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The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors Tuesday considered the proposal for a new Sutter hospital near the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts.

The following letters were submitted in support of the project.

Sutter cardiac services fill a critical need

Editor:

I ask you share with the residents of Sonoma County the severe consequences to the community’s health care system should the proposed Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa new hospital project not get approved or is delayed. If the new hospital project is not under construction by the end of the year, the county could face the closure of the Chanate buildings in 2012 due to noncompliance with state seismic safety laws.

Sutter plays a particularly crucial role in Sonoma County’s health care system as one of only two hospitals in the county providing invasive cardiac surgery services. Sutter’s Cardiac Program received national recognition by Health Grades in 2010. Closure of the Chanate buildings would leave our community with only one hospital to perform cardiac surgery.

The health of our community depends on ensuring the approval of this project without delay so that our community has no interruption of life-saving medical services at Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa and Sutter’s Heart & Vascular Center.

Ruth Skidmore, CEO, Northern California Medical Associates, Santa Rosa

Sutter project would be boost to local economy

Editor:

Sonoma County has been hit hard by the downturn in all sectors of employment, which greatly impacts businesses that rely on a vibrant economy and tourism.

The new Sutter hospital project will be a shot in the arm to our local economy generating hundreds of jobs with Sutter’s $284 million investment in building a state-of-the-art and earthquake-safe hospital without one dime of taxpayer funds.

While the county’s contract with Sutter is through 2021, Sonoma County would be well served to do whatever is needed to assist Sutter in making this project financially viable. We need them to stay and continue serving our county.

Percy Brandon, General Manager, Vintners Inn, John Ash & Co., Santa Rosa

Growing Hispanic, Latino population needs services

Editor:

I am writing in support of the proposed new hospital and medical campus planned for Sutter-owned property on Mark West Springs Road.

I serve in many leadership positions in health care that provide essential services to our community. I am currently program director of the Latino Service Providers as well as chair of the community advisory council for Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa. I previously served as a member of the board of directors for the center for seven years prior to its merger with the West Bay Region of Sutter Health.

The county of Sonoma chose Sutter Health to take over Community Hospital because of Sutter’s record for delivering quality patient care, careful planning for community health care needs and ability to solve the seismic compliance issues looming ahead with the antiquated buildings at the Chanate campus. As you know, if Sutter is not under construction by October, it could miss the state deadlines providing an extension for AB 1953. The result would be the closure of the Chanate hospital at the end of 2012, which would have disastrous consequences in our community, but particularly for our growing Hispanic and Latino patient populations.

In my leadership capacities, I work with the challenges in health care to care for a diverse community and the great need to make sure we have health care providers who are culturally proficient to care for our diverse population. Language barriers in health care can be life threatening. Sutter employees are by far the most culturally proficient in Sonoma County providing care to our county’s growing Hispanic and Latino populations. Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa has a significant percentage of staff that is bilingual and provides language classes to its employees as a benefit to encourage bilingual training. Non-English speaking patients will not receive the same high quality of care if they do not understand the care they are given and the instructions for follow-up care.

This project has been analyzed in depth by the Department of Health Services and through the environmental review process for the last three years. I encourage you to move forward with approving this project without delay to ensure our diverse community is well served for years to come.

Wanda Tapia, Program Director, Latino Service Providers, Windsor