Hospital sends out proposals in affiliation effort

Carson-Tahoe Hospital's affiliation process continued to move forward as the Board of Trustees conducted the first of three "town hall" presentations on Thursday.

"We sent proposals to 13 companies," Marketing Director Rich Linkul said. "We could have 8-10 full proposals within the next week to 10 days."

Those proposals will be pared down to two or three by consultants Kaufman Hall and Associates before moving to the Board for consideration. Site visits will be conducted in June, before a more detailed analysis of the proposals in July.

Recent attempts to affiliate with Washoe and Barton this past year failed, but the process left board members with a clearer idea of what they want from affiliation.

Maintaining community control, employee security, and financial viability were listed by Linkul as top priorities. The Board is also interested in exploring options for affiliation in the form of a business or strategic alliance to help fund capital needs for major projects, like the proposed $20 million Cancer Center.

"This board has been very proactive in looking at the health care needs of the community," Vice Chair Caleb Mills said. "The (affiliation) partner must enhance (medical) technology for the community."

Affiliation could take any number of forms, including joint venture, lease, management contract, partial sale or total sale. The last option is considered the least likely.

Nothing is set in stone, but most unaffiliated hospitals are not profitable, and there is strength in numbers in today's market.

"The health care industry is unstable," Linkul said. "Competitive scenarios could have serious consequences. The greatest risk is doing nothing."

In other action:

- The trustees gave approval to the three-year contract agreement between the hospital and Carson-Tahoe Employee's Association.

- The hospital's finance committee approved a business plan for a neurosurgery and spine surgery service. Drawing two new physicians, one from Reno and one from South Lake Tahoe, the move should add 124 new surgical cases annually. Surgical theater operating hours will triple, from 78 hours a week to 225. Estimated costs for new equipment will be about $500,000, to be paid back within two years.

- Approval of a lease agreement for the Carson Mall urgent care facility was postponed due to a management question. It has not been determined whether Physicians Select Management will manage the new facility alone or jointly with the hospital. The 10,800-square-foot space in the Carson Mall will also house the hospital's Community Wellness and Education departments.


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