Carson-Tahoe Hospital forges ahead with physician partnerships

Carson-Tahoe Hospital is reaching a higher standard of care, and in the next six months, the Carson-Tahoe Hospital Board and Administration will be focusing on breaking ground for our new Regional Medical Center.

As the vision is unveiled and the logistics of financing, building specifics and aesthetics are identified, our major objective begins to take form. This objective is to provide superior health care to our region. Our board, along with our leadership team, has identified seven strategic goals that will assist us in focusing our many resources to ultimately better serve our community. One of those identified goals that will have an extreme impact on quality care is "to enhance and promote hospital/physician partnerships."

Hospital/physician relationships have always been a part of health-care business. Physicians provide a valued service by working independently at hospitals to help patients recover. Obviously, hospitals could not survive without the loyalty and commitment of local physicians. On the other end, physicians require strong, community-oriented hospitals to assist them in providing well-rounded, compassionate, quality care to their patients. The fact is, to do our jobs well, hospitals and physicians need each other.

Physician recruitment has been a focus for the last 10 years and we have expanded our medical staff to include more than 35 specialties and 200 physicians. Carson-Tahoe Hospital is proud of the caliber of physicians that serve our community. We listen to our physicians and have invested more than $4 million in new technology and state-of-the-art equipment in the last two years. The additions requested by our physicians have raised the bar significantly in delivering quality care to patients.

Our physicians have been included in every step of the last four years as we transitioned from a public to a private entity. Furthermore, we have four physicians on our Hospital Board. Also, physicians have provided invaluable input into our Regional Medical Center plans, from site location to patient flow throughout the new facility. According to health-care leaders in the region, Carson-Tahoe's relationships with physicians are envied by health-care facilities around the area. We know it matters and we know that nurturing those relationships will improve patient care and help us to create a superior Regional Medical Center.

An innovative kind of relationship/partnership will become prominent as we build our new facility -- financial partnerships. When physicians have an ownership interest in the hospital in which they practice, there is an efficient alignment of clinical and business interests, which is critical in today's highly cost-conscious environment. Care-giving partnerships with physicians promote a team approach and result in improved patient care. Carson-Tahoe Hospital is identifying several physician partnerships that will be critical elements of our Regional Medical Center. Basically, we will be providing the majority of capital while our physicians provide the clinical expertise and retain control over clinical decisions. Four of those partnerships have recently been finalized. These partnerships will assist us in delivering better, more efficient healthcare to our community.

Most notable at this time is that we have expanded our longstanding partnership with Carson Ambulatory Surgical Center. That expansion has resulted in what will be one of the flagships of our new campus-- Carson Surgical Hospital. This new hospital is slated to be built on the grounds of our Regional Medical Center, and Carson-Tahoe Hospital will be the majority owner of the entity. Carson Surgical Hospital will provide ambulatory surgery services to our community as well as a convenient, three-day surgery center for those patients needing orthopedic surgery, elective surgeries or other less serious procedures.

This partnership will allow us to separate those patients with very serious illnesses from those needing less intense medical care, thus, decreasing the interaction between the very sick and the more healthy patients. This will be an invaluable addition to our Regional Medical Center.

Other partnerships that have been created to better serve the region are with our radiation oncologists and our imaging partners, Great Basin Imaging. Carson-Tahoe Radiation Oncology Associates will be an integral part of our Carson-Tahoe Cancer Center. Their radiation expertise is immeasurable, and our ability to assist them in purchasing state-of-the-art linear accelerators and other technology will positively impact cancer patients around the region for years to come. In expanding the partnership with GBI, our ability to deliver state-of-the-art imaging services increases tremendously.

In this highly competitive world of health care, we believe that partnering with our talented physicians is a cost effective way to maintain high quality healthcare standards. We now create a complete team that takes into account the best interest of all stakeholders: patients, physicians, employees, medical staff and our community. Our commitment is to enhance health care in our region and Carson-Tahoe Regional Medical Center will be a source of pride for our entire region. It is important to all of us here at Carson-Tahoe Hospital. We want to be your first choice for health care.

Ed Epperson is chief executive officer of Carson-Tahoe Hospital.


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