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Brune does not want to remain at urgent care if change comes

by Sharon Carter

If the Carson-Tahoe Hospital Board of Trustees chooses to partner with a private group to manage the hospital’s satellite urgent care clinics, the doctor who has operated the Minden Medical Center’s clinic (and its predecessor Carson Valley Health Center) for the past five years will likely distance himself completely from the operation.

Health care attorney Jeffrey Whitehead of Las Vegas, who spoke for Dr. Mark Brune of Gardnerville, said Brune is not associated with the group of physicians who have proposed to take over the clinics.

“If the (hospital) board goes ahead and adopts the suggestion as proposed, Dr. Brune plans to continue in the Carson Valley in private practice. He won’t be involved in the reduced services,” Whitehead said Monday.

Whitehead said Brune and his family consider the Carson Valley their home.

“Dr. Brune is concerned about the welfare of patients and the people in the area and he wants to make sure Carson Valley health care continues to succeed,” Whitehead said.

At issue is a proposal from a group of doctors, the Physicians Select Management LLC, to take over the not-for-profit, public hospital’s urgent care operations in the Minden Medical Center and at the hospital’s other satellite clinics in Carson City and Dayton and at Lake Tahoe.

C-TH chief executive officer Steve Smith said last week hospital trustees are interested in the proposal because the Carson City-based hospital’s satellite operations have been losing money.

Whitehead intimated that the hospital board should proceed cautiously. He said it has been his experience that such partnerships (between companies that operate for profit and those that do not) are rarely successful.

“The two think and operate differently,” Whitehead said. “And typically, the for-profits try to shift risk to the not-for-profits.”