Hospital district examines plans for Measure C | SierraSun.com

Hospital district examines plans for Measure C

Jenny Goldsmith
Sierra Sun

Since September when two-thirds of district voters approved a nearly $100 million bond measure to pay for hospital renovations, the Tahoe Forest Hospital district board of directors and the Measure C oversight committee have been learning about, planning for and anticipating the changes to come.

The public hospital sponsored the $98 million bond measure to pay for state-mandated seismic retrofits, renovations to its emergency care, an expansion of the cancer center, and the renovation or replacement of the hospital’s long-term care facility.

In December, after the district board appointed eight Tahoe-area residents to serve on a committee to oversee spending of Measure C funds, the board entered the preliminary planning phase, said Tahoe Forest Hospital District Chairman Roger Kahn.

Hospital staff have been interviewing design firms both locally and nationwide to help with the planning and building process, and next month, the board will select a candidate, Kahn said.

“We are looking for people who have experience with master planning for a hospital,” Kahn said.

Meanwhile, a private group of Truckee and Tahoe individuals have been visiting a number of cancer facilities throughout California, as well as one in Montana to “get a feeling for what we [the hospital] might be able to do,” Kahn said.

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“The process is ongoing,” Kahn said. “We want to get educated so when we can spend the taxpayers money, we’re able to do it in a proper way.”

Similarly, the Citizens Oversight Committee ” a requirement of the bond measure and aftereffect of the district’s last big capital project which was over-budget by $16 million ” has been busy planning concepts and educating themselves on how best to communicate with taxpayers, said Randy Hill, chairman and recently retired president of the Tahoe Forest Hospital Foundation.

The committee is responsible for keeping the public informed about how the bond is being spent and ensuring that no funds are spent on unrelated projects, Hill said.

“There is a great deal to be learned about the business of running a hospital from financing to construction to policies,” Hill said.

Because the committee will play an integral role by auditing expenditure and communicating with the public, Hill said it is important for the committee members to understand their function.

“The tone and mood between the group is very positive,” Hill said. “Everybody clearly understands the gravity of their roles and the importance of ensuring taxpayers are well served and well represented.”