Barton negotiates sale of part of valley center |

Barton negotiates sale of part of valley center

Christina Proctor

William Gordon, chief executive officer of Barton Memorial Hospital, on Tuesday announced Barton and Washoe Health System have signed a letter of intent to negotiate the sale of half of Barton’s Carson Valley Medical Center.

Gordon said discussions between the two have been in the works for two and half years.

“The area (Gardnerville/Minden) has experienced a lot of growth and there are a number of additional services that could benefit the community,” Gordon said. “We can’t do it all, and we also have to consider the needs of our primary service area here at the lake.”

Carson Valley Medical Center opened in 1994 and now offers an emergency room and urgent care center, same-day surgery, diagnostic imaging, laboratory, pharmacy, physical and respiratory therapy, home health, and medical office space for physicians. The site also has five undeveloped acres.

Gordon said the center’s patient volumes have grown at least 30 percent each year since it opened.

“There are specialties like oncology that are not offered at the center or at Barton,” Gordon said. “With this partnership there is the potential that doctors might be encouraged to expand their services into the Carson Valley and possibly to Barton.”

Robert B. Burn, chief executive officer of Washoe Health System, said his organization sees the venture as an opportunity to increase service to a population they were already indirectly serving since many Carson Valley residents travel to Reno for speciality health care.

Gordon said he doesn’t believe Washoe Health System will attempt to compete with the doctors already established at the center.

“People will continue to go where their doctors practice for hospitalization,” Gordon said. “I don’t think many patients will travel to Reno when they can get the care here at Barton or at the center.

“Washoe is a sound financial partner and it’s nice to share the risk,” Gordon said. “This will be an equal partnership with a governing body making recommendations to each board.”

Gordon said Barton has also met with representatives from Carson-Tahoe Hospital.

“We have invited them to participate in this project,” Gordon said. “But, have received no word either way.”

“We’re not looking to displace anything that Barton does or Carson-Tahoe does in that area,” Burn said. “We were invited into that process and certainly wouldn’t have come in otherwise.”

The letter of intent is good for 120 days. Gordon said he believes negotiations will be final by August if not sooner but did not give a dollar value on the deal.

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