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[caption id="attachment_16128" align="alignright" width="108" caption="Newly appointed Chief Administrative Officer Michael Purvis focusing on quality and a smooth transition."][/caption]

SANTA ROSA – Against the backdrop of a massive regional restructuring and plans for a new hospital, newly appointed Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa executive Michael Purvis admittedly faces a challenge.

“This organization has been through a difficult transition, from thinking it would close to building a new hospital, but I am excited to take on the challenge,” Mr. Purvis said in an interview last week.

The 20-year hospital leadership veteran today commences his fourth week as chief administrative officer, overseeing daily operations as Chief Executive Officer Mike Cohill concentrates on organization-wide strategies.

Mr. Purvis said in his first 100 days he will concentrate on orienting himself with staff and the local health care environment.

“Sutter of Santa Rosa is really unique in its relationship with the county and the health care access agreement, which adds a distinctive dimension to hospital leadership. … The loss of a major health plan also caused a chaotic market and dynamics that have led to a certain level of competition that also makes health care in Sonoma County challenging,” he said, referring to the collapse of Health Plan of the Redwoods earlier this decade.

Mr. Purvis has worked most recently as a consultant, creating patient safety strategies and efficiencies across 39 Bay Area hospitals. His career also includes service with the Humboldt County region of St. Joseph Health System and in administration with Baptist Hospitals and Health Systems, leading four hospitals and other regional health facilities.

On Jan. 1, Sutter Health will officially implement an organization-wide regionalization more than two years in the works. The health system will divide facilities into five major regions related to patient flow and disband local boards in lieu of one governing body for each area. Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa spokeswoman Lisa Amador said the effort is meant to improve access between facilities and efficiencies across campuses.

Sonoma County will be assumed by the “West Bay Region,” which includes Sutter Medical Foundation of the North Bay, Sutter Lakeside Community Hospital, Novato Community Hospital, California Pacific Medical Center, St. Luke’s Hospital and Physician Foundation at CPMC. Marin General Hospital will be involved with the region until it is transferred back to public control, expected next summer.

The change will also mean a centralized business office in Terra Linda and minimal staff reductions. About 10 Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa business staff will be offered jobs in the new office.

“The regionalization isn’t something I think the community or patients will notice in a concrete way. What they will see is an increase in efficiency, access to care and connectivity with regional partners and caretakers,” Mr. Purvis said.

“Of course we expect a certain amount of anxiety, as there always is with change, but once the dust settles, they will see the impact overall is a positive one.”

The new administrator will report to Sutter West Bay Region North Bay Hospitals' CEO David Bradley. Mr. Cohill will continue as chief executive of the Sutter Medical Foundation North Bay and in his role securing necessary approvals for construction of the new Santa Rosa hospital near the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts.