A Letter to the Community
As a leader of a hospital that truly believes in a mission to safely care for the communities we serve, it’s difficult when any type of service can no longer be provided, especially when the patients are pregnant mothers and newborns.
By now, many in this community are aware that as of May 1, 2023, there will be a temporary suspension of labor and delivery services at Petaluma Valley Hospital, until further notice. There have been many public accounts of the challenges facing hospitals today, such as the national shortage of qualified health care professionals in many medical disciplines, including labor and delivery. These challenges, which are present across the U.S., are having a significant impact locally.
One local impact is that efforts to secure the necessary physicians and anesthesia professionals at Petaluma Valley Hospital’s Family Birth Center have not been successful. As a result, the hospital does not have the staffing needed to safely provide services in its Family Birth Center past April 30, 2023.
I understand how this news is difficult for our vibrant community. Our priority, however, is and always will be the safe care of our patients. It is with this objective that we recommend that pregnant individuals continue to work with their obstetrician and care team to create a birthing plan that is right for them and seek care at alternate acute-care hospitals with fully staffed labor and delivery units. Appropriate options in Sonoma and Marin counties include Marin General Hospital, Providence Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, and Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital, along with Kaiser Permanente hospitals for individuals who are Kaiser Permanente members.
As you know, Petaluma Valley Hospital has a 24-hour emergency department (ED). The ED is able to take care of various emergency medical conditions, for which these conditions can be effectively treated and stabilized. For individuals who are pregnant or have vaginal bleeding, it is important to understand that we do not have OB anesthetists or OB/GYN physicians on staff. For those individuals who come to our ED, we will adhere to the federal guidelines that require us to perform a medical screening exam to determine if an emergency medical condition exists. If there is an obstetrical or gynecological emergency, then we will stabilize to the best of our ability and transfer these patients to a facility with the capacity and expertise to treat these emergencies. We have established a process in collaboration with 911, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), and the nearest facilities to effectively manage the transfer of patients.
Providence (previously as St. Joseph Health) has operated Petaluma Valley Hospital for more than 25 years. We have served this community with the goals of providing high-quality care and supporting the overall health of our friends, families and neighbors.
Though Petaluma Valley Hospital does not offer all possible types of medical care, it serves an essential role in the health of this community. Petaluma Valley Hospital assures that patients have local access to a broad array of vital acute-care medical services.
As your local hospital, we understand how important high-quality health care is to the residents of Petaluma and surrounding communities. We remain steadfast in our dedication to providing the best care possible and to the health and safety of our patients in south Sonoma County, now and into the future.
Troy Gideon, Chief Administrative Officer, Petaluma Valley Hospital
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