New hospital will transform health care

Much of Carson City hasn't yet grasped the enormity of the transformation in health-care service due to arrive in December with the opening of Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center.

Coffee-shop talk still revolves around popular topics like the freeway, Wal-Mart, the Virginia & Truckee Railway and Jethro's casino.

Meanwhile, a remarkable building - the biggest such project in the city's history - has risen on the north end of town, and with it comes a new century for medical care in the capital.

The community has been well served for 55 years by Carson-Tahoe Hospital but has rapidly outgrown the building and its neighborhood.

The new 350,000-square-foot regional medical center will have 40 more beds than the old hospital.

The emergency room will have more space, including a half-dozen "fast-track" rooms to help reduce the wait. There will be services not previously available in Carson City, such as open-heart surgery and interventional cardiology.

While some facilities have already opened in the area, such as Sierra Surgery and Imaging, the massive new hospital in many ways is only the beginning. Medical offices, a cancer center and cottages for patients who will be there for extended stays are among the additions forthcoming.

Along with the medical benefits, construction alone has accounted for a $130 million boost to the local economy over the past two years. (By comparison, the freeway's total cost is about $190 million spread over eight years.)

The hospital will employ 1,200 people, adding about 150 jobs to the existing workforce. It is the centerpiece of an entire medical community.

We supposed most people don't like to think about the hospital until they really need to go there. Then it's the most important thing in their lives. By December, they'll be able to see just how important it's become to all of Carson City.


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