Sonoma West Medical Center seeks healthcare billing expertise to stay afloat


Sonoma West Medical Center in Sebastopol, Calif., is considering management changes to help it remain sustainable, The Press Democrat reports.

Jim Maresca, president of the Palm Drive Health Care District, the agency that provides financial support and public oversight to the hospital, told The Press Democrat Sonoma West was scheduled to submit a proposal Wednesday to subcontract certain management functions to an outside entity. However, a special meeting to review Sonoma West's proposal was canceled.

Hospital CEO Ray Hino previously indicated the medical center was negotiating with Walnut Creek, Calif.-based Valley Emergency Physicians for the group to take over some hospital management duties and to provide crucial capital to the hospital, according to the report. However, Mr. Maresca told The Press Democrat it is unclear whether Valley Emergency Physicians is the group that Sonoma West was planning to propose as a subcontractor at Wednesday's meeting.

In the meantime, the Palm Drive Health Care District is also seeking potential partners that could support the hospital, The Press Democrat reports. The district and St. Joseph Health in Sonoma County, which includes Santa Rosa (Calif.) Memorial Hospital and Petaluma (Calif.) Valley Hospital, have already met to discuss a potential alliance.

Todd Salnas, president of St. Joseph, provided a statement to The Press Democrat, in which he said it was "a good discussion … about the needs of the Sebastopol community."

The search for a potential management partner comes as the hospital seeks an efficient way to manage its revenue cycle.

"That whole process has not been managed effectively," Mr. Maresca told The Press Democrat. "We need financial capital and we need intellectual capital."


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