can financially support our hospital without depending on the taxpayers to keep it alive.
Jeannette Scharich, Sonoma