Dayton hospital construction pushed back by two years

Dayton residents will have to wait another two and a half years before they have a hospital in their hometown. But when it comes, it'll be bigger and more expensive.

Carson Tahoe Dayton Hospital is a planned two-story building expected to cost $20.6 million, which is $7.9 million more and 36 percent larger than what it reported to the state in May 2005. Plans to open the hospital with 15 beds have not changed.

A projection last year had the hospital, at 2450 Highway 50 East, completed by December. That has been pushed back two years to Dec. 31, 2008, according to certificate of need application changes filed with the state in March.

Those aren't the only things that have changed.

Carson Tahoe Regional Healthcare, which operates the $132 million Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center in North Carson City, is looking to take on a financier to build the hospital on 10 acres owned by the healthcare system. It had proposed to finance the project itself.

The delay is not related to recent layoffs and cost-cutting reorganization at the Carson City medical center, according to Ed Epperson, healthcare president and chief executive officer.

When the 33,777-square-foot hospital opens, it plans to pay rent to the developer with an option of purchasing the building during the lease term or at the end, according to a letter this month from Carson Tahoe, which is filed with the state.

Epperson said dramatic growth predicted in Lyon County was one reason for enlarging the building plan.

"Lyon is the second fastest growing county in the country," he said. "It will someday be as large as Carson City."

The healthcare system will have to disclose financing details to the Department of Health and Human Services, but the paperwork is not due to the state until July 5, said Mike Willden, director of the Department of Health and Human Resources.

"The state wants to know specifically what type of development agreement and the percentages of ownership," Willden said.

If there is a change in ownership of the Dayton hospital or land that could mean the certificate of need application would have to be thrown out and reapplied for, he said. A certificate of need is required by Nevada law for any medical facility costing more than $2 million. Applying for this state process costs about $9,500 and takes lots of time. Several public hearings and workshops are required.

The Dayton hospital could have 65 total beds with the revised square-footage plans, according to a letter from the state.

Building the space in advance for expected growth is one method hospitals use to streamline the certificate of need process.

"This is almost the same concept Carson Valley Medical Center used," Willden said. "If you build something big enough and then remodel in the future you may not have to go through all the certificate of need process."

Hospital CEO Epperson said opening the Dayton hospital in 2008 is a smart move for the regional medical center.

"We expect it will take some patients away from the main hospital (Carson Tahoe), which is why we're projecting it out to three years," he said.

• Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at or 881-1212.


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