April 20, 2017
Hospice operator up for debate

Petaluma health officials are bracing for a confrontation over which organization will manage hospice services once St. Joseph Health ends its contract to operate Petaluma Valley Hospital.


Management of Petaluma hospice has emerged as one of several complicated issues as the Petaluma Health Care District tries to detangle from St. Joseph, which has operated the publicly-owned hospital for 20 years.


Hospice, which provides end of life services, was started locally by the health care district, according to Ramona Faith, CEO of the district.

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April 13, 2017
North Bay hospitals score high in safety

The Leapfrog Group has come out with its bi-annual Hospital Safety Grade, and several North Bay hospitals have received the highest mark.


Those with rating of “A” include Kaiser Foundation Hospital in Santa Rosa, Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital, and Petaluma Valley Hospital, Marin General Hospital, Novato Community Hospital, and Kaiser Foundation Hospital in San Rafael. Ukiah Valley Medical Center also received an “A” rating, as did Kaiser Foundation Hospital in Vacaville.

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April 13, 2017
Petaluma Health Care District in focus

Petaluma’s most important public healthcare decision in a generation is being deliberated by elected officials that make up what is likely the city’s lowest profile and least understood body.


The future of Petaluma Valley Hospital, the city’s lone acute care facility, is squarely in the hands of the five elected members of the Petaluma Health Care District board, an organization whose meetings are typically sparsely attended and often held behind closed doors.


The district, which implements initiatives aimed at increasing public health outcomes in Petaluma, is also the custodian of the publicly-owned 80-bed hospital. For the past 20 years, the district has leased the hospital to St. Joseph Health, the Catholic healthcare provider that also operates Santa Rosa’s Memorial Hospital.

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April 12, 2017
How two brokerages are spreading wellness beyond their clients

As brokerages continue to look for ways to stand out from the competition, two agencies are giving back to their communities and helping those areas become healthier in the process.


Andrew McNeil, principal of Arrow Benefits Group in Petaluma, Calif., created the Arrow Community Wellness Initiative, collaborating with Whole Foods, integrated healthcare system St. Joseph Health and other local health industry leaders to provide a series of ongoing free wellness classes to the community.


The initiative each month offers CPR and automated defibrillator (AED) training and certification with first -aid, instructed by the Petaluma Health Care District, free to the community.

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April 6, 2017
Educating the entire child for a strong and healthy community

When your mission in the community is to improve the health and well-being of Southern Sonoma County, you understand the value and impact of a quality education. For the Petaluma Health Care District (PHCD), partnering with the Petaluma Educational Foundation (PEF) is a natural fit.


"We are uniquely positioned to understand the health prioties of our community, and one of our most important priorities is ensuring youth have access to quality education. Partnering with PEF - which works closely with our schools and understand the needs of students and staff - is an excellent opporunity to greatly impact our students, our schools and our health," shares Ramona Faith, MSN RN, PHCD's CEO.


April 6, 2017
Petaluma Teen Saves a Life with CPR

Thirteen-year-old Lucy Decker was at a rowing event in Oakland last month when a spectator suddenly collapsed, apparently having a heart attack. A concerned crowd of onlookers gathered around, while one man stepped forward and started performing CPR.


The problem, though, was the bystander was doing it all wrong. He was performing the CPR compressions into the ailing man’s shoulder blade, clearly not doing any good. That’s when Decker, an 8th grader at Petaluma Junior High School, stepped forward and corrected the man.


Relying on the training she had learned in P.E. class, she demonstrated the proper technique of chest compressions, helping to sustain the man until paramedics arrived.

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March 29, 2017
Sonoma County ranks among top 5 healthiest in California

For years, local politicians, county health officials and health care professionals have been talking about making Sonoma County the healthiest county in the state by 2020, a goal that is at the heart of numerous local health, education and socio-economic initiatives.


In 2011, Sonoma County ranked 12th among 56 California counties surveyed in the first County Health Rankings by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It took three years for the county to break into the top 10, reaching eighth.


Last year, it reached sixth and this year, the county made it to No. 5. The rapid climb, from 12th to fifth in just six years, has some local officials confident the county can hit the No. 1 spot in three years.

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March 28, 2017
24 leaders in North Bay health care

Ramona Faith, R.N., M.S.N. CEO, Petaluma Health Care District


Faith has dedicated her 40-year career to advancement in health care. Since 2011, Faith has been CEO of the Petaluma Health Care District, an organization that utilizes its position as a community owned and operated public agency to serve the changing health and wellness needs of Southern Sonoma County residents. In the last year, Faith oversaw PHCD’s distribution of $280,000 in charitable funds, sponsorships and in-kind support to local nonprofit programs and services, and Faith and PHCD received a number of awards, including the 2016 Jefferson Award for Public Service from the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors.

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March 28, 2017
Petaluma Health Care District wins Community Philanthropy Award

Petaluma Health Care District, a public agency and a California special district, funds evidence-based health programs and invests in local nonprofits that provide critical social services and address the root causes of poor health.


During the 2015-2016 fiscal year, PHCD provided $280,000 in charitable funds, sponsorships and in-kind technical support to 33 Southern Sonoma County nonprofits, such as the Boys and Girls Club, Mentor Me, North Bay Children’s Center, Petaluma Educational Foundation, United Way of the Wine Country Schools of Hope, COTS, PEP House and Mother’s Care.


PHCD brings together area leaders, residents and organizations to tackle Southern Sonoma County’s greatest health needs through the Community Health Initiative of the Petaluma Area. CHIPA is an 80-member community collaborative. PHCD has hired staff to support and grow CHIPA and continues to fund efforts to improve resident health.

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March 15, 2017
Press Democrat Letter to the Editor: Hospital changes

I am the medical director of emergency services at Petaluma Valley Hospital and the owner of Petaluma Emergency Physicians Medical Corporation, which has provided emergency care at this hospital for more than 24 years. I also served as Chief of the Medical Staff at Petaluma Valley Hospital from 2005-2007. 


I want to praise the Petaluma Health Care District and CEO Ramona Faith for selecting Paladin Healthcare as the recommended operator of our hospital. The PCHD Board has performed extensive due diligence during the bidding process – going to great lengths to ensure both the hospital community and the community at large are well served today and for years to come. I am very satisfied with the board’s decision.


Paladin Healthcare has expressed to the medical staff that they are: 1) committed to Petaluma Valley Hospital; 2) planning to maintain the services currently offered to this community; and 3) committed to enhancing and even supplementing the services we provide so we can decrease the number of patients that are transferred to other facilities for lack of staffing (nursing and physicians). Paladin is also committed to supporting this emergency group, providing enhancements to our physician staffing and expanding service lines to meet the needs of our community. Broadly, Paladin is committed to keeping emergency and hospital services excellent, strong and vibrant for Petaluma’s future.


I also want to thank St. Joseph Health for helping our hospital and community with: 1) a Stroke-Ready Designation (first in the state); 2) a Baby-Friendly Designation (first in the North Bay); and 3) a Leapfrog “A” rating (a national measure of patient safety).


This operator selection process has been long and challenging, with many twists and turns and accompanying rumors and speculation. Change is always filled with anxiety and angst. However, with this proposed transition to Paladin Healthcare, I can confidently assure our community that we will not compromise the quality of emergency, hospital or trauma care. I hope you will support this decision.


Dr. Loren Fong


To read more visit this link >>  

March 15, 2017
Paladin, St. Joseph work through Petaluma hospital transfer agreement

The Petaluma Health Care District board last week decided to postpone submitting a ballot measure for the new Petaluma Valley Hospital lease to provide more time for the current and future operators to work out a complex transfer of operations agreement.


The district earlier signaled an intent to set a public vote on June 6 to ratify the operating agreement with Paladin Healthcare, the district’s preferred choice to take over the hospital from St. Joseph Health. March 10 was the deadline to submit a measure for the June ballot.


The transfer of operations agreement needs to be in place before Paladin can finalize its lease for the publicly-owned hospital, said Ramona Faith, CEO of the health care district. She said she hoped the agreements would be finalized by June, in order to put the contract to a vote in August.

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March 13, 2017
Petaluma Valley Hospital vote delayed

Petalumans will no longer be voting to approve an operator for Petaluma Valley Hospital on June 6, as had long been the Petaluma Health Care District’s plan.


The announcement came Friday at the PHCD board meeting, also the last day to submit a ballot measure for the June vote.


In a news release, Elece Hempel, board president, cited the “complex” process of transitioning from St. Joseph Health as the hospital’s operator to the board’s choice of Paladin Healthcare as its new operator.

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March 10, 2017
District to miss June vote on Petaluma hospital

The Petaluma Health Care District board on Friday decided to postpone submitting a ballot measure for the new Petaluma Valley Hospital lease.


The district earlier had signaled an intent to set a public vote on June 6 to ratify the operating agreement with Paladin Healthcare, the district’s preferred choice to take over the hospital from St. Joseph Health.


March 10 was the deadline to submit a measure for the June ballot. PHCD Board President Elece Hempel said the district needed more time to finalize the lease agreement with Paladin.

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March 10, 2017
Vote for New Petaluma Valley Hospital Lease Deferred

The Petaluma Health Care District (PHCD) Board of Directors at its meeting today decided to postpone submitting a ballot measure for the new Petaluma Valley Hospital (PVH) lease for public vote on June 6, 2017. Today, March 10, is the deadline to submit measures for the June 6 ballot.


PHCD Board President Elece Hempel stated during today’s public board meeting: “This process is very complex. Unlike 20 years ago, three parties are now involved in this transaction, the District, the new operator, Paladin Healthcare (“Paladin”), and the existing operator, St. Joseph Health (“St. Joseph”), not two. The District and Paladin need additional time to finalize the terms of the lease agreement, and Paladin and St. Joseph need time to discuss and agree upon the terms of an operations transfer agreement that will ensure a smooth transition of hospital operations. Our expectation is that all parties – the District, Paladin and St. Joseph – will work expeditiously to reach the necessary agreements, and we will submit the new lease for a public vote at such time. It is our expectation that St. Joseph will continue to operate the hospital until a smooth transition with Paladin Healthcare occurs.”

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March 2, 2017
Poll: Paladin right choice to run PV hospital

Respondents to an online Argus-Courier poll said Paladin Healthcare should be approved as the next operator of Petaluma Valley Hospital. Paladin was selected by the Petaluma Health Care District to run the hospital, a choice that must be ratified by voters in June.


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March 2, 2017
Hospital choice must be explained

The destiny of Petaluma Valley Hospital became just a bit clearer last week following an announcement by the Petaluma Health Care District that a Los Angeles-based healthcare company is the favorite to become the next operator of the city’s publicly-owned hospital.


Paladin Healthcare, a for-profit enterprise which operates four L.A.-area hospitals in “underserved, disadvantaged urban communities,” according to its website, is now in negotiations over the specifics of what is expected to become a long-term contract to operate Petaluma’s 80-bed hospital. Paladin is known for turning around struggling hospitals, but in Petaluma it would be a case of “sustaining and growing” the hospital, according to a Paladin spokesman.

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March 2, 2017
Sobriety program for homeless people yields results in Petaluma

At this time last year, Paul Palmer was going on seven years of being homeless.


A methamphetamine addict living along the Petaluma River, he’d been in and out of rehab a few times, but it never seemed to work.


He mostly kept to himself, staying out of the way of police officers and other homeless people, burrowed deep into the bushes along the river bank on the north side of town. To support his habit, he recycled. To pass the time, he would read, birdwatch or tend his vegetable patch of corn, lettuce and tomatoes.


Palmer, 52, is now off the streets and has been sober for three months, thanks to Petaluma’s Sober Circle initiative.

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March 1, 2017
The Wild West Needs a Deputy

There’s a program called Sober Circle in Petaluma that’s working. Petaluma PD had reported that a staggering 50% of their calls for service were homeless related calls. Sober Circle was somewhat started by a couple of frustrated and disheartened patrol officers looking for solutions. They decided to reach out to the health care/services organizations to try and work together to solve the homeless problem. After researching other programs that worked in other jurisdictions, the Police dept. dedicated an officer to the program that was developed. A 2016 Press Democrat article reported that the unsheltered homeless population in Petaluma had been reduced from 89% in 2013 to 40% in 2015, and the total homeless population had drastically decreased from 909 in 2013 to 361 in 2015 due to the efforts of the police dept. working with non-profit service providers.

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February 26, 2017
Petaluma Valley Hospital’s new manager Paladin Healthcare known for turnarounds but facility is healthy

Petaluma Valley Hospital’s next operator, El Segundo-based Paladin Healthcare, is known for turning around struggling hospitals. Its latest task likely will be different, growing a hospital that has a solid financial footing, according its owners.


If approved by the community in a vote in June, Paladin will take over when the hospital’s owner, the Petaluma Health Care District, ends its long-running agreement with St. Joseph Health in September.


PHCD chose Paladin over Pipeline Health, which manages Sonoma West Medical Center in Sebastopol, and The KPC Group

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February 23, 2017
Petaluma should prioritize affordable housing

Petaluma’s housing crisis is bad and getting worse, and the many negative impacts on people’s lives are multiplying.


As reported by Argus-Courier reporter Hannah Beausang last week, a coalition of small business owners submitted a petition to members of the Petaluma City Council earlier this month urging them to address the dearth of affordable housing in the city, a trend they say is hurting their ability to hire and retain employees.

To read more visit this link >>