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Hospital trustees approve liaison board

by Christy Chalmers

Carson-Tahoe Hospital trustees have given their approval for a new Carson Valley liaison board, a move two members of the former panel are applauding.

The trustees unanimously approved the proposal Thursday. The new board will replace an 18-year-old liaison board that voluntarily disbanded after the hospital trustees decided to turn the hospital’s Carson Valley emergency room over to a private group. The liaison members said they thought their status as an advisory board that focused on a privately-run urgent care center would leave them in an awkward position.

The proposed plan would create a nine-member advisory board, composed of five Douglas County residents, a representative of the trustees, a hospital administrator and a pair of doctors from the Minden Medical Center.

“We’re foreseeing a broader role that’s much more focused on the needs of the entire community, as opposed to a group that just looks at the urgent care center,” said Ed Epperson, the hospital’s chief operating officer.

Trustee Jo Saulisberry said the proposal “covers everything we want to cover.”

The advisory board would oversee three subcommittees that would address building needs, community health and marketing. The subcommittees would be staffed with advisory board members, who would be expected to participate in at least one subgroup and spend 10 hours a month on hospital-related issues.

The old board focused primarily on health care, with financial and other issues secondary. Allen Biaggi, who was chairman of the former group, and Virginia Nenzel, a member, said the new proposal addresses their concerns.

“I think that’s a very good move,” said Biaggi. “When we disbanded our board, one reason was that the new organizational structure did not fit with our board, and there were a number of members who recommended changes and thought other focuses should be in there. I feel that we had a little bit of a hand in recommending what a new board may or should look like.”

Nenzel said a Carson Valley advisory board is an important link to the hospital’s leadership.

“I think that intermediary group is a great benefit to the community. I definitely would not want to see it just vanish,” she said. ” I think those are all really important things for the valley and issues that really need to be addressed. It’s something that needs to be kept in front of the public.”

Epperson said he has a list of potential advisory board members, but has not contacted them. He said he will approach them in the coming weeks.

Biaggi and Nenzel said they aren’t sure they would serve again if asked because of time constraints.

Biaggi said he still serves on the hospital building committee, and Nenzel is on the physicians recruiting committee.