City almost free from hospital

Carson City residents are almost off the hook for Carson-Tahoe Hospital's debts.

The hospital transfers from a city-owned facility to a private, non-profit corporation 7 a.m. March 1.

Carson City supervisors Thursday agreed to that transfer date, and also gave a nod to bonding which will allow the hospital to repay $25 million worth of city-backed debt.

"This will just about culminate the transfer of the hospital," Mayor Ray Masayko said.

With the hospital a public entity, the public is "the payer of last resort," Masayko said, if the hospital isn't able to pay its bills.

Hospital officials received word they have an "A" bond rating, and are seeking $40 million in bonds to not only pay their city debt, but purchase some equipment and help plan for a new regional medical center planned for North Carson City.

Supervisor Robin Williamson pointed out that as the hospital pays its debts, it will allow the city extra capacity to bond to meet its needs.

The State Board of Finance also has to agree to the hospital's proposed bonding, and is scheduled to do so Monday.

Carson City supervisors will have one more look at the hospital's bonding process before officially cutting ties.

"We're down to the final bit of housekeeping," said Ed Epperson, hospital administrator.

In July, city supervisors approved the transfer of the hospital, owned by Carson City since 1949, to Carson-Tahoe Health Systems.

Negotiations for the hospital, which is worth around $85 million, included a minimum 25 year guarantee of indigent care for Carson City residents.


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