Santa Rosa Fire Storm


Click on the title to read more from The Press Domocrat

Community Crises Due to Fires In Sonoma County


Click on the title to read more from the Sonoma West Times

Sonoma West Medical Center open for business

Sonoma West Medical Center is at long last open. Formerly known as Palm Drive Hospital, the hospital and emergency room was open to admit patients on Oct. 30. The 25-bed capacity hospital features a two-bay, 24-hour, no-wait emergency room and 50,000 square feet of space. The facility will utilize new technology and the latest equipment including use of iRobot for Skype video patient/doctor consultations, CAT scan and other high end systems on site.

SR Press Democrat, October 6, 2015: Hospital Waits to Reopen

Sebastopol hospital losing millions while it waits to reopen

(l to r) Jeannine Kenward, Kay Monroe and Vanessa Vasquez train for the computerized pharmaceutical delivery system before the opening of the Sonoma West Medical Center in Sebastopol. (JOHN BURGESS / The Press Democrat)

Late last year, when supporters embarked on an ambitious plan to resurrect the failed Palm Drive Hospital, they set a target date of early April for the grand opening.

Five months later, the hospital remains closed, and neither hospital officials nor the state Department of Public Health have a firm date for when it will reopen under its new name, Sonoma West Medical Center.

Every month the hospital remains closed costs it another $1 million, roughly, according to hospital CEO Raymond Hino. The delays and daily expenditures are likely to put even greater financial pressure on the hospital when it finally opens, but officials said they are confident the hospital will succeed in the end.

“The complexity of opening a hospital, in terms of degree of difficulty, is off the charts,” Hino said. “Early on, we did not have an appreciation of how difficult it was going to be to reopen a hospital that had been closed.”

Critics say that since last year, hospital supporters have floated unrealistic time frames for retooling the hospital, which was shuttered in the spring of 2014 due to dramatic declines in both overnight patient stays and insurance reimbursements.

Read More…

PDHCD Adopts Tobacco Licensure Resolution

July 6, 2015.  The PDHCD Board recently passed resolution 15-05 in support of a proposed ordinance of the Board of Supervisors of the County of Sonoma to require the licensure of tobacco retailers in order to decrease youth access to tobacco products. The ordinance intended to promote a healthier community would include the following:

  • A retailer to obtain a county license to sell tobacco products.
  • No sales of tobacco products in pharmacies.
  • Retailers to be at least 1,000 feet away from schools.
  • Changing the legal age for buying tobacco products from 18 to 21.

Learn More at Breathe Easy


New exec hired by Health Care District

Sonoma West Times and News, August 19, 2015

Board seeks to broaden community health care partnerships

Palm Drive Health Care District has found a new executive director to lead the strained health services organization as it navigates bankruptcy proceedings. This month the board of directors unanimously agreed to hire Sonoma State University Lecturer Alanna Brogan. Read more…


Sebastopol man invests heart, fortune in reviving hospital for western Sonoma County

Sonoma West Times & News, March 18, 2015

Palm Drive District Explores Health Care Issues in West County

April 2 meeting presents findings from community outreach series

Looking past all the current excitement and scattered protests over the reopening of Palm Drive Hospital, the board of directors for the West County’s health care district is peeling into other layers of health care issues including a possible new model for ambulance coordination, emergency medical services and other community-based, non-hospital programs.

A special public meeting will be held at 5:30 on Thursday, April 2 at Palm Drive Hospital to present some early findings developed from a recent series of meetings with 12 community health service consultants and as a follow-up to four constituent “listening sessions” held last year in Bodega Bay, Guerneville and Sebastopol.

“This could be very exciting,” said the district’s interim executive director Daymon Doss. Even before the hospital was closed last April, the district directors had begun these outreach sessions. “We’ve had a lot of discussion about which projects we might wish to pursue.”

A long list of unmet health care needs was quickly developed and the district appointed an ad hoc committee and an advisory group to help set priorities and identify possible future programs.

Ideas listed included a series of health education programs for teens and others about drugs, nutrition, vaccination education and exercising. Also mentioned were various mental health programs, in-home senior care or programs, mobile emergency care, outreach clinics and a 24-hour pharmacy.

Doss said following the meeting and more pubic input, the district directors might direct staff to explore possible joint power ventures, or specific project budgets.

One report on April 2 will look at recent emergency response patterns among the West County’s volunteer and paid EMT-staffed ambulances — both before and after the closing of Palm Drive’s emergency room. The report will be presented by Bryan Cleaver, EMS administrator for the Coastal Valley EMS Agency.

Emergency medical services (84 percent) was the most frequently listed service needed by attendees at the four listening sessions. Prevention (63 percent), hospital (58 percent) and mental health (53 percent) were the next highest needs.

Brian Vaughn, director for the county’s Health Policy, Planning and Evaluation will present a “portrait” of what is happening in public health, programs and services, as well as some population demographics of the West County.

The Palm Drive Health Care District includes a large area from Sebastopol west to Bodega Bay and Jenner, and along the corridor of the Russian River. Formed in 2001, district property owners now pay a $155 annual parcel tax that has subsidized Palm Drive Hospital operations.

Financial troubles have plagued the hospital and stymied past district outreach efforts. The original charter for the health care district emphasizes support for the hospital and emergency services, but allows for other community-based services.

The Palm Drive Health Care District is currently in Chapter 9 bankruptcy and has not filed an “exit” plan to satisfy almost $10 million in unpaid payroll and vendor bills.

The district has signed a management agreement to allow the Sonoma West Medical Foundation, formerly Palm Drive Health Care Foundation, to reopen the hospital, possibly as early as next month.

The only assets of the district are future parcel tax collections which total about $3.7 million a year, plus the unappraised value of the hospital building and property.

A group of River corridor residents have been protesting the reopening of the hospital for fear of accumulating more losses and tax liability. They are seeking “detachment” from the health care district. (A meeting on the topic was held Thursday, March 19 in Monte Rio.)

Santa Rosa Press Democrat, June 1, 2015

 Palm Drive Health Care District looks to recast its role

  • By Martin Espinoza
    June 1, 2015

The district is hoping to broaden its mission beyond its traditional responsibility of running a hospital with an additional focus on prevention and wellness through partnerships with providers such as the West County Health Centers.

On Monday evening, the district board approved a budget for the next fiscal year that includes slightly more than $200,000 for projects that include in-home support services, wound care, reducing health care disparities along the Russian River and bolstering weekend medical and dental services.

District board members described the projects as a first step toward transforming the district into something more than just a hospital district. The district envisions a model similar to the Petaluma Health Care District, which supports both a hospital and numerous community health care prevention and wellness programs.

“It’s a monumental step for our district to partner with the successful agencies in the Russian River area,” said Marsha Sue Lustig, a member of the board.

Read the full story by clicking here.