To: Palm Drive Heath Care District Board
Support Our New Hospital’s Success with Urgently Needed Bridge Financing
I urge the Palm Drive Health Care District Board to take immediate action to secure bridge financing in the form of a loan from the District and an advance from the Sonoma County Assessor’s Office, to ensure that the hospital and its life saving emergency room can meet its payroll in February and March while waiting for reimbursement from Medicare, Medi-Cal and private insurance companies.
Why is this important?
The good news for the people of West Sonoma County is that our new
community hospital is flourishing. In just three short months since reopening, business has surpassed expectations. The in-patient daily census at Sonoma West Medical Center (SWMC), which averages nearly 14 people a day, continues to rise, and is already 50% higher than Palm Drive Hospital was during the year before it closed. The no-wait emergency room is saving lives, with about 20 patients every day. More than 100 lab tests are being run daily, and surgeries have commenced. Locals say they feel safer and are relieved that they no longer have to face long hours of waiting in Santa Rosa hospitals. The humane, personal care that made Palm Drive the safest hospital in the entire State of California is back, and patients have never been happier.
Unfortunately, millions of dollars of Medicare, Medi-Cal and private insurance reimbursements are facing long bureaucratic delays. The impact of this delayed reimbursement means that SWMC’s philanthropic reserves have been used up. Once reimbursement arrives, our hospital will be making the money it needs to be self-sustaining. But until then, SWMC will require bridge financing.
That’s why the Friends of Sonoma West Medical Center have created this petition to urge the Palm Drive Health Care District Board members to fulfill their obligation to make sure that our precious hospital will not close while waiting to be paid for services rendered.
To provide bridge financing during this critical time, we urge the District Board to advance our hospital $700,000 from its ample cash account, and to immediately request that the Board of Supervisors provide an emergency advance of one million dollars against this year’s tax revenue from the County Assessor’s office. After all, the tax Measure passed by 70% of voters in 2004 stated that the purpose of our parcel tax is “to ensure survival of Palm Drive Hospital and access to local emergency, acute care, medical and physician services, and provide for ongoing expenses, repair and improvements to equipment and technology.”
Such County Assessor advances are frequently granted to help other County agencies and special districts overcome cash flow challenges. Less than two years ago, Sonoma County’s Board of Supervisors provided an emergency loan of $1.8 million to finance the closure of Palm Drive Hospital.
During this critical period, the people of West Sonoma County have a more urgent need: bridge financing to ensure that our life-saving hospital stays open until the money it has earned comes in.