Carson-Tahoe Hospital's existing building will be converted to a long-term acute-care facility, Chief Executive Officer Ed Epperson said Thursday.
The transition, which will take about eight months once construction of a new regional medical center is completed, is expected in 2006.
Epperson said conversion of the old building, recently approved by the hospital's board, will mean more employment in Carson City and less traffic for neighboring Mountain Street residents.
"We'll have a smaller number of patient rooms and a smaller census," he said. "The patients will stay longer and there won't be as much turnover. Traffic should be significantly reduced."
Hospital spokeswoman Cheri Glockner said the facility will serve patients who don't need a hospital environment, yet don't need a nursing home. Stroke patients, those on ventilators or those who are partially paralyzed fit into this category.
"Patients will be able to get full-time care and the facility will have rehabilitation capabilities, so patients can move past their illness," Glockner said.
This designation also fills a very real niche in the community, Epperson said.
"We have been very limited in the discharge opportunities for patients in long-term acute care," he said. "There aren't many places locally for that kind of patient."
The 65-bed facility will integrate many of the services already available at the hospital, including lab, X-ray, food service and pharmacy. The plans are expected to fill about 75 percent of the hospital, leaving room for other services.
One opthalmologist is considering a surgery center and the hospital may consolidate some of the administrative and other services into the building, Epperson said.
Just off Mountain Street in west Carson City, the hospital is on an 8.5-acre campus and includes the three large office buildings that make up Sierra Professional Center. Once the transition of the main hospital is complete, those buildings could be razed or renovated to include any number of services, such as independent or assisted living for seniors.
"During the next six months, we'll be putting a business plan together," Glockner said. "In that time, we expect to hear from all interested parties."
Plans for the old building are contingent on completion of Carson-Tahoe's new regional medical center. Work on the $132 million project, which started in August 2003, should be completed by late 2005.
The move to the new hospital is expected about six months later, after the facility has been thoroughly tested, Epperson said.
On about 80 acres between Eagle Ranch Road and Highway 395 in north Carson City, the center will be three stories high and include a partial basement.
Other facilities, including a cancer center and surgical center, will be integrated on the site. About 21Ú2 times the size of the current hospital, the main building will have 338,000 square feet.
The new facility will mean a higher standard of care for people in the region, hospital officials say.
Contact Susie Vasquez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1212.