A 15-bed acute care facility has opened in Gardnerville, the Carson Valley's first hospital in 80 years.
The $6 million addition to the Carson Valley Medical Center offers an alternative for patients who otherwise have had to travel to Carson City, Reno or South Lake Tahoe for overnight treatment.
Administrator Gerry Conley said major surgeries or childbirth services won't be available, but patients with problems such as respiratory diseases, influenza, congestive heart failure or coronary artery disease can be helped as long as they don't need to stay more than four days.
The facility also will be able to assist those who need treatment for wounds. Highway accident victims requiring observation overnight also are potential patients, officials said.
"Steady growth in Douglas County has created a demand for these types of health services. We expect to be very busy," Conley said Monday.
Under new federal Medicare regulations, the critical access hospital will be able to expand to 25 beds if necessary.
The medical center, which offers outpatient surgery, opened in 1994 and expanded in 1996. The 62,000-square-foot center has been owned jointly by Reno-based Washoe Health System and South Lake Tahoe-based Barton Health System since November 2000.
Carson Valley's first hospital opened in Gardnerville in 1914 and closed 10 years later.