Information about Tahoe Forest Health System general obligation bonds, campus improvements and hospital administration
If you have questions about the hospital, we’d love to talk to you. Your feedback is important to us. Just call or e-mail Ted Owens, Director of Community Development,
at (530) 582-6551 or email@example.com
Why was the community asked to support the Measure C General Obligation bond? Was there really a need for a new Cancer Center, Emergency Department, Women and Family Center (OB) and Long Term Care Center?
California hospitals were mandated by the state to upgrade their facilities and be seismically compliant after the massive destruction caused by the Northridge earthquake in southern California. Because these mandated seismic upgrades could not be financed solely by hospital operational funds, a community survey was used to gauge interest in supporting the hospital through a General Obligation (GO) bond. The survey was also used to determine interest in other local healthcare improvements. The survey showed support for the seismic issue, as well as four other healthcare priorities:
- Upgrade and expand the Emergency Department to maintain life-saving care
- Keep maternity and women’s health services available to ensure expectant mothers wouldn’t have to travel to Reno to deliver babies
- Expand and upgrade the Cancer Center to ensure patients receive quality cancer treatment close to home
- Modernize and improve the Long Term Care Center facility for better efficiency and patient comfort
What is the timing of the state-mandated seismic requirement?
The state-mandated legislation for hospitals (SB 1953) is to become seismically compliant by January 1, 2013. All hospitals, including Tahoe Forest Hospital, have an obligation to assure seismic compliance. Additional legislation (HAZUS) to the seismic laws granted relief to some hospitals to qualify for variances to the seismic compliance deadlines. Tahoe Forest Hospital’s older buildings do not qualify for these variances and are still required to be updated. Recent legislation (SB90) has modified the timing for qualified facilities to become compliant. Tahoe Forest Hospital applied for an extension until January 1, 2015, in order to align with the schedule for the hospital’s overall building program under the Facilities Development Plan.
How much was the bond and who oversees it?
The community voted by 72% majority for the $98.5 million bond. The bond is used only for projects authorized in the bond measure, including paying down $3 million in long-term debt. A community-based Citizens Oversight Committee (COC) was voluntarily appointed by the hospital to ensure the community was informed and that expectations of the bond were met. The COC monitors every detail of bond expenses. Read a full report of their work.
Why was the Measure C bond tax rate just increased?
General Obligation bonds are paid by a property tax assessment from private property owners in our district. This tax is based on assessed home values. The tax dollars are used to repay GO bond principle and interest. During the Measure C Campaign, the hospital calculated an estimated tax rate of $18.76 per $100,000 of assessed home value. This estimate was based on historical growth patterns of property values provided by Placer and Nevada counties. Unfortunately, the recession and housing market crisis decreased home values in every community in the United States. The hospital had to increase the rate by $11.91 per $100,000 assessed home value in order to cover the GO bond principle and interest for 2012/2013.
What will my tax be raised to? Will it keep going up?
The GO bonds have been fully issued to the Hospital District. Based on assessed property values provided by Placer and Nevada Counties, the GO bond rate will now be $30.67 per $100,000 of assessed property value. Moving forward, assessed property values may increase or decline based on economic and market conditions. Based on conservative estimates, the rate should not increase beyond $38 per $100,000 of assessed value over the next 25 years.
How does the hospital set administrative salaries and rules about hiring family members?
Compensation practices at Tahoe Forest Hospital are similar to other hospitals in California and the nation. Salary ranges are based on surveys from the California Hospital Association, using comparable facilities with a similar number of employees, hospital operating expenses, and job classifications. Salary ranges for administrative positions are set at the mid-level for experienced individuals.
Hiring qualified individuals who are related to others in the organization must not present a conflict of interest. The hiring of relatives is not an uncommon practice, especially in small communities, due to the specialized nature of health care. Family members cannot be involved in performance evaluations or other personnel-related activities.
How much money does the Hospital Foundation raise? Is it efficient?
In the past two years, the Tahoe Forest Health System (TFHS) Foundation raised at total of $2,600,395 ($1,326,816 for fiscal year 2010/11, and $1,273,578 for fiscal year 2011/12) from general donations, pledges, planned gifts, endowments, donor-directed funds including special events, and restricted funds. The Association for Healthcare Philanthropy reports that comparable hospitals raise an average of $468,500 each year. This is well below the net amount raised by TFHS Foundation. In addition, 100% of every dollar raised by the TFHS Foundation goes directly to the program determined by the donor. This is because the Hospital District provides operating support for Foundation expenses. Besides fundraising, the Foundation office is responsible for many aspects of community development, including health system related events, program and community partnership development, volunteer recruitment and retention, and donor stewardship.
Why should the community care about these issues?
Tahoe Forest Health System is an important and valuable asset that offers community benefit by being one of the nation’s top 100 critical access hospitals and top 20 hospitals for patient satisfaction, and by offering a diverse range of quality services not typically found in a rural community. The Health System is a key economic driver for the community. Our vision is to be the best mountain community health system in the nation, and we work hard every day to achieve that goal.
Other than being a large employer in the community, we have a responsibility and supporting role for economic development and vitality. Having access to high quality health care is a benefit to those invested in this community, including retirees, homeowners, young families with children, and tourists visiting the area.
Our employees and physicians are passionate about providing the very best health care possible. By far, our greatest accomplishment is the privilege to serve the citizens of Truckee, Incline Village, North Lake Tahoe, Donner Summit, and the Sierra Valley, and it’s why we continually strive to improve our offerings to you.
If you have questions about the hospital, we’d love to talk to you. Your feedback is important to us.
Just call or e-mail Ted Owens, Director of Community Development, at (530) 582-6551 or firstname.lastname@example.org