Through a series of cost-cutting measures – including the controversial closure of its obstetrics department – Sonoma Valley Health Care District officials announced this week that Sonoma Valley Hospital is near the break-even point.
As Catholic health care systems across the country expand, the University of California’s flagship San Francisco hospital has become the latest arena for an emotional debate: Should the famously progressive medical center increase its treatment space by joining forces with a Catholic-run system that restricts care according to religious doctrine?
Economic analysts estimate that health care spending will likely grow at an annual rate of more than 5 percent over the next decade, leading more employers and insurance providers to shift costs to individual consumers.
Previous generations had simple needs when interacting with the healthcare system. To book an appointment with their primary care physician, they’d pull out their calendar, pick up the phone, and call the office. They’d take whatever appointment was available, pencil it into their calendar, and wait. For after-hours care, they would either call their doctor and wait for a nurse to call back or make an expensive trip to the ER. While this system was straightforward, it was rarely personalized or consumer-centered.