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 >>  

December 21, 2017
Petaluma nurses form independent labor union

Nurses at Petaluma Valley Hospital last week voted to break from a national union and form their own grassroots bargaining unit to negotiate a contract with hospital operator St. Joseph Health. The move comes as St. Joseph is enmeshed in its own exit talks with the Petaluma Health Care District to leave the hospital as new operator Paladin Healthcare looks to take over the facility.


In voting that wrapped up Wednesday, Petaluma nurses overwhelmingly cast ballots in favor of leaving California Nurses Association and forming a local union to represent the 130 nurses at the hospital. Jim Goerlich, president of the new Petaluma Staff Nurse Partnership, said the change was in the works for months after the relationship with CNA soured.

To read more visit this link >>  

November 22, 2017
Petaluma Health Care District wins Healthiest Companies Award

At Petaluma Health Care District (PHCD), employees and families take advantage of no cost health care and mental health benefits, such as counseling services, health assessments and flu shots.


PHCD has an active Wellness Committee and this year its Employee Committee bought Fitbits for all interested employees while instituting step and fitness challenges using these devices.


Approximately 60% of staff members participate in office step challenges by signing up to do at least 50,000 steps/week for four weeks.

To read more visit this link >>  

November 15, 2017
These hospitals earned an 'A' for patient safety in Leapfrog's Fall 2017 ratings

The Leapfrog Group last week released its Fall 2017 Hospital Safety Grade ratings, awarding 832 hospitals an "A" rating for excellence in clinical and operational metrics tied to patient safety.


Of that list, 59 hospitals have scored an "A" in every year since the group starting publishing scores in 2012.


The rise of consumerism in healthcare has put fresh weight on public ratings programs from groups like Leapfrog, Healthgrades and U.S. News. More patients are conducting research online on the providers they choose for their care.

To read more visit this link >>  

October 26, 2017
Grateful to Petaluma

Letter to the Editor 





Our hearts go out to our fellow Sonoma County residents who have lost their homes or loved ones or have been displaced due to the devastating fires. No matter how prepared an individual or community may be, our bodies and souls feel the effects of crisis or disaster.


And yet, our hearts are also full of love and pride here at the Petaluma Health Care District. The extraordinary response of first responders, including courageous fire and police personnel, from this region and around the state and nation has kept our community safe. The physicians and staff of Petaluma Valley Hospital, Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital and other neighboring hospitals treated thousands of people, including patients transferred from Kaiser and Sutter Santa Rosa when they were forced to evacuate. It is inspiring to see everyone come together to meet the needs of our community when so many themselves lost their own homes.


And you, Petaluma, came together with a response that is truly awe-inspiring. You volunteered your time and opened your homes, your schools, your wallets and your hearts to our neighbors in their hour of need. We cannot thank you enough. It is truly an honor to work with and on behalf of such a committed and generous group of people.


As a community and District, we will play a critical role in the long-term healing and resiliency-building of our county. Now that our work turns from responding to a crisis to nurturing a recovery, we will be bringing together agencies and organizations to consider what we can do to further support the health of our neighbors to the north, as well as our own residents. Understanding how our greatest health priorities – mental and behavioral health, cardiovascular health, housing, education and health care access – may have shifted as a result of this disaster is critical. As your local health care district, we remain dedicated to working with our partners to improve the health and wellbeing of all our residents.


In the meantime, continue your wonderful work Petaluma. We will emerge as a stronger community and county.


We are #SonomaStrong and #PetalumaProud.


Ramona Faith CEO

Petaluma Health Care District

To read more visit this link >>