TRUCKEE, Calif. — I would like to ask everyone to take the time to read a very good news article about what I consider criminal acts taking place at Tahoe Forest Hospital. The article is in the July/August Moonshine Ink and also available online at moonshineink.com.
So why would I think that some of the acts are criminal? Mainly because TFH is a tax-based public facility. We pay property taxes to help improve and keep this facility running. Because I am taxed for this service I would expect them to keep their costs to patients lower than for-profit corporations.
Instead, we have a facility that has allowed cost for care to often be far more than many private health care facilities, and the wages to be paid to its upper management to be, well, criminal. During our country's current financial crisis, some leaders are taking little-to-no wage increases, and the private sector wage growth in the last 10 years has been 4 percent — but wages for the CEO position at TFH have increased 112 percent in the last 10 years.
At $404,000, the current wage for the CEO position at TFH is more than the president of the United States. Yes, running a hospital is an important job, but in comparison, not even close. Nepotism, obscene wages and overly expensive health care seem to be the norm at a facility that has all the makings of bad news article out of Chicago.
I certainly like to see the hands-on-staff like doctors, nurses and support staff to be compensated well, but the wages for a bunch of paper pushers who are not directly saving lives need to be reasonable, and in most cases, below the 6 figure mark.
To look at the nonprofit Tahoe Forest Hospital Foundation is another trip into corruption. The foundation spent 65 percent of its money on operating expenses. So if you give to the foundation, expect your money to go to bloated wages and wine and cheese parties. Not to help those who are sick, injured or in need of help. For a nonprofit fund development employee to make $135,000 a year is, well, criminal.
I hope that everyone will voice their disgust to the hospital board of directors. Let the board know that there are well-educated, qualified people who care and will work for a fraction of the wages that the current administrators are getting paid. Let the board know that the foundation should be able to operate with a 20 percent overhead, not 65 percent.
Health care was an area of life that was originally dominated by caring compassionate people, but Tahoe Forest Hospital seems to prefer to pick the pockets of people when they are sick or injured. We want quality health care from compassionate people at reasonable prices.
Dan Warren is a Truckee resident.