Opinion: Vote for John Mohun for Tahoe Forest Hospital Board
October 18, 2016
As a taxpayer-supported and designated Critical Access Hospital, Tahoe Forest Hospital has a duty to provide affordable basic and emergency medical care to the community.
In recent years the hospital has expanded the facilities, programs, and roster of medical specialists to provide services which are neither basic nor essential. The main beneficiaries of this policy appear to be the physicians, many of whose incomes are supplemented by the district, and administrators and managers staff, of which there are more than 50.
Meanwhile, district residents have been charged ever-increasing rates and often chose to receive care elsewhere. The most egregious example of this expansion is the cancer center. While the cancer center, which was built at taxpayer expense, seems an admirable enterprise, in reality its main function is to be a cash cow for the hospital.
Tahoe Forest, which serves 40,000 people, contracts with and subsidizes the incomes of 4 oncologists, at a cost of $754,142 (2016-17 budget). The hospital where I practiced serves 150,000 members with 5 oncologists. Tahoe Forest's oncologists prescribe cancer drugs costing 6 million dollars, for which the hospital expects to collect over $13 million, for a profit of over 100%.
One must question why the district needs so many oncologists, why the chemotherapy drugs are so profitable, and whether or not those drugs are always benefitting the patients who receive them.
Of the three candidates running for two seats on the board, only John Mohun stands for fiscal responsibility and a commitment to returning the hospital to its proper mission.
Vote to return John Mohun to the hospital board. By voting only for him, you will send a message to the district that it needs to reexamine its duty to the community that supports it.
Jack Kashtan, MD