Firms bid for Carson-Tahoe Hospital

Carson-Tahoe Hospital's three potential affiliates - Triad, Universal and Sutter - have submitted proposals including offers to buy the hospital, chief executive officer Steve Smith said Thursday.

The proposals, which include several other options that wouldn't involve purchasing the city-owned hospital, are now being reviewed by Kauffman Hall and Associates consultant Jody Michele-Hall and will be presented to the hospital's affiliation committee at an Oct. 3 meeting.

A committee studying the hospital's options for affiliation will make a presentation to the board, hospital staff and public at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 18 on the second floor of the Carson Nugget. Once the facts and opinions of the affiliaton committee are in, the public, medical and hospital staff members, and the Board will be able to expand on this information.

"It's important to remember that these proposals (from potential hospital affiliates) aren't all we're considering," said hospital Trustee Caleb Mills, noting "the public and hospital employees think affiliation and sale are one and the same. But that just isn't true. Affiliation implies numerous options, and all are being explored."

"I can't say in all honesty that we're anywhere close to a sale," trustee and affiliation committee member Paul Saucedo said. "And I don't want to see that."

Mills said he does not believe the affiliation committee is holding onto the proposals for three weeks to put their own spin on the issues.

"Not at all. I don't believe that's true," Mills said. He said officials want to carefully consider all the information before presenting it to the board, hospital staff, and public.

Mills said there were multiple proposals from Triad, Sutter and Universal, and there are 13 options now being considered for presentation.

"We couldn't take the public along every time we explored our options," said Pete Livermore, Carson City supervisor and member of the hospital board. He said the process of exploring affiliation for Carson-Tahoe Hospital has included a significant amount of research and consultation, and the purpose of the committees is to develop the options.

He raised the possibility of renegotiating an agreement with Washoe Medical Center and Barton Hospital, an affiliation attempt that failed a couple of years ago.

Carson-Tahoe could also create a form of governance that would make it more all-inclusive. For example, a Western Nevada hospital district could include Lyon, Storey and Douglas counties.

The affiliation committee includes Carson-Tahoe board members Saucedo and Livermore, Smith, physicians Dr. David Strull and Dr. Greg McAninch, Carson-Tahoe Employee Association members Tim Clark and Jim Schaeffer.

Also attending meetings have been marketing director Rich Linkul, chief operating officer Ed Epperson, chief financial officer Ron Telles and consultant Hill-Michele.

Affiliation with one of these groups would hopefully result in the development of a long term relationship to ensure the continuing financial and technological viability of Carson-Tahoe, allowing the hospital to meet health care needs here.

- Triad, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, is a spinoff of the Columbia Hospital system, at one time one of the largest in the west. With hospitals located throughout the United States, the organization specializes in hospitals of the same size and market as Carson-Tahoe.

- Universal Health Systems, based in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, is presently affiliated with three hospitals in Las Vegas, as well as Northern Nevada Medical Center in Sparks. This partnership, according to Carson-Tahoe's chief executive officer Steve Smith, would create the strongest health system in the state.

One advantage to affiliation with this group would be the fact that Carson-Tahoe presently cannot bid for certain state emloyee contracts, because it cannot offer services in Washoe and Clark Counties. This affiliation would give both Carson-Tahoe and Universal the advantage of offering more complete services statewide.

- Exclusive to California, Sutter is a not-for-profit organization that concentrates heavily in Northern California, and controls about half the markets in the San Francisco and Sacramento areas. Affiliation with Carson-Tahoe would signal their first move into the Nevada market.

The review process is expected to take months, and once the viable alternatives are identified hospital officials will conduct a detailed study of the proposed affiliates' financial records. When a proposal has been approved by the Board of Trustees, it will be forwarded to the Carson City's Board of Supervisors for approval.


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