It was the one of its kind in the Valley |

It was the one of its kind in the Valley

Linda Hiller

When the Carson Valley Emergency Health Center opened in Stratton Center in January 1981, it represented a change in health care for the entire Valley.

“This was the first emergency center for the Carson Valley and the first time a Nevada hospital opened a satellite,” according to a January, 1981 Record-Courier article. It all happened less than 18 years ago.

n Milt Fleischer’s role. Prior to the opening of the health center, paramedics had to transport patients needing immediate care to facilities outside the area, said Ethel Fleischer, whose late husband Milt was instrumental in getting the facility built.

“Milt was a pharmacist in town and really thought it was about time we had an emergency center,” she said.

Fleischer persuaded the then-administrator of Carson-Tahoe Hospital in Carson City, Tom Collier, that the Valley and outlying areas with a population of 10,000 needed an emergency center.

With funding the main obstacle voiced from Collier, Fleischer set out to have the community raise the money for a facility that would ultimately benefit them. A large wooden Christmas tree was used to monitor the donations – as new financial levels were reached, more ornaments were put on.

“When you think about it, the community raised $200,000 back then and now it would cost in the millions,” Ethel said. “It was something how they all came together.”

Milt Fleischer died in 1985. A donor board at the current facility, still located at 1538 Highway 395 in Gardnerville, illustrates the hundreds of community members who gave donations to make the center a reality in 1981.

n Lone facility. After opening, the Carson Valley Emergency Health Center was the main urgent care facility in town for many years. The name was later changed to the Carson Valley Health Center, but the philosophy was always the same – provide quality care in a friendly, small town atmosphere.

When the 3,600-square-foot facility opened in 1981, there were four doctors who rotated on duty during the business hours, which were from 8 a.m. to midnight. The first day of business, 12 emergencies were treated, including a “little girl who injured her elbow,” who was the first patient of the day.

Next month, the Carson Valley Health Center will relocate to the new Minden Medical Center, in the news recently for its color scheme. Fleischer said her husband would be happy to think the facility the community worked so hard to build was keeping up with the times.

“Milt would be tickled to pieces,” she said. “He was a very forward-looking person. Regardless of the colors, he’d be so glad to know there was going to be something better in town.”

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