The strategic decisions that stabilized a cash-strapped California hospital

Sonoma (Calif.) Valley Hospital stabilized its finances through strategic decision making after having only five to 10 days' of cash on hand 10 years ago, former CEO Kelly Mather said  in a Jan. 11 North Bay Business Journal article.

Joshua Rymer, chair of the Sonoma Valley District Board, told the journal that the 75-bed hospital had an average of 60 to 70 days' worth of cash on hand when Ms. Mather resigned from her role in July. 

Ms. Mather had 13 years of experience being a hospital CEO when she joined Sonoma Valley Hospital in 2010. She told the North Bay Business Journal she knew sweeping changes would need to be made in order to improve the hospital's financial situation.

In 2018, the hospital became affiliated with San Francisco-based UCSF Health and transferred ownership of its at-home healthcare program to UCSF subsidiary Hospice by the Bay. It also closed its obstetrics unit, and Mission Viejo, Calif.-based home healthcare company Ensign Group took over operational management of its on-site skilled nursing facility.

"We not only survived in fiscal year 2019, we made the hard decisions and very difficult changes that led to our hospital having the best year in decades," Ms. Mather told North Bay Business Journal. "We exceeded budget by 50 percent. It has taken nine years, but I believe SVH has truly turned a corner."

Ms. Mather told the journal that the hospital's affiliation with UCSF Health was one of her top two accomplishments at Sonoma Valley Hospital, along with helping to raise over $35 million in philanthropic donations. 

She resigned from her role at the hospital in July and on Sept. 1 became the CEO of BayHealth Development, a joint venture between San Francisco-based UCSF Health and Walnut Creek, Calif.-based John Muir Health.

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