Commissioners asks provider to review Tonopah hospital agreement

County officials on Tuesday postponed entering into professional service agreement between the county and Renown Health for the troubled Nye Regional Medical Center, giving the provider additional time to review the document.

Both sides have been trying to perfect the language of the agreement for the last four months, but Renown Health counsel hasn’t had an opportunity to review the document, Nye County commissioners said at the meeting on Tuesday.

Commissioners gave additional time to Renown Health counsel to review the document and said they would call a special meeting following the review.

The review by Renown comes as questions by the state about the legality of using the hospital tax district the for the contract arose last week. The Nevada Department of Taxation questioned whether hospital tax district revenues can be used for the Renown contract since the services provided would not fit the definition of a hospital under state law.

Terry Rubald, deputy executive director for the Nevada Department of Taxation, said during a meeting last week in Carson City and Las Vegas that it does not appear that Renown Health is going to offer services compatible with providing the full hospital, as they will not provide the pharmacy, laboratory or dietary services that are required by statute.

Unlike a traditional hospital, Renown Medical Group will provide professional primary and urgent care services that will consist of telemedicine, primary care providers, physicians and urgent care.

The postponement frustrated Larry Trilops, senior vice president and CEO of network development of Renown Health, who came to Tonopah to sign the document with Nye County commissioners.

“I would like to have whoever I need from the Nye County side available by phone that we can make all these changes and get them done all at one time which I thought we had done already,” Trilops said. “And (I) would like to get this wrapped up and done, that we do that. The back and forth of the emails doesn’t solve it. I came down last night thinking everything was great, we are good to go and I just find this out when I get here.”

The agreement with Renown will also be contingent upon the final review and determination by the Department of Taxation, officials said. Officials also removed the statement that said there has to be an attorney general’s opinion.

Nye County Commissioner Lorinda Wichman last week said that she had planned to “champion through” a new health care model for Tonopah despite questions raised by the Department of Taxation committee about the legality of using hospital tax district revenues for the provider’s contract.

“We need to politically persuade the Department of Taxation that they are being given the wrong information. That this is absolutely what hospital district taxes are used for, to provide medical services,” Wichman said at the commissioners’ meeting on Tuesday.

Tonopah continues to grapple with the lack of medical services amid the delay. Commissioners have previously aimed to renew medical services in Tonopah by March.

Contact reporter Daria Sokolova at On TwitterL @dariasokolova77