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Sonoma Valley Hospital said it will open its new $46 million wing and newly built emergency and surgery departments on Nov. 16, capping five years of construction and fundraising that brings the hospital in line with state seismic standards.

The new emergency department, expected to be fully operational by mid-December, is formally named the Marcia and Gary Nelson Family Emergency Care Center in honor of its lead donor. It occupies the first floor of the new 12,243-square-foot wing, with the new surgery center occupying the second floor.

[caption id="attachment_37569" align="alignright" width="389"] A rendering of the remodeled Sonoma Valley Hospital.[/caption]

The opening of the new wing completes the first stage in modernizing the 83-bed hospital, which began in 2008 with the passage of a $35 million general obligation bond approved by Sonoma voters to allow the hospital to meet seismic standards and cover the cost of new construction and equipment. The hospital is overseen by the Sonoma Valley Health Care District.

Hospital officials subsequently determined that the emergency and surgery departments could not be upgraded, and a new wing was needed. An additional $11 million needed to be raised in order achieve the new wing. To date, the hospital said it has secured $8.9 million to fund the project.

Other elements of the project that have been completed include a new central utility plant, infrastructure upgrades to the east and west wings, seismic upgrades to the west wing, infrastructure for electronic health records, expanded parking and electrical upgrades, according to the hospital.

“It’s been a long time coming, but I think everyone who sees it will feel it’s an investment that will give back to our community for years to come," Kelly Mather, chief executive officer of the hospital, said of the project while thanking Sonoma Valley for supporting the hospital.

The new emergency wing will "transform emergency care in Sonoma," said Robert Cohen, the hospital's chief medical officer. “It’s bigger and better than our previous ER in almost every way,” Dr. Cohen said. “We will have shorter waiting times to see a physician, greater patient comfort while waiting, increased patient privacy, and access to the latest technology. The design also allows for closer monitoring of admitted patients so even small changes in a patient’s condition can be quickly observed.”

The new emergency department is three times larger than the previous facility, at more than 6,500 square feet compared to 2,100 square feet. It has seven private patient areas along with an area with two beds for high-acuity patients. Sonoma Valley Hospital’s emergency department has 10,000 patient visits each year and receives 77 percent of the emergency room visits in the Sonoma Valley.

The new surgery center is 5,657 square feet, about 20 percent larger than the previous center.***

Palm Drive Hospital in Sebastopol recently obtained a 3D digital mammography, making it only the second hospital in Sonoma County to offer the new system that it says offers greater patient experience.

The 37-bed hospital unveiled the new Hologic’s Selenia Dimensions 3D system at a special open house ceremony recently in the hospital’s Healing Garden Courtyard.

“This is going to make an huge difference in our ability to spot potential tumors normally hidden in dense tissue, and that can make a huge difference to a woman’s quality of life and, sometimes, even to her life itself,” said Karen Cauthen, director of patient care services. “If tumors are detected when they are small and confined to the breast, and before they are palpable, the five-year survival rate is 98 percent.”

The hospital, overseen by the Palm Drive Healthcare District, said the new 3D mammography system offers more accurate scans, with less chance of error and better detection of very small tumors, than traditional 2D mammography. It was purchased at a cost of $480,000, made possible by donations from the Palm Drive Health Care Foundation and an anonymous benefactor.***

REACH Air Medial Services in Santa Rosa has a new Eurocopter EC135 helicopter, part of an ongoing program to modernize its fleet of emergency air helicopters, the company said.

The aircraft will be based at REACH's Santa Rosa base, known as REACH 1, and will be the seventh such aircraft for REACH, which was started in Santa Rosa 26 years ago and was acquired by Texas-based Air Medical Group Holdings late last year for $250 million.  It's now a wholly owned subsidiary.

REACH's Santa Rosa fleet now includes 21 helicopters and eight fixed-wing aircraft, along with 10 ground ambulances.

 “We are very excited to be upgrading our fleet with this addition at our Santa Rosa REACH Base. This EC135 will be able to serve our patients with enhanced capabilities including greater distance and more room for our neonatal specialty teams who require an isolette to move our tiniest patients,” said Darin Huard, general manager for the Santa Rosa and Lakeport bases.

REACH, short for Redwood Empire Air Care Helicopter, also operates Cal-Ore Life Flight. The companies support operations in Concord, Crescent City, Eureka, Imperial, Lakeport, Marysville, Oceanside, Redding, Sacramento, Santa Rosa, Stockton, Thermal, and Upland, California as well as Brookings, Gold Beach and Corvallis, Oregon and San Antonio, Pearsall, and Houston, Texas.***

Sapheon Inc., which left Santa Rosa about a year ago for North Carolina, announced recently that it raised $19.8 million in Series B funding from both current and new investors.

The medical device maker, which focuses on treatment for vascular disease, relocated to Morrisville, N.C., in the Research Triangle Park area known for its biotech and health care startups "to better coordinate with our business activities in Europe and to obtain better access to employees with experience in medical device manufacturing," said Harry Phillips, vice president of  administration.

The company made five key hires after relocating and now has a total of 25 employees, Mr. Phillips said.

The funding will support Sapheon’s U.S. pivotal study through final submission to the FDA of application for its VenaSeal Sapheon Closure System. In addition, Sapheon announced full enrollment of 242 patients in the U.S. pivotal study of the VenaSeal Sapheon Closure System. VenaSeal is a minimally invasive, single use kit for the treatment of venous reflux, or varicose veins, by means of a tumescent-free, transcatheter delivery of Sapheon’s proprietary medical adhesive to the diseased great saphenous vein

The VenaSeal Sapheon Closure System received CE Mark approval in September 2011. Over 1,000 veins in patients in Europe and Hong Kong have been successfully treated with VenaSeal without tumescent anesthesia or post-procedure compression hose therapy***

Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Medical Center announced the appointment of Rebecca Taylor-Ford to the position of accreditation, regulation and licensing risk director. As the risk director, she is responsible for overall leadership of the accreditation, regulation, and licensing, risk management, and infection control areas.

Ms. Taylor-Ford has 11 years of experience in increasing responsible roles within patient care services at Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa and Vallejo.  In her most recent position, she was the administrative services director for the KP Vallejo Hospital managing the patient care staffing office and systems, nursing supervisors, bed control, and nursing quality.  Ms. Taylor-Ford is also the founding member and chairperson for the KP Santa Rosa Nursing Research Council.  ...

Submit items for this column to Staff Writer Dan Verel, dverel@busjrnl.com.