Tahoe Forest Hospital District: Bob Schapper out as CEO (updated)
EDITOR’S NOTE: On Thursday, Nevada County District Attorney Clifford Newell said his office is looking into issues brought to its attention by several resident complaints.
Newell wouldn’t elaborate when questioned on those issues, when the DA office started its probe, or if the complaints relate to Tahoe Forest Hospital District or CEO Bob Schapper.
“I won’t speak further on details, as it’s inappropriate for me to do so,” he said.
TRUCKEE, Calif. — The Tahoe Forest Hospital District board of directors has decided to not renew CEO Bob Schapper’s employment contract.
The district made the announcement Wednesday morning, following a special board meeting Tuesday afternoon in Truckee, where Schapper’s performance and employment was discussed in closed session.
“It was a mutually agreed-upon decision by Bob and all board members, felt to be in the best interest of the health care district,” board chair Karen Sessler said in a Wednesday phone interview.
When asked if the move had anything to do with events in recent months in terms of perceived conflict of interest concerns, or from community feedback, Paige Nebeker Thomason, district director of marketing and communications, said the district is not commenting beyond that the decision was made in its best interest.
Further, regarding an interview request with Schapper to comment on the decision, Thomason said the district has released all the information it intends to at this time.
In moving forward, the board is proposing Chief Operating Officer Virginia Razo, who’s been a district employee since July 1996 and holds doctorates in pharmacy and health services administration, assume the role of interim CEO starting Jan. 28.
At that point, Schapper would provide consulting support, as requested, to district leadership until his current contract expires June 30 to ensure “a smooth transition,” Sessler said.
Recruitment of a new district CEO would begin in July, according to TFHD.
Sessler stressed during Wednesday’s interview these next steps are just proposals and will be discussed in open session at the Jan. 27 board meeting.
“We are interested in having an open discussion on this topic with community members…” she said in a statement. “We are open and receptive to any public comment about how these decisions can best serve the district, the community, and our valued physicians and employees.”
Schapper has been CEO at Tahoe Forest since October 2002.
The district credits him with creating an academic affiliation with UC Davis Health System, advancing clinical quality to levels of national recognition, implementing diagnostic imaging technology to levels rare for a rural community, and facilitating the modernization of the physical facility through improvements outlined in the Measure C general obligation bond.
“We recognize and appreciate Mr. Schapper’s leadership over the past 12 years,” Sessler said in a statement. “He created a vision of excellence that transformed Tahoe Forest Health System to have one of the best mountain community hospitals in the nation.”
Schapper’s contract renewal first appeared before the board at its Sept. 23, 2014, meeting, when it was decided any negotiations would be deferred until the new board was seated after the 2014 election.
The topic was revisited at the Dec. 16, 2014, and Jan. 8 and Tuesday, Jan. 13, board meetings.
“The board has devoted a lot of time to this decision in our own thoughts, and when we were able to come together,” Sessler said Wednesday.
Discussions about Schapper’s contract renewal came after media reports last July raised potential conflict of interest issues involving him and potential links with his wife’s medical company.
In August, the board voted 4-1 to take no further action regarding the matter, after a multi-month internal investigation.
The decision was reportedly based on a conclusion from an board-hired independent investigator who found insufficient evidence that Schapper violated California conflict of interest law.
Numerous attempts over the past several months by the Sierra Sun and North Lake Tahoe Bonanza to interview Schapper about the investigation, his contract and his future with the district have been denied.
In 2013, Schapper received $558,882.86 in compensation, according to the district. Of that, $404,227.20 was base pay, with the rest in assorted benefits, incentives, deferred compensation and a vehicle allowance.
As for severance terms for Schapper, that will be discussed in closed session at the Jan. 27 meeting, Thomason said.
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