October 24, 2017
Hundreds of Sonoma County doctors, medical professionals displaced by fires

From a single photo, Dr. Patricia May and her husband, Jeff May, saw the scarcely recognizable remains of their Fountaingrove home — the blackened carcass of a family car in the driveway, concrete rubble and stucco debris everywhere, and the narrow segment of wall that once offered bay-window views of their backyard from the kitchen and second-floor master bedroom.


What the couple hadn’t grasped until a week ago — a full 11 days after the Tubbs fire ripped through northern Santa Rosa — was the near annihilation of their neighborhood, destruction that no satellite photo or drone video could convey.

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October 19, 2017
California fires cause $1 billion in damages, burn 7,000 buildings

The wildfires that have devastated Northern California this month caused at least $1 billion in damage to insured property, officials said Thursday, as authorities increased the count of homes and other buildings destroyed to nearly 7,000.


Both numbers were expected to rise as crews continued assessing areas scorched by the blazes that killed 42 people, a total that makes it the deadliest series of fires in state history.


State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said the preliminary dollar valuation of losses came from claims filed with the eight largest insurance companies in the affected areas and did not include uninsured property.

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October 19, 2017
Petaluma helps with long fire recovery

In favorable weather conditions this week, firefighters worked to contain monstrous wildfires that scorched more than 100,000 acres in Sonoma County, permanently altering the landscape and the lives of many in the community. While Petaluma escaped damage from the historic firestorm and the city continued to serve as a safe haven for evacuees, it became clear that the recovery effort would take months or longer and volunteers dug in for the long haul.


As flames subsided and evacuation orders were lifted, allowing residents of the hardest hit areas of Santa Rosa and Sonoma Valley to return home, several temporary shelters in Petaluma closed and evacuees consolidated at the Lucchesi Park Community Center and Veteran’s Building. A shelter at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds was closing on Wednesday. Those who remained in evacuation centers had lost homes in the fires.

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October 2017
2017 Petaluma Health and Wellness Guide

Check out the 2017 Petaluma Health and Wellness Guide and two excellent pieces highlighting Petaluma Valley Hospital and the Petaluma Health Care District!

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September 7, 2017
Don’t take hospital for granted

Hospitals are critically important institutions, and the vital role played by the 80-bed Petaluma Valley Hospital is regularly illuminated by the lives that are saved there every week.


At a time when dramatic and often unpredictable changes in health care nationwide are causing some of these establishments to shutter — including one in Sebastopol that closed, reopened and is currently on life support — Petaluma residents should keep informed about what is happening at their hospital and ensure it continues its longstanding practice of providing outstanding healthcare services. It is, after all, your hospital, and the major changes afoot there warrant your attention

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September 5, 2017
Big ‘Bash’ a gala way to support all Petaluma-area schools

This year’s PEF BASH, supporting the mission of the Petaluma Educational Foundation, will be another legendary night of dancing, dining and auctions, but the fun is secondary to the cause — the continued mission of the Petaluma Educational Foundation to benefit all 38 kindergarten through 12th-grade public, not-for-profit and charter schools in the Petaluma area.


On Saturday, guests will be in awe as they enter the creatively transformed venue of the Petaluma Veteran’s Memorial Building to raise funds in support of more than 13,000 Petaluma students.

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August 28, 2017
Helping to save lives in workplace - Defibrillators reduce fatalities by 60 percent

The number one health crisis death in the workplace is by heart attack. But having an automated external defibrillator (AED) on hand can improve the chances for survival of a heart attack victim by about 70 percent.


So why don’t all workplaces have one?


Reasons business owners give including cost and the misplaced fear of being sued for misuse of the device, said Tami Bender of Petaluma Health Care District’s HeartSafe Community, which provides CPR and AED education and services.


“Businesses have a fear of liability for placing public access to an AED. However, they are covered under the Good Samaritan Law and the device is designed so that it cannot accidentally shock someone,” she said.

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August 28, 2017
Fast acting customers save golfer's life after heart attack on course

A North Bay golf outing over the weekend could have had deadly consequences had not the course’s customers and crew not stepped up to heroic tasks. At the Rooster Run Golf Course, the staff turned out to be anything by chicken. What could have been a tragedy here Saturday morning was prevented by tenacity and technology.


Last Saturday morning, a golfer at Petaluma's Rooster Run Golf Course collapsed during what appeared to be a heart attack. A chain of actions and events saved that golfer's life.


"People on the golf course who were with him and around him, immediately called 911, administered CPR, and then they called the clubhouse where they knew there was an AED that was recently put in there by the local Rotary Club about a year ago, and people at the club house, staff at the club house, took the AED, jumped in a gold cart and rushed it out to the scene," said Battalion Chief Jeff Schach of the Petaluma Fire Department.

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August 27, 2017
Golfers, staff save man at Rooster Run Golf Course

Everyone did exactly what they needed to do Saturday morning when a golfer suffered cardiac arrest near the 14th hole of the Rooster Run Golf Club in Petaluma.


When the golfer dropped, players immediately called 911, started performing CPR and contacted the course clubhouse. Staff raced to the scene with an automated external defibrillator, or AED, and deployed it three times.


By the time emergency crews from the Petaluma Fire Department made it to the patient, he was breathing on his own and had a pulse. Emergency personnel stabilized and readied the man for transport to the hospital.

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August 17, 2017
Petaluma Hospital Transfer Further Delayed

Complications over electronic medical record keeping systems have significantly delayed the transition to a new operator at Petaluma Valley Hospital as local healthcare officials have acknowledged that it could be a year or longer before a replacement for St. Joseph Health is in place. The Petaluma Health Care District, which owns the city’s only hospital, continues to work with St. Joseph, the current operator, and Paladin Healthcare Management, the district’s choice of successor, on a transition plan made more complex by the lack of a standalone record keeping system.


St. Joseph, which has operated the hospital on a 20-year lease, has a computer system that is linked to other facilities in its network and is not suitable for a standalone hospital. Information technology specialists say an entirely new electronic record keeping system must be built before Paladin can take over the hospital, a process that could take up to a year and cost $6 million.

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August 7, 2017
Health disparity across Petaluma

Pockets of poverty are nestled within the Petaluma community, with stark social and economic divides between neighborhoods throughout the city, data shows.


The reality of those disparities is highlighted in a report by the Sonoma County Department of Health Services, which scored 99 census tracts in the county using a human development index, a metric that measures well-being based on factors including health, access to education and income. The index is on a scale of 0 to 10.


Using that 2014 Portrait of Sonoma County report, officials from the Petaluma Health Care District drilled down to find Petaluma-specific data. That data examines imbalances within neighborhoods and between races, ethnicities and genders, while underscoring the connection between factors like education, quality of life and money.

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June 15, 2017
Hospital transition underway

Petaluma Valley Hospital is a vital community-owned asset. The Petaluma Health Care District wants to assure this community that we continue to work diligently through the multi-faceted and increasingly complex process of transitioning our hospital’s operations from St. Joseph’s Health (SJH) to Paladin Healthcare.


Throughout our District’s 70year history we have harnessed the community’s vision and provided oversight to ensure southern Sonoma County’s health care needs are met.


As your public agency, local access to a thriving hospital is a primary objective — this means ensuring a facility that meets the community’s current and long-term needs via a lease that protects core hospital services and provides ongoing investment in infrastructure, state-of-the art medical equipment and technology, and people.

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June 12, 2017
Business Briefs

Arrow Benefits Group has allocated $100,000 in order to place AED (Automated External Defibrillator) machines with employers throughout the local community over the course of the next five years. According to the company, the program builds on its Arrow Wellness Initiative, which was established two years ago to offer free CPR and first-aid classes to its clients and the community.


“The Arrow Wellness Initiative has been utilized by businesses since its inception, and it was always our goal to build on this program,” said Arrow Benefits Group Principal Andrew McNeil. “Our clients see value in implementing employee benefits that go beyond the norm and that improve health and cost outcomes, as well as performance in the workplace. We are dedicated to helping our clients take proactive actions to keep their employees healthy and safe.”


Arrow’s funds will be donated to clients who wish to purchase AED machines for their business location. To help implement its CPR and first-aid training, as well as AED installation, maintenance and registration, Arrow has partnered with the Petaluma Health Care District’s HeartSafe Community initiative and Healthquest training center.

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June 8, 2017
Petaluma company gives $100K for North Bay businesses’ AEDs

The latest effort to reduce Sonoma County deaths from cardiac arrest comes from a Petaluma company that recently pledged $100,000 to purchase automated external defibrillators for North Bay businesses.


Stacy Gibbons, executive director of American Heart Association North Bay, called the move by Arrow Benefits Group “unprecedented.”


Arrow Benefits Group’s first foray into reducing cardiac arrest deaths was in late 2014, when the company asked the Petaluma Health Care District to teach its employees hands-only CPR.

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May 25, 2017
NEWS BRIEFS: Health awards announced

Petaluma Health Care District announced the recipients of its second annual Community Health Awards, recognizing outstanding service benefiting the health and wellness needs of southern Sonoma County residents.


The award recipients include Randy Clay, lead outreach specialist for COTS, for playing a critical role in the success of Petaluma Sober Circle; Redwood Empire Food Bank, for its diabetes wellness program; Buckelew Programs, for improving behavioral health and for providing affordable housing; and Conservation Corps of the North Bay – John Muir Charter School, for becoming a HeartSafe school and for becoming an American Heart Association training site.

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May 23, 2017
Petaluma Health Care District Honors Community Leader and Three Nonprofits with Second Annual Community Health Awards

Petaluma Health Care District (PHCD) is pleased to announce the recipients of its second annual Community Health Awards, recognizing outstanding service benefitting the health and wellness needs of Southern Sonoma County residents. The awards are comprised of three categories – Health Hero, Nonprofit Equity and Golden Heart – and were established by PHCD as a new recognition program in celebration of Health Care District Month in May. For the third straight year, the Petaluma City Council and Sonoma County Board of Supervisors issued its Health Care District Month declarations, recognizing the essential role PHCD plays in Southern Sonoma County and the importance of creating and promoting health and wellness programs, services and initiatives that contribute to the health and vitality of the community.


PHCD will host the upcoming Community Partnership Appreciation Breakfast on May 25 at the Petaluma Women’s Club in gratitude of its local partners, including nonprofits, health and social service providers, community volunteers, businesses, and public agencies. The event will draw more than 100 attendees, including California State Senator Bill Dodd and representatives from the office of Assemblymember Marc Levine.

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May 4, 2017
Funding cuts threaten Petaluma homeless services

A funding cut outlined in Petaluma’s proposed budget could send the city’s largest homeless service provider into a “death spiral,” a top Committee on the Shelterless official said Tuesday.


The city’s $181.98 million draft spending plan proposes a $70,000 reduction in funds allocated to COTS, a line item that’s drawn a stark critique from the community. An online petition opposing the 47 percent reduction garnered more than 1,000 signatures, along with a chorus of protest at Monday’s Petaluma City Council meeting.

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May 4, 2017
Petaluma Hospital Foundation at a juncture

As philanthropists attend the Petaluma Valley Hospital Foundation’s biggest annual fundraiser this weekend, the charitable arm of the city’s main health care facility faces an uncertain future with the imminent departure of its creator, St. Joseph Health.


This year’s Benedetti Leadership Celebration, May 6 at the White Barn Project at Beaumont Farms, comes at a crossroads for the foundation that has raised $6.4 million in 13 years to purchase pricey medical equipment for Petaluma Valley Hospital. As St. Joseph prepares to cease operating the hospital, health care officials are considering the future of fundraising for the facility.


Ramona Faith, CEO of the Petaluma Health Care District, which owns the hospital, said in an email that the district plans to create its own nonprofit arm to take the place of the foundation once the new operator, Paladin Healthcare, takes over the hospital.

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April 25, 2017
Spike in suspected heroin overdose deaths in Santa Rosa spur public warning

Alarmed Sonoma County Coroner’s Office officials Tuesday released a warning to the public about a spike in suspected heroin-related overdoses, five deaths in the last 10 days.


“One commonality is they’re all dying and appear to have recently injected heroin,” said sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Crum.


The deaths have occurred in the Santa Rosa area and have involved three men, ages 28, 29 and 52, and two women, ages 27 and 66. While Crum declined to release further details about the victims, he said two men and one woman were homeless.

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April 20, 2017
EDITORIAL - Resolve hospice dispute

As Petaluma Health Care District officials continue working to secure a long-term contract with a new operator of the publicly-owned Petaluma Valley Hospital, a number of questions remain unanswered in what has become a hugely complex deal with numerous long-term ramifications impacting the healthcare for many thousands of people in the Petaluma area. Unfortunately, such questions are not likely to be fully answered until the late summer or early fall when district voters are expected to be asked to formally ratify the agreement during an election.

To read more visit this link >>