May 21, 2018
St. Joseph Health agrees to continue operating 80-bed California hospital until 2020

Irvine, Calif.-based St. Joseph Health will continue to operate Petaluma (Calif.) Valley Hospital until January 2020, Petaluma Health Care District officials confirmed May 16, according to the North Bay Business Journal.


Here are four things to know about the negotiations.


1. St. Joseph Health announced its intent to form a joint operating company with Roseville, Calif.-based Adventist Health to manage their Northern California operations in April. Once the deal is finalized, the joint operating company may take over operating negotiations for Petaluma Valley Hospital.


2. District officials said they have "reengaged with St. Joseph because of the new company," adding, "it will probably be the new company that will run the hospital," the report states.


3. St. Joseph Health has operated the 80-bed acute care hospital since 1997. However, the health system's 20-year lease expired in 2017, and talks to extend the lease ended as a result of financial terms and women's reproductive health issues, according to the report.


4. The district began seeking other potential hospital operators and was negotiating an agreement with El Segundo, Calif.-based Paladin Healthcare. However, district officials ended talks with Paladin after St. Joseph agreed to continue to run the hospital until January 2020.

May 18, 2017
Petaluma Health Care District Community Health Grants and Awards

Check out these great photos from our 2018 Community Partnership Appreciation Breakfast!

To read more visit this link >>  

May 17, 2018
St. Joseph Health back in lease talks for Petaluma Valley Hospital

The Petaluma Health Care District is reengaging with St. Joseph Health in talks for the future operations of Petaluma Valley Hospital, health care officials said Wednesday.


St. Joseph and Adventist Health announced last month the two companies would form a partnership to manage their Northern California operations. Once that deal is completed, the joint venture could take over negotiations for PVH. In the meantime, St. Joseph, which has operated PVH since 1997, has agreed to continue running the hospital until January 2020, according to Elece Hempel, the president of the health care district board.


“We are at a place where we have reengaged with St. Joseph because of the new company,” she said. “It will probably be the new company that will run the hospital.”

To read more visit this link >>  

May 16, 2018
Petaluma Health Care District Presents $54,000 in Grants to Local Nonprofits and Announces Community Health Award Recipients

Petaluma Health Care District (PHCD) is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2018 Community Health Grants and Awards. For the past three years, PHCD has recognized individuals and organizations for their outstanding service benefitting the health and wellness needs of Southern Sonoma County. This year, PHCD launched its inaugural grant solicitation process as part of the program and formed a Grant Review Committee that welcomed community residents alongside PHCD representatives.


Today, at is annual Community Partnership Appreciation Breakfast, PHCD celebrated the work of its many partners and agencies working to improve the health of residents within the District service area. PHCD also recognized the winners of the Health Hero and Golden Heart awards, and announced seven nonprofit grant recipients, with a total of $54,000 awarded.

To read more visit this link >>  

April 19, 2018
Tobias selected for health care board

Jeffrey Tobias, a retired physician, was named to the board of the Petaluma Health Care District Tuesday. He replaced Becky Monday, who moved to Washington.


Ten people applied to fill the vacancy, the district said.


Tobias will be sworn into office April 19 and will hold office until the November election. “We were very impressed with the experience, quality and caliber of candidates interested in serving on the Petaluma Health Care District Board,” said Ramona Faith, district CEO.


Elece Hempel, the board president, said Tobias was chosen based on his business leadership skills, as well as management and physician experience. Tobias moved to Petaluma in 2015 when he retired. Most recently, he served as executive vice president for research and development and chief medical officer at Jazz Pharmaceuticals.


“Dr. Tobias has the ability to navigate complex situations and has a deep understanding of the future of health care,” Hempel said. “We welcome him to the board and we wholeheartedly thank all who attended the board meeting this morning for consideration.”

April 5, 2018
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Correcting the Record

EDITOR: Please be advised that I made an error in the letter regarding Petaluma Valley Hospital that you published (“Supports hospital operator,” Feb. 1). I would like you to print the correction in order to be fair.


Dr. Peter Leoni is currently serving as the General Surgery Section Chief at PVH. The original letter stated: “Dr. Peter Leoni is not the chief of surgery. In fact, Dr. Leoni holds no administrative or medical staff appointments at PVH.”


I apologize for the error.


Michael A. Johnson

Physician Administrative Director, PVH

To read more visit this link >>  

April 5, 2018
Tobias selected for health care board

Jeffrey Tobias, a retired physician, was named to the board of the Petaluma Health Care District Tuesday. He replaced Becky Monday, who moved to Washington.


Ten people applied to fill the vacancy, the district said. Tobias will be sworn into office April 19 and will hold office until the November election.


“We were very impressed with the experience, quality and caliber of candidates interested in serving on the Petaluma Health Care District Board,” said Ramona Faith, district CEO.

To read more visit this link >>  

April 4, 2018
Connect America's Healthcare Division Adds Petaluma Health Care District's Medical Alert System Program Lifeline of the North Bay to its Growing Portfolio of Home Healthcare Businesses

Connect America, the largest independent provider of Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS) in North America, has recently acquired the Petaluma Health Care District's (PHCD) Medical Alert System Program, Lifeline of the North Bay, based in Petaluma, CA.


Lifeline of the North Bay will become Connect America West and serve as a base to expand the reach of Connect America's Healthcare Division throughout the State of CA, bringing medical alert and mobile alert products, as well as Telehealth services, remote patient monitoring and medication dispensing systems, to a broader range of customers.

To read more visit this link >>  

March 27, 2018
Petaluma Health Care District trains local care providers on trauma response

The Petaluma Health Care District (PHCD) is playing a critical role in helping those impacted by the fires self-heal by serving as a catalyst for collective community action.


“The fires caused anxiety and stress throughout the region, elevating the need for education and access to trauma-informed care,” said Ramona Faith, CEO. “To respond to this need, PHCD offered special trauma-focused training sessions for health providers and those in other disciplines.”


A renowned bicultural and bilingual mental health professional came to Petaluma to conduct sold-out training on the impact immigration policies have on children and families who are already vulnerable due to their documentation status – and who are even more affected now as a result of the wildfires.

To read more visit this link >>  

March 22, 2018
Tents, trucks, produce at Petaluma farmers market

 “We’ve got fish! We’ve got Revolution bread! We’ve got Heather’s meats, and Golden State pickles and a lot of vegetables, and we’re going to have coffee soon!” says Kelly Smith, gesturing to an array of white awnings going up in the parking lot at Lucchesi Park. “So,” she smiles, “we are definitely going to have a market today, with a lot of good stuff, rain or no rain!”


It’s 9:05 a.m., on a Tuesday morning, and a soft mist is gently falling over Lucchesi Park. With less than an hour till the Eastside Petaluma Farmer’s Market is set to open, market manager Smith is amiably improvising, organizing for what will be a slightly smaller market than usual. Though several of the regular vendors have already arrived — some showing up as early as 8 a.m. — and have put up their awnings and begun arranging their displays of frozen fish or fresh loaves of bread, Smith says there are a few others who’ve called in to say they’re staying home.

To read more visit this link >>  

February 23, 2018
27 North Bay health care leaders you need to know - Ramona Faith

Ramona Faith is a registered nurse who has dedicated her 40-year career to advancement in health care. Since 2011, Faith has been CEO of the Petaluma Health Care District.


Under Faith’s leadership, PHCD’s community health work has included local health initiatives, such as HeartSafe Community and the Community Health Initiative of the Petaluma Area. CHIPA is a Sonoma County Health Action Chapter, an initiative dedicated to improving health and well-being and reducing disparities across the county.


PHCD has aligned partners to address local issues, such as: quality and affordable early education programs, mental health and substance abuse services, and increased access to affordable fresh, healthy foods at farmers’ markets for qualified residents. An example of innovative and measurable programs conceived to address a community health issue, PHCD spearheaded the launch of the Petaluma Sober Circle, a collaborative pilot project which connects chronic inebriated homeless to services and housing.

To read more visit this link >>  

February 22, 2018
Heart disease is No. 1 workplace killer; here’s a solution

Cardiovascular disease — also known as heart disease — is the leading cause of death in the U.S. Half of all heart disease deaths are caused by a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), which can happen anytime, anywhere, at any age.


Many victims have no prior history of heart disease and are stricken without warning. SCA is the No. 1 cause of death in the workplace, killing 10,000 American workers at their place of employment every year.


Trends here in the North Bay don’t deviate from these observed nationally. For every 10 Sonoma County residents, three have heart disease — nearly 149,000 people.

To read more visit this link >>  

February 4, 2018
‘It’s going to take a whole community:’ Petaluma’s Hempel leads fire healing effort

When Elece Hempel sought to transition from the high-powered tech world into the nonprofit realm, she had to convince Petaluma People Services Center’s leadership she was right for the job.


After two months of working for free, she was hired by the nonprofit, and she hasn’t looked back since. With creative thinking and tenacity, she’s grown the organization, which serves as a key Petaluma resource with programs in high demand after October’s ferocious fires.


“When I think about how we reacted to the fires, everyone at this agency accepted responsibility,” said Hempel, the current executive director who has worked in various capacities at PPSC since 2004. “We were one of the few large nonprofits that wasn’t impacted by the fires and we needed to step up.”


PPSC provides services for seniors, housing programs, adult and youth employment and training programs as well as counseling and food assistance. As disaster struck, PPSC’s Petaluma Bounty Farm helped distribute produce and other goods local agrarians weren’t able to sell at farmer’s markets, Hempel said.

To read more visit this link >>  

February 1, 2018
Supports hospital operator

EDITOR: It’s great to see some coverage finally about our local hospital and some of the challenges the community faces regarding access to health care in our city. There has been mention of a lack of hiring new doctors by St. Joseph in several of the recent articles. This is absolutely not true.


Just in the past year, a partial list of new doctors that have come to our community are: Neema Pourtaheri, orthopedics; Chris Walter, orthopedics; Naomi DeTablan, podiatry; Keri Weigle, general surgery; Steve Kmucha, ENT; Alexis Alexandridis, general surgery; Aldo Gamarra, general surgery.


This list just includes the surgical specialties. We have also added at least six new hosptialists in the past year as well.

To read more visit this link >>  

January 25, 2018
New cancer test at PVH

Petaluma Valley Hospital received a pricey new mammography machine that will help doctors better detect breast cancer in patients.


The Hologic 3D mammography machine, which St. Joseph Health purchased through the Petaluma Valley Hospital Foundation, cost $566,000 plus another $400,000 for construction and installation, according to Colleen Flynn, marketing operations manager for St. Joseph.


The cutting edge device takes a three-dimensional picture of the inside of a breast, allowing radiologists to accurately diagnose breast cancer and reducing the need for additional testing in some patients, according to Norman Shore, area imaging director for St. Joseph.

To read more visit this link >>  

January 18, 2018
Petaluma Hospital Deal on Life Support

A deal with a potential future operator of Petaluma Valley Hospital is quickly unraveling as healthcare officials appeared poised to reject the latest proposal from the top candidate.


Southern California-based Paladin Healthcare proposed an agreement to manage the publicly-owned hospital while a complicated medical records database is built. The Petaluma Health Care District board, which sought a lease agreement for the 80-bed hospital, said Tuesday the management agreement proposal puts too much financial risk on the district.


“The management agreement structure requires the district to assume significant financial risks, and to incur expenses that may not be in the best long-term interest of PVH,” Ramona Faith, CEO of the district, said in a statement after the board’s discussion. “Our concerns around these issues mean that we need to deliberate further on a number of points.”

To read more visit this link >>  

January 11, 2018
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Hospital issues

EDITOR: There have been many articles in your paper about Petaluma Valley Hospital and the tribulations involved in changing the management. I have not seen any information regarding a significant cause of part of the problem — the lease with St. Joseph. I doubt that much can be done at this time, as the lease was written two decades ago.


At that time, the Hospital District ran PVH. The District Board believed that the future of PVH would be stronger if PVH were affiliated with a larger institution. After consideration of several bids and with the advice of the chief hospital administrator, Daymon Doss, and a lawyer who was, supposedly, skilled in such transactions, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange who run the St. Joseph Health System were chosen to run the hospital with a 10 year agreement, renewable for an additional 10 years. A commercial-type of lease was drawn up and agreed to by all parties. But, that lease never contained a clause for how to manage the end of the lease, a termination agreement

To read more visit this link >>  

January 11, 2018
Your hospital is at risk

Petaluma Valley Hospital does a terrific job serving this community. Publicly owned by the Petaluma Health Care District, capably operated (temporarily) by St. Joseph Health following the expiration of a 20-year lease agreement, and staffed by a highly skilled team of doctors, nurses and support staff, Petaluma’s hospital gets consistently high marks by patients and rating agencies alike. By all accounts, PVH is a gem.


Unfortunately, this wonderful public institution is now at great risk. An opinion piece in last week’s Argus-Courier, co-authored by PHCD’s CEO Ramona Faith and Board President Elece Hempel, contained this startling news: the company that the district selected more than a year ago to manage the hospital under a long term lease agreement, Paladin Healthcare, is backing away from that potential commitment after waiting far too long to obtain digital patient medical records from St. Joseph.

To read more visit this link >>  

January 4, 2018
Petaluma Valley doctors complain about management

As St. Joseph Health plans its departure from Petaluma Valley Hospital after operating the facility for 20 years, the company has recently failed to invest in critical infrastructure, making it difficult to retain doctors, according to a group of physicians who practice at the city’s hospital.


Several PVH doctors have signed a letter criticizing St. Joseph, which leases the facility, for what they described as neglecting the hospital. They contend that St. Joseph pays PVH doctors below the rate of other hospitals.

To read more visit this link >>  

January 4, 2018
Resolutions for PVH in 2018

The end of every year is a time to reflect on the year that was, and think of hopes and wishes for the coming year. Looking back, it’s easy to see what makes Petaluma a tremendous city and community. Families and businesses find it a desirable place to be, and we witnessed our community at its best when we came together in the most productive and heartfelt way to aid our friends in the north and east who suffered extreme loss from the devastating fires.


We are very proud of how our hospital, Petaluma Valley, responded in the time of crisis. As we’ve gone back to business as usual here in Petaluma, the experience was an important reminder of how beneficial this hospital is to our community and our county. Just last month, PVH received an “A” grade in the Hospital Safety Score by the Leapfrog Group, an independent national nonprofit. The Hospital Safety Score was developed by the nation’s leading experts on patient safety and validates PVH’s commitment to its patients and its community. It was the highest-scoring community hospital in Northern California.


The Petaluma Health Care District, your public agency working to ensure local access to health care and wellness services, has been striving to secure a new operator for PVH for the last two years. St. Joseph Health entered into a 20-year lease in 1997 and provided the community a larger health system, greater financial stability and expanded regional resources.

To read more visit this link >>