Sonoma Valley Health Care District has secured a female specialist in obstetrics and gynocology for the hospital, board chairman Bill Boerum told Patch on Wednesday.
"She's the first female Ob/Gyn I recall in my 10-year memory of the district," Boerum said. "We've had others show interest before, but they've fallen through."
Diwata Hope Bose, MD (pronounced Bosh-ay) was most recently Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Aurora University of Wisconsin Medical Group in Milwaukee. She is due to start in Sonoma in March.
"We're putting an emphasis on women's health," Boerum said. "There is a large proportion of the population here that is beyond childbearing age who need an Ob/Gyn, as well as the younger women."
Boerum said the district also intends to put more emphasis on the Latino community as it goes into 2013.
"We do some work with Sonoma Valley Health Center. Some of our doctors here provide services to them," he said. "We want to engage more with La Luz. They service a lot of people who don't have health insurance and can't pay. They are underserved. And there are some chronic issues in that community, diabetes for example. We'll be communicating the medical services we have available. About 65 percent of the babies we deliver here are on referral from the health center. If someone needs surgery, they have to come here too."
Boerum said the health care district has for years had a problem with recruiting doctors.
"We have had to give doctors supplemental income to help them get established. We've had terrible results, with doctors staying three or four years, then leaving. Prima Foundation is now dedicated to recruiting for us. Prima Medical Group is the practice."
Boerum said the district has met its goals for recruitment for a while.
The biggest priority the district faces at this time is the seismic retrofit and facilities enhancement project, which is due to be completed in November 2013. The work is being done by Otto Construction. The consultant is JTech. The $35 million project is mostly funded through a general obligation bond approved in 2008. The district also has a capital campaign under way which has drawn contributions from some "very major donors," Boerum said. "There are also smaller sources of money available through the state, as well as lease money."
Of the $35 million bond, $31 million will go toward the project and $4 million will go toward paying off a previous debt, hence the need to raise further capital, he said.
In terms of long-range goals, Boerum said he has a vision of Sonoma as an international healthcare destination, where people can come to get their medical needs met and then recover, enjoying all that Sonoma has to offer. To that end, he and the Board are looking at services which offer a high profit margin and are a good fit for the local population as well as drawcards for visitors, such as orthopedics and possibly cosmetic surgery in the future.
"We have to increase our customer revenue by drawing more clients," he said. "It's important for our future stability."
Boerum said in the past, Sonoma residents have travelled to San Francisco, Napa or Marin county to obtain services. He said some part-time residents still do that, especially the ones who own homes outside Sonoma.
TELL US: What services would you like to see offered at Sonoma Valley Hospital and Prima Medical Group?