After 52 years of serving the residents of Carson City and the surrounding region, Carson-Tahoe Hospital (CTH) is calling upon its roots to improve its offerings. Not only has CTH long been the hospital of choice for residents of Carson City, Carson Valley, South Lake Tahoe and surrounding areas, but it has developed a reputation as one of the most desirable employers in Carson City as well. Now it is facing an entirely new set of challenges, some surprising to the local community and others long-anticipated.
Ed Epperson took over as CEO in July 2001. At the first of the year, Steve Smith announced to the board he would be stepping down as hospital CEO after ten years of service. During his administration, despite a need for newer facilities and ever-changing technological upgrades, the hospital was among the most profitable independent hospitals in the country. Smith had been grooming Epperson for a number of years while Epperson served in the role of hospital chief operations officer, and more recently as hospital administrator. The same day Epperson was affirmed as the new CEO, CTH’s board of trustees voted to build a new hospital on a new site. The hospital is now in the acquisition mode to secure a large parcel of land on the north side of town.
The other landmark vote made by the board was the decision to move from a county-owned hospital to a private, not-for-profit entity. After months of negotiation, the county board of supervisors approved the transition based on the recommendation of the hospital board of trustees. While the board is moving towards the goal of becoming a regional medical center, it is taking measures to reassure the local community that it will continue to provide the best health care service available.
“Lost in all the talk about what changes are coming at CTH is the fact that all of these changes are being made to better serve the community,” said Epperson. “A new location, upgraded technology, better equipped facilities and a new management team are among the changes – but all of this is being done to make Carson-Tahoe more efficient and more accountable to the communities we serve. The bottom line with all the changes taking place, is that Carson-Tahoe Hospital is going to be better equipped to provide the highest quality of healthcare available in the region. One of our goals is to provide as many quality healthcare services as we can right here in Carson City, and to centralize those services so patients do not have to drive all over the region, or even into California, for treatment and observation.”
CTH currently has an award-winning Cancer Resource Center housed along with the Carson-Tahoe Hospital Foundation, the hospital’s fundraising body, at the historic Adams house just east of the current hospital site. CTH’s Comprehensive Cancer Program is well on its way toward formal accreditation, a process that normally takes several years to accomplish. Additionally, the Carson-Tahoe Hospital Foundation is aggressively leading the charge to establish a full-service, one-stop shop Cancer Resource Center as quickly as possible at the site of the new hospital. This facility would centralize the services needed by cancer patients and their families.
Ultimately, Epperson and his new management team are extremely optimistic about the scheduled changes. “We have been hearing great feedback from the community thus far,” said Epperson. “Our employees inform us that we continue to be the employer of choice in the community and just as importantly, the healthcare provider of choice for our community as well.”