4 questions for B. Konard Jones, CEO of NorthBay Healthcare in Solano County
B. Konard Jones became president and CEO of NorthBay Healthcare in April 2017 after holding other senior leadership positions there and with UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.
Describe a single specific challenge your organization faced last year and why it posed such a challenge. What measures have you taken to overcome the challenge?
It’s difficult to focus on a single challenge as 2019 was significant in many ways, including capacity issues, wildfires and power outages. The challenges began in January when state legislation added to hospitals’ responsibility for care for homeless patients.
That, combined with an inundation of flu patients, immediately created capacity issues in the already busy emergency department and hospital, a dynamic that lasted for months. New predicaments came during fire season.
PG&E’s public safety power shutoffs did not stop power to NorthBay Medical Center or NorthBay VacaValley Hospital, but they created related issues for scores of patients and staff. The Kincade Fire in Sonoma County forced evacuations of more than 200,000 people and affected a number of hospitals, including NorthBay Medical Center in Fairfield, which accepted several dozen patients from Healdsburg District Hospital and Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital. NorthBay’s crisis management and incident command teams streamlined processes and fine-tuned our emergency response.
After years of research, planning and construction on Oct. 1 we opened the north wing at NorthBay Medical Center, a $200 million gift of advanced medical care to our community.
What obstacles are policy and politics putting in the way of providing quality health care? How much do these challenges affect your organization’s ability to serve patients?
As we see more health systems around us merge or consolidate functions, our continuing challenge is to retain the freedom to deliver care to our community free of the corporate, mega-system constraints on innovation and nimbleness. For 60 years, we’ve flourished by providing advanced services others will not bring to the community because they export patients outside our county for advanced specialty care.
What specific accomplishment of your organization in the past year or so do you wish to highlight?
After years of planning, permitting, construction and training, NorthBay Medical Center’s north wing represents a $200 million commitment to the community to invest in the most advanced medical technology, close to home. The three-story, 77,000-square-foot addition includes eight surgical suites equipped with an array of state-of-the-art surgical equipment; 22 new patient rooms, bringing the number of beds to 154; the latest in top-level diagnostic equipment; an expanded central sterile department; and the Shaw Family Kitchen, with indoor and outdoor dining.
Tell us one person or situation connected to your organization inspired you in the past year.
I am inspired by Al and Patt Shaw, a Green Valley couple who decided to make a significant — and historic — donation of $5 million to NorthBay Healthcare Foundation this year. The Shaws are by nature very private people, and they recognize not everyone is able to make a donation of this size. But, they agreed to come forward with news of their support in hopes that it might inspire others to also support their local health care system, as well.
The Shaws believe that such a combined effort — of contributions large and small — will not only assure our health care system remains strong, but strengthens our community as well. This faith they have in our organization, and in our mission of providing compassionate care, advanced medicine, close to home, inspires me and my team to do all we can to assure the mission continues.