Sonoma Valley Hospital has announced that it will continue its Obstetrics program, a service questioned by hospital administration in late 2013 due to reduced community use, increased costs and the projected elimination of Medicare funds.
Those funds, which have underwritten a large part of OB program costs in recent years, have been restored, according to CEO Kelly Mather, and cost reductions in Obstetrics have been identified.
“We considered closure only reluctantly, and then because we faced a large projected annual loss,” Mather said. “We are pleased that the DSH funds were restored and the Task Force we formed to analyze the situation has found a way to reduce costs to a manageable level.”
The Hospital reported that, based on current DSH funding, cost levels and delivery volumes, it is able to meet its goal of reducing the loss in OB services to less than $250,000 per year.
SVH has seen a steady decline in annual births since 2000, consistent with national and county demographics trends. Births at the Hospital have dropped from an average of 21 per month to 12 currently.