Organization prefers private, nonprofit hospital |

Organization prefers private, nonprofit hospital

by Susie Vasquez, Appeal Staff Writer

An overwhelming majority of organizations connected with Carson-Tahoe Hospital support formation of a private, nonprofit to run the facility in the future.

Organizations ranging from the Independent Physicians’ Association to Carson Ambulatory Surgical Center showed their support at Thursday’s meeting of the hospital’s Board of Trustees.

A decision concerning reorganization of Carson-Tahoe Hospital is expected March 1.

In a survey, 75 percent of the independent doctors supported nonprofit status, Dr. John Bower said, adding that the proposal allows more flexibility to raise money for capital improvements.

The second choice of physicians and others was sale to Universal, which would allow access to needed capital, but the call for a private, nonprofit was clear.

“We can do a good job ourselves,” Bower said, adding that time is of the essence and gave a timeline of 12 months for the conversion.

This stand was echoed among organizations like Carson-Tahoe Hospital Foundation to the Auxiliary, and almost all agreed a strong governing board would be necessary.

“Board selection will be critical,” said Pam Graber, foundation executive director. She added that highly trained professionals will be critical to the plan’s success.

Dr. James Pitts argued that creation of a regional full-service medical center would require capital and the expertise of a major partner like Universal.

“Loss of local control is a moot point. Medicare payments are set according to diagnosis and not charges. Nurses are scarce, and Universal is more likely to be able to recruit both nurses and specialists. The competition will be moving in soon. We need a new hospital as soon as possible,” Pitts said, adding that the public will support the hospital as long as there is no financial impact.

The main reason for the proposed reorganization or affiliation involves the generation of money. A projected $90 million is needed for capital projects over the next 10 years just to stay competitive with other major Northern Nevada hospitals, said Chief Executive Officer Steve Smith. To ignore this capital need would mean siphoning off lucrative services to larger health care entities and ultimately strangle the hospital financially.

Under the proposal, the private nonprofit company would be owned by the community. Managed by area residents, the board would set direction and strategy, approve the budget, and find funding sources.

A second governing board, appointed by the membership of the corporation, would oversee all aspects of the health care business.

Money for the hospital could come from tax-exempt bonds, grants, commercial money or a combination of the three.

Universal Health is a publicly traded, for-profit hospital founded in 1978. It proposes an outright sale for $105 million. Proceeds from the sale would remain in the community, but hospital cash flow and control of these funds would move to Universal. Once the money for the Public Employment Retirement System benefits and other charges had been deducted, the funds would be set aside for additional health care needs.

In other business, hospital trustees approved the creation of a limited partnership agreement with Radiation Oncology Associates.

Under this agreement, Carson-Tahoe will purchase 40 percent of the radiation oncology business for $2.1 million. The partnership is a step in creating the hospital’s new Cancer Center.

What: A special Board of Hospital Trustees meeting

When: 5:30 p.m. March 1

Where: Western Nevada Community College’s Sarah Winnemucca Hall, located in the Aspen Building.

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