If fortune has smiled upon you and never sent you racing to a hospital in the dead of night, consider yourself lucky. Whether for yourself or a loved one, a health emergency is easily one of the most traumatic and panic-filled moments we endure as humans. Having a quality hospital nearby is a godsend.
In the U.S., perhaps in adherence to Newton’s law of motion (for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction), health care’s vital importance has become counterbalanced with an infuriating industry that has led to bankruptcy for people who actually have health insurance, and a system that’s so complex, it’s virtually incomprehensible to the layperson. The Supreme Court’s recent stamp of approval for “Obamacare” throws even more questions into the ring.
Local residents founded the Tahoe Forest Hospital in 1949 as a special district, seeking access to quality health care within a reachable distance. Today, TFH is the only health care facility in a 50-mile radius, and serves approximately 40,000 residents and up to 30,000 tourists during peak periods. It goes without saying that the district is incredibly important and vital to the local community.
As the region’s largest employer (providing work for approximately 700 employees and with an operating budget exceeding $100 million), the hospital district has a Herculean responsibility — to the serve the public in matters of extremely personal nature in an industry that is fraught with difficulties.
The district’s staff and publicly elected board of directors have been doing a remarkable job. The hospital’s quality of care is nationally recognized, the district is financially solvent, nurses consider it a prized hospital to work for, and this month, the district opens a state-of-the-art cancer center in the little town of Truckee.
With tremendous public responsibility comes the prerequisite of public scrutiny. When a $32 million cancer center is built during a time when many residents are having trouble paying their bills, and when the CEO makes a shade more than the president of the United States, Moonshine Ink feels the responsibility to pull out the journalistic microscope. We seek to do so with sensitivity and integrity, knowing it is our duty to the community. The report by David Bunker was months in the making. We hope you will take the time to consider the findings and make your own informed decisions.