Extended assessment results in clear direction for health system expansion

Furthering its mission of improving community health and well-being, Barton Health is moving forward with its Barton Health Regional Expansion, which will broaden regional medical services. A clear direction has emerged for the expansion, one that will guarantee Barton can best meet the health needs of our community, move efficiently, and ensure the health system’s long-term viability—Barton Health will develop plans for a new, Nevada-based hospital and a robust outpatient presence on both the California and Nevada campuses.

“We are excited to receive this direction from the Board of Directors, securing Barton’s future as Lake Tahoe’s community health partner,” said Dr. Clint Purvance, President and CEO of Barton Health. “The future of healthcare is complex and changing, and we have a responsibility to remain viable and capable of providing care to this community for another 60 years, which is why we are developing plans for the Barton Regional Expansion.”

Throughout the project, Barton has been guided by input from community surveys, stakeholders, partner agencies, and physician and staff teams, along with data from the triennial Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA), market trends, current health data, state regulations, and CA 2030 seismic requirements for healthcare facilities.

After extended assessment, it became clear that California’s 2030 seismic standard — a mandate requiring California hospitals to meet new structural criteria—will require Barton Health to build a new hospital as the current, aging infrastructure will not meet the requirements.

“Rebuilding and retrofitting the current hospital facility to meet our needs and regulations would require a complex and financially-prohibitive staging and moving of patient care services while the project is constructed in multiple, years-long phases,” said Purvance. “Barton is fortunate to carry little debt and have campuses in both California and Nevada, resulting in several scenarios for consideration. Fiscal responsibility demanded we assess both campus locations to understand cost, timelines, patient care disruption, and growth opportunities in each location to
best meet the needs of the future.”

In addition, a purposeful shift in continued decrease of inpatient volume and increase to outpatient services is occurring, due to a national focus on proactive health management through annual wellness visits, preventative screenings, key relationships with primary care offices, chronic care navigators, and population health teams. Rural hospitals continue to trend away from high inpatient bed counts to increased supportive outpatient services such as home health and hospice, alongside primary care. A new Nevada-based hospital will allow Barton to reassign services in each location to best meet the shifting needs of our population.

After nearly a year of analysis, consideration and input, Barton’s board of directors voted on November 17 to develop in-depth plans to build a new hospital in Nevada, which, when completed, will replace the current acute care facility in South Lake Tahoe. In addition to a Nevada-based hospital, Barton will continue to offer a robust outpatient presence on both the South Lake Tahoe and Stateline campuses.

With this directional approval, the due diligence stage of project planning can commence including scope, costs, permitting, timing, and any additional work with regulatory agencies. After which, the Board will again review the plan and vote on final project approval, likely by Q4

For more information, visit BartonHealth.org/Expansion.