Opinion: Market share plummets for Tahoe Forest hospital business | SierraSun.com

Opinion: Market share plummets for Tahoe Forest hospital business

Can our hospital survive? After a $96 million bond measure, is our hospital heading for bankruptcy? It seems that more people are heading to other hospitals!

Recently, Standard and Poor’s Ratings Services (S&P) revised its financial outlook for Tahoe Forest Hospital to “negative” from “stable.” In the last issue of “Tahoe Forest Health System” Magazine, it was reported that 77 percent of residents of Truckee and 80.5 percent of North Lake Tahoe residents used TFHS services.

Now, S&P is reporting only 60 percent of our residents are using these services, a sharp tumble from mid 2014, perhaps indicating even more people have decided prices are finally too high at TFHS.

This drop in Tahoe Forest Hospital business is of major concern, but apparently not to all members of the hospital’s board of directors.

TFHS raised its prices 5 percent in February of 2014, then 5 percent again in August of 2014. It seems they have reached the tipping point where prudent patients are not willing to pay or to have their insurance companies pay these escalating prices.

Add to this the increasing number of people opting for high deductible, high co-pay health insurance policies. This is leading to more shopping, thus a significant cause in the plummeting market share for TFHS.

The hospital board needs to recognize these financial issues and change their business model to best serve their community with affordable hospital services.

This will take a new CEO who understands how to make this happen instead of being focused on serving the administration and the medical staff ahead of serving the community.

That is not likely to happen with the approved Recruitment Selection Advisory Committee, made up entirely of hospital staff and 2 affiliated doctors. Please let yourself be heard, write to your board members.

Gaylan Larson

Martis Valley, Tahoe Truckee Unified School District board member