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Hospital to consider Minden Medical center expansion

by Jeff Munson

Carson-Tahoe Hospital trustees will discuss plans to expand the Minden Medical Center Thursday.

Carson-Tahoe Hospital owns Minden Medical Center and contracts with Physician Select Management for services. The hospital owns the building, land and much of the medical equipment, except for equipment owned by private practices that lease space.

According to C-TH spokesman Rich Linkul, Minden Medical Center is near capacity in the first of a three-phase project.

Hospital officials will discuss adding a north wing to the building that would allow for more laboratory and office space. About 20 physicians work in the building.

A decision by Carson-Tahoe hospital trustees last week to become a non-profit hospital will have no impact on Minden Medical Center.

“The bottom line is business as usual,” said Linkul.

Hospital trustees agreed last Thursday to create a private, non-profit hospital. The proposal for conversion, from the composition to a new board to the search for a new hospital site, will start immediately.

“While we are not merging and selling, we will be maintaining local control,” Linkul said.

Trustees had considered four options, including privatization, but opted to become a non-profit to keep local control, Linkul said.

“The board has agreed to turn Carson-Tahoe into a true regional medical center, where we will expand geographically all of our medical services,” he said.

And while the hospital wants to transform itself into a regional medical center, plans to build a new hospital, which was a recommendation made by a private consultant, will likely not happen in Douglas County.

“Right now, we have identified the north end of Carson City for a new hospital site,” Linkul said.

With construction of the Carson City bypass underway, the consultant has inked out possible target areas in north Carson City that would be geographically suitable for a new hospital site, he said.

The conversion to a non-profit will eliminate taxpayer risk and the county’s current liability for the hospital’s debt.

As a community non-profit corporation, the hospital will have its own debt limits and caps and can assume debt without tax support. Money for improvements could come from tax-exempt bonds, grants, commercial money or any combination of the three with no liability to the county.

Hospital officials estimate that over the next 10 years, some $90 million in capital improvements are needed.