Town hall meeting today set for Carson-Tahoe hospital board

Designed to open the hospital affiliation process to the public by addressing local concerns, today's meeting of the Carson-Tahoe Hospital Board of Trustees includes the first of three monthly "town hall" meetings.

Hospital consultant firm Kaufman, Hall and Associates sent affilation requests for the hospital to 13 regional health care providers.

Chief Operating Officer Ed Epperson said the consultant had received a few reponses but no firm proposals are expected for at least two weeks.

Affiliation with a larger company could give the hospital access to expanded medical services, potentially lowering the cost of health care. All companies contacted must have a good national reputation, and the money to help the hospital in its $63 million improvement plan.

The hospital began looking for an affiliation partner because the health care industry is in a flux with rising labor costs and cuts to Medicare reimbursements. While the city-owned hospital is profitable now, that could change at any time, administrators say.

Trustees previously approved $80,000 to hire Kaufman Hall help them affiliate and to determine how much the hospital is worth.

Other topics to be addressed at the meeting include:

- A decision regarding a business plan for neurosurgery and spine surgery service. A Reno neurosurgical group has proposed bringing this service to Carson City. Simultaneously, a spinal surgery group in South Lake Tahoe recruited a new spine surgeon, proposing that the surgeon do surgery at Carson-Tahoe.

- A decision regarding the ratification of the contract between the hospital and Carson-Tahoe Hospital Employees Association for fiscal years 2000-2003. Voted on by the Employees' Association last week, it comes up for final approval by trustees today.

- Trustees will also to be asked to approve a bylaws amendment for the chief executive officer's contracting authority. The proposal would give the CEO permission to spend up to $50,000 without trustee approval.

If you go:

What: The Carson-Tahoe Hospital Board of Trustees meeting

When: today, 5 p.m.

Where: the Community Center's Sierra Room, 851 E. William St.


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