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Impacts of affiliation unknown for Minden med

by Jeff Munson

Four options on the table to overhaul Carson-Tahoe Hospital may have implications for Minden Medical Center.

Carson-Tahoe officials are considering a major overhaul of the hospital system to remain competitive in the Northern Nevada healthcare market over the next decade.

Minden Medical Center, which is owned by Carson-Tahoe Hospital but whose urgent care services are contracted with a private group called Physician Select Management, would convert to whichever option is selected.

Hospital officials, however, do not know what the implications will be under any of the four options.

The four proposed options are to affiliate with Sutter Health or Universal Health System, become a private, non-profit hospital or to remain publicly owned.

Affiliation either with Sutter or Universal would mean the hospital system would merge, with Minden Medical Center under the direction of the new owner, said Rich Linkul, spokesman for Carson-Tahoe Hospital.

The hospital owns the Minden Medical Center building, land and much of the medical equipment, except for equipment owned by private practices that lease space.

Sutter and Universal have not identified any changes they would make. If selected, they would have to honor the existing contract with Physician Select Management until the contract expires, Linkul said.

Hospital employees have expressed concern over the possibility they may lose their retirement benefits from Nevada’s state-run Public Employees Retirement System. The hospital has sheltered its 950 workers under the state retirement system for several years. But three of the four options would preclude Carson-Tahoe Hospital employees enrollment in the state-run system.

Linkul said of the three options – affiliation with Sutter or Universal or to become a nonprofit hospital – employees would have the option of entering into a 401K or 403K retirement package.

Layoffs are not an option, he said.

“We don’t see any changes in the staff under any scenario,” he said.

Under the nonprofit option, it would be up to a nonprofit board of directors to decide what it would do with the Minden facility, Linkul said.

“All hospital entities will remain as a package under a nonprofit scenario until the board decides which way we are going,” Linkul said.

Driving the hospital’s search for possible partners is the belief by Carson-Tahoe officials that as much as $90 million in investments may be needed to remain competitive.

On Thursday, the hospital’s board of trustees will hear recommendations regarding the overhaul by medical staff, the Carson-Tahoe Employees Association, the Independent Physicians Association, and the hospital’s Auxiliary.

The board of trustees is expected to make its final decision March 1.

What: Carson-Tahoe Hospital trustees to hear recommendations on affiliation

When: Thursday, Feb. 22 beginning at 5 p.m.

Where: Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St., in the Sierra Room