Musical employment chairs at Barton Health

By Kathryn Reed

On the one hand Barton Health is struggling because the number of patients is declining. On the other hand based on the agency’s 2012 tax return the top 12 people in the organization collectively had annual salaries of more than $3.2 million, with CEO John Williams taking in nearly $600,000.

Those figures don’t include benefits or bonuses. And while bonuses were suspended for some in 2012, they were back in vogue in 2013.

Barton Memorial Hospital's numbers continue to decline. Photo/LTN

Barton Memorial Hospital’s numbers continue to decline. Photo/LTN

However, not now and not when Barton laid people off a few years ago did upper management take a pay cut. For someone like Leanne Kankel, vice president of human resources who is No. 6 on the 2012 pay scale at $250,063 a year, she also gets free health insurance because her husband is a retired South Lake Tahoe firefighter.

While substantive salaries and perks are being handed out, so are pink slips. Several positions between Tahoe Medical Group and the Community Health Center have been eliminated. But before people were let go they first had to apply for their jobs. Those not selected were shown the door.

To compound the pain of being out of work some of their jobs have been handed to people from outside the area. They were not given reasons for why they are no longer employed and Barton isn’t telling Lake Tahoe News.

Three of the people let go at the health center were registered nurses. Two RNs kept their jobs. The difference between those who got to stay is they have a bachelor’s degree, are younger and are lower down on the pay scale. Those let go were not offered the opportunity to return to school to get their degree.

People have already been hired to replace them; some are RNs, some are medical assistants.

“We have hired registered nurses who fit a patient-centered care management model,” Monica Sciuto, Barton spokeswoman, told Lake Tahoe News.

Why the RNs who were let go couldn’t fit that model isn’t known.

“This was not in an effort to save costs, but rather to put the correct level of expertise into positions to fit the needs of our patients,” Sciuto said of the layoffs.

But that in part contradicts a letter Williams sent to staff on Jan. 6. He went through a litany of concerns regarding decreased patient admissions (it’s at 78 percent of the volume compared to 1998) as well as a drop in births – 57.7 percent from 1998 to 2012.

CEO John Williams approves layoffs but has never taken a pay cut. He makes more than a half million dollars. Photo/Provided

CEO John Williams approves layoffs, but has never taken a pay cut. He makes more than a half million dollars. Photo/Provided

“In addition, due to the Affordable Care Act we anticipate payment for services will decrease across the board from our government and private payers,” Williams wrote. “To address these shifts, Barton department heads and the executive team will be taking a closer look at how we run our organization.”

Novia Strategies has been hired at an undisclosed cost to “objectively evaluate how we do business and where we can be more efficient,” the PR department said.

Changes for employees

Hours for the janitorial crew have also been cut. Barton would not talk about these changes.

Nurses who were used to working 10- or 12-hour shifts now have to work five eight-hour shifts, at least at the community center.

Barton would not release the number of people who have been laid off, the number of new hires or the job titles of the people. Many of the workers had been with Barton a decade or longer.

Others have told Lake Tahoe News that in addition to the three RNs being let go, seven medical assistants, and one receptionist were released. Some of those positions, though, have been filled.

From office employees at the health clinic not must be medical assistants. Photo/LTN file

Front office employees at the health clinic now must be medical assistants. Photo/LTN file

Now all office staff must at least be a medical assistant. This means front desk people will be able to give shots, wound care and assist doctors.

With Barton owning most of the doctors’ groups in the area, it means those professionals work for the health care system. They don’t have a say in who works in their office, who is hired, who is fired.

“They changed the receptionist to a different receptionist and laid off the one I had. I wasn’t consulted,” Ronald Roth, a physician with Tahoe Medical Group, told Lake Tahoe News. “It was a little disruptive to have spontaneous changes without consultation.”

Other doctors are reluctant to talk on the record because of the possibility of retribution. Tahoe Carson Valley Medical Group, which includes 28 doctors, just renewed its contract with Barton. Tahoe Orthopedics and Sports Medicine is in contract negotiations.

Doctors are being evaluated and paid based on productivity. How productivity is evaluated is not being made public.

Going forward

Some of the people who are now in the unemployment line who spoke with Lake Tahoe News said what they fear most is the level of care patients will receive.

Barton says there is no reason to be worried.

“(It’s) so they can provide more clinical knowledge and facilitate the ongoing care of patients. Barton’s front desk staff completed Barton University’s accredited National Center for Competency Testing program to qualify to become medical assistants,” the PR folks said.

Barton has changed how it recruits for employees. The “career website” is being revamped. In Williams’ letter he asked for “individual written testimonials on why you enjoy working for Barton and what in particular you find rewarding about your job.”

Some who were let go say Barton is all about the positive, wanting to put a Disney-esque spin on things instead of listening to concerns.

“Though change can be challenging, we see this as an opportunity to create a new environment that holds a brighter, financially sustainable future at Barton. Barton is committed to coming to thoughtful, well informed solutions,” Williams wrote to employees.

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Comments (89)
  1. scadmin says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    The pay scale for upper management at Barton is extraordinarily high for an organization of its size, in a community with our population. Most medical procedures that I’ve had done in Nevada have cost less than half of what the Barton network of care would have charged, and perhaps that is because of the high pay structure. It would be interesting to see, for example, what Carson Tahoe pays for similar positions.

  2. CJ McCoy says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    $600 grand for the CEO to run a hospital in SL Tahoe…

    Must be a non profit operation…

    What a scam.

  3. John says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    My preference for all of my medical care is in the Carson Tahoe network. The quality of care is higher and the cost at Barton are much much higher. This article reinforces my choice is the right one for me.

  4. dumbfounded says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    If I made over half a million a year, I would have a pretty “positive” attitude as well…

  5. Kody says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    Time to view Barton for what it’s become – corporate.

  6. KC says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    My neighbor was Dr. Roth’s receptionist and was a very good and loyal employee. It’s a shame that Dr. Roth was not consulted regarding the termination of his receptionist. Barton claims revenues are down, but they have been able to purchase millions of dollars of properties surronding the hospital in the last six years. The prices Barton charges is outrageous. You can have lab work and x-rays done in Carson City for a third of the price Barton charges. Barton will be driving more locals to seek health care in Carson Valley because of their high costs. Barton has no loyalties to its employees and in return the employees will have no loyalties to Barton and it will show in the quality of the care patients receive. Shame on you Barton!

  7. CJ McCoy says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    Corporate … what does that mean? There are lots of different types of corporations. To say they are corporate is about as informative as to say the sky is blue.

    Barton is a not-for-profit — in a for profit situation they would be run much better and I dare say at a more competitive salary. One that was tied to performance.

    Not in today’s world though… this $600 thousand dollar base salary is just part of the Not For Profit mentality of today’s California… it is not based on results, it is based largely on Bureaucratic Politics.

  8. sickandtired says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    I wholeheartedly agree with you all, and could tell stories about the Barton Health oompany. With all the money my husband and I have paid to them over 22 years, we should own it!

  9. mrs.t says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    I’m glad Kae has exposed the outrageous compensation that Barton’s management team receives, especially in the context of recent and past layoffs. Barton’s prices are obscenely high, managment could give a rat’s a#* about the employees or the community. They spend tens if not hundreds of thousands on consultants and programs like the Disney Way – really, you need to spend all that money to learn what any kindergarten teacher can tell you? Be nice and treat others like you want to be treated!
    I heard from friends that work at Barton that executives from Sutter have been poking around. Is Barton trying to sell out? And if they do who gets the money? There’s another topic for you to investigate Kae!

  10. CJ McCoy says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    the Not-for-Profit mentality is undermining the competitive advantages that come with free market competition.

    A simple economic principle a grade schooler could understand.

  11. observer says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    Thank you Kae, for shining a light on Barton. It is not rare in this community to find people (and I am one) who have been badly treated as a patient, misdiagnosed, angrily treated by a staff member for asking a question etc the list is a long one. There are some true horror stories.

    The cost factor alone at Barton is enough to cause me and my family to go somewhere, anywhere else for our care.

    I look forward to seeing further illumination of the reality of Barton in the near future. It is part of the “GOOD OLD BOY” network responsible for so much of the idiocy and bad decisions South Lake Tahoe is renowned for. The Hole and Barton do not lie too far apart.

  12. hikerchick says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    I have heard several stories from friends about how much more any given service costs at Barton compared with what one would pay at the hospital in Carson City. It seems that these stories have increased since Dr. Kobalter left town after apparently being unable to work out reasonable compensation with Barton. Dr. Kobalter was a widely respected and excellent ob/gyn and I think his departure changed where local women seek services and deliver their babies. If deliveries are down, the loss of Dr. K could be one of the reasons. I hope the orthopedic people think carefully about the negotiations they face. They are excellent now but if they are squeezed to become more “efficient” they may lose patients too.

  13. One Who Knows Better says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    What an incredible piece of sensationalized, biased, one sided reporting

  14. Theotherside says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    What you all fail to remember is Barton is a business and as such needs to make a margin in order to continue to provide healthcare to our community. Yes, sometimes hard decisions have to be made and people have to be let go – but had all sides of this story been explored you would find that the changes were made to benefit the patient. They are the real heroes here and keeping someone in a job where clearly a better choice could be made is not a rational decision. Barton doesn’t hire people because they live here – they hire the most qualified people with the best “Disney-esque” attitude for the job!

    In regards to cost, most of the other businesses you mentioned are not providing care to EVERYONE in our/their community regardless of their ability to pay (or not)…Barton takes all comers. We are a COMMUNITY hospital therefore we are dedicated to providing care to everyone.

    If we were a for-profit business as noted above by CJ we would be far more focused on our bottom line and we would not provide FREE or subsidized care. People would be let go as the patient census waned and far less emphasis would be placed on quality and experience of care. If you think that is the better way to run it you should talk to people who frequent for-profit hospitals and see how they feel about the care they receive.

    Regarding quality – Barton’s quality scores are through the roof – they far exceed or meet the standards of other providers in the area. You should do your research before misrepresenting facts.

    The executive team’s salaries are not out of line with salaries of others at similarly sized institutions….and that comment about Leanne Kankel – what was that? talk about random muck raking at its finest.

    What should be said here is South Lake Tahoe is lucky to have such a quality community hospital providing services to our community. Barton is the largest employer in our town – can you imagine what would happen without it? Maybe instead of throwing stones you should appreciate what you have!

  15. A.B. says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    Nothing wrong with public sector compensation, right libs?

  16. Your kidding says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    Carson City pays just as much for there CEO and staff it’s capitalism at it’s best
    Your right what a SCAM

  17. Arod says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    Barton is not serving the community. Patient numbers are down I suspect because of the ridiculously high costs. I was shopping for lab work yesterday, a CBC costs $30.00 at Cash Clinical, $31.00 at Lab Corp and an outrageous $212.18 at Barton. That and the fact they act as a clearing house for patients ( no trauma center) sends folks flying off the hill for reasonably healthcare.

  18. Arod says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    We need a single payer system. Medical care should not be driven by profit. Full expansion of Medicare is what is needed.

  19. CJ McCoy says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    YK, It is not capitalism.

    Where did you get schooled? California?

    It is a government controlled not-for-profit. You can’t get much further away from capitalism than that.

    WOW, today people don’t even know the essence of “free market capitalism”. It is no wonder that America is crashing, we are among the most ignorant generations.

    Arod, Really – Socialism? Government controlled health care? You think that is the answer, WHEN HAS THAT EVER WORKED?


  20. cheepseats says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    While interesting and obviously engaging, this story reads more like a hit piece (sour grapes) than a truly informational review. From a journalistic perspective it’s an utter joke. And the otherwise accomplished writer certainly knows better.
    More fascinating to me is the apparent accumulation of property being done by Barton. And I seem to recall something in the Y-area Masterplan discussion recently regarding a possible large medical campus, seemingly in that neighborhood. What’s the scoop with that situation?

  21. cosa pescado says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    ‘Government controlled health care? You think that is the answer, WHEN HAS THAT EVER WORKED? ‘

    Well in our system we pay significantly more and get significantly less. Everyone with a single payer option is more efficient and healthier. We are the worst.

  22. LChristine says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    I am happy to have a local hospital where I can take my son quickly during his asthma attacks. People can bag on Barton…but I have had good experiences there. We get into the ER quickly, and have good care. I had my baby there – good experience. I’ve had emergency surgery – good experience. Costs may be higher, but Barton isn’t a cash lab open 9am-2pm. And they provide service to anyone, regardless if they can pay. When people don’t pay for their care, costs go up for everyone else.

  23. CJ McCoy says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    Again no examples of “single payer” success just some book led pigeon (thing fish aka cosa pestado) telling us what to do. FYI – Pigeon cosa de fish don’t know jack.

    40 plus years of excessive government interference, incompetence and cronyness in the market is what has hurt our health care system, both the hospitals and insurance.

    Government should regulate markets, not participate in them. Participation leads to “crony capitalism” like in a third world marxist country, that is what the liberals are doing to us.

    What we need is more insurance company and hospital competition and less incompetent government bureaucrats telling us what to do.

  24. A.B. says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    Cuba has a single payer system; perhaps you should try it out fish.

  25. go figure says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    wow, ive been off line for a few weeks and the rag is still the same from CJ
    some things never change…

  26. rock4tahoe says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    Ok. Before we really get off the rails with Cuba, Japan and Canadian health care comparisons. The average Salary for a Independent Health System CEO in America is $750k with average total compensation of $944k per year. A Hospital CEO in America makes about $422k or total compensation of $480k per year.

    So, now CJ and AB can keep attacking the CEO’s compensation.

    Simple answer is population in South Lake is dropping so of course patients number are dropping. Stateline Casinos traded in real Card dealers for computer screens. Oh well.

  27. rock4tahoe says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    Oh and CJ. Japan offers single payer 70/30 health care and has the 2nd best life expectancy on the planet… USA ranks 35th. I would call that a success. But, you don’t really care about “examples” or comparisons do you?

  28. cosa pescado says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    CJ the numbers are on my side.
    Look up what we spend per capita, and as % GDP. And look up every other country.
    Then compare how we rank in the most common metrics.
    Report back to us with your findings.

    OK I did your homework for you. Check it out. I know how much you pride yourself in being a ‘good source of information’.

    efficiency rankings:
    scroll down to the bottom to find the USA

  29. hikerchick says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    I do have to say that in the past five years our family has used Barton for emergency services and scheduled procedures a few times and have been completely satisfied each visit. I know it was expensive but it was good. I hope the staffing cuts don’t change the level of service.

  30. CJ McCoy says - Posted: March 6, 2014


    As a mono culture comparing mortality rates between Japan and the USA is like comparing apples to oranges. Very poor analogy so poor in fact you’d probably get an F if you were in college writing a paper using that comparison.

    As for their health care, the 70/30 concept is good.

    It is not what Obama care offers us at all. That is one of the conservative suggestions that has been ignored and here you are pointing to it to support your argument… can you say hypocrite?

    The Japan single payer system is basically that the government will pay 70% of the cost with the patient accepting responsibility for 30% of these costs.

    This is similar to what we use to have in America back in the 50, 60s, and 70s before the government got involved, though it was more common to find an 80/20 split.

    BUT OUR GOVERNMENT GOT RID OF MOST OF THOSE OPTIONS and forced businesses instead primarily into HMOs with fixed copay rates that offer little in the way of cost control.

    However you have supported a conservative argument many of us have made for years, the return of cost sharing as a means of coast control.

    Thanks for offering it as suggestion.

  31. WQ says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    @Arod is right.
    “…a drop in births – 57.7 percent from 1998 to 2012.”
    That is not due to a drop in births in the community, but for arguably better (and more affordable!) care in Carson.

  32. M&M says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    Cash Clinical is owned by Diane Oliver, who is the pathologist at Barton. In order to offer lab work at a fair price for the uninsured or under-insured! The facility had to be opened out of Barton territory to avoid conflict of interest. I have been happy with the care provided to me while I was in the hospital,no complaints. However, the comment above from the other side saying keeping someone is a job where there is clearly a better choice has never been to Dr. Roth’s office. The woman greeted us by name, was always cheerful, made sure insurance information was updated so we would not have to fight with Barton billing as we have had to in the past.She took the time to be sure we understood what was going to happen before surgery, and had the knowledge to help according to doctor’s orders. She thought of us above herself in making it conveient for us to get to our appointments. She also helped with audiology testing, and helped my Mom with telemedicine in conjunction with Tahoe Forest Cancer Center. She also spoke a little Spanish and treated people right. What guarantee does Barton have someone else can do better and with more compassion? This was a mistake. We also heard that she was willing to go to classes and was not chosen. It seems some of the people chosen to become certified medical assistants were referral clerks and other receptionists that did not even have her background, but are friends of the managers. Some of those chosen only are going to keep their jobs. What makes them qualified? There is something bigger going on here than Barton wants to let on. The managers should sit in the trenches and see who truly makes things happen. They don’t have a clue.

  33. cosa pescado says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    “Very poor analogy so poor in fact you’d probably get an F if you were in college writing a paper using that comparison. ”
    Not at all. The numbers are cited, and legitimate. Your would have to prove the point that the differences in costs and results are better explained culturally. Which would be very hard to do, given the vast disparity between the numbers. Even if you could prove that there is a biological explanation for Japans greater life expectancy, all of the other numbers related to efficiency can’t be explained.
    The numbers are simply not on your side. Take Germany as a better comparison. They have similar problems with preventable disease, etc. And they are still much more efficient. Our system is unique, and our expense of 17% GDP is so far removed from everyone else that it is an outlier. No one even comes close to 15%. According to the numbers, our system is the worst in the world.

    You are no one to criticize someone as if they were submitting something on a college level. Because you plagiarized. You would fail an entire class for that, and a second offense would get you expelled. You are in no place to criticize anyone based on academic standards.

  34. rock4tahoe says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    Ok CJ. You don’t like comparing USA with Japan. Who do you prefer to compare with?

  35. M&M says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    With regard to Barton’s Disney-esque goals, the ones who scowl and seem to busy to help you, don’t even look up to say hello and are rude should be disciplined. With regard to a Doctor, yes we’d like good bedside manners, but when you’re in the hospital, you want the Doctor that is the smartest with the best record that is going to get you on your way to the best health possible for your situation. Mickey Mouse and Goofy can make you happy when you’re better. At least you get full value for the money you spend at Disneyland.

  36. Barton Employee says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    I am responding to this as a proud Barton employee who has been with Barton for over 15 years. I am disturbed by the apparent intent this article was written. It seems it was written to accomplish one thing and one thing only, to sling insults and blatant untruths towards members of the Executive Team and Directors, who I know personally and work with every single day.

    Yes, they are compensated well, but with that compensation comes a huge responsibility and pressure many of us could never understand unless we were in their shoes. Every single decision, good and bad are made with one thing in mind, to ensure Barton remains a viable institution for years to come so we can continue to provide excellent patient care for our community. If individuals are concerned about the high salary some of our Executive members and Directors receive, perhaps it will motivate you to continue your education, work hard and gain the years of experience which are basic requirements for these higher level positions!

    I have been a patient of Barton, my children were born here, and over the years myself, my children and members of my family have been a patient of Barton over the last 20 years. Each and every single time we have received excellent care and continue to receive excellent care. To go as far as write a statement that patient care will be compromised is a far fetched opinion that is not based on facts.

    I agree completely with “The Other Side”, well said on all accounts! I have been a fan of this website for quite some time, but this article has swayed my opinion and I am disapointed by the misrepresentation of this article. It appears to have been written for the purpose of slandering Barton.

  37. rock4tahoe says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    Cosa. At least CJ admits that Japan has a good Universal Health Care system in which everyone in Japan is required to have a health insurance plan, hospitals are non-profit, medical fees are regulated and co-pays are 10,20 or 30%. Do I dare say that is progress?

  38. cosa pescado says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    “Ok CJ. You don’t like comparing USA with Japan. Who do you prefer to compare with?”

    If cost and efficiency is really the most important thing, I suggest we take a look at the list of who spends the most (per capita or %GDP), and pick numbers 2 through 5.

  39. CJ McCoy says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    Japan’s health care system has very little in common with Obama Care and has little merit as a comparison. Japan has a good health care system mainly because the individuals are responsible for 30 % of their own costs. Not because the government acts as the insurance for the other 70 percent.

    This concept has been promulgated for inclusion in our system by conservatives for many years, a corner stone in fact in most of the conservative proposals. Thanks for bringing it up.

    HOWEVER REMEMBER – Japan’s system is nothing at all like what the democrats have delivered to Americans with Obama Care.

    As far as the other points, in America in the 60s and 70s we did have the greatest health system in the world, unfortunately since then the overstepping liberal government has become increasingly involved in our health care market and now it is among the worst systems.

    You can thank the liberals for that.

    Free markets void of government direct participation would again return us to having the best health system in the world.


    America’s great decline …

  40. rock4tahoe says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    Um CJ. Are we talking about the same Japan on this planet? Because there are a few of similarities to ACA. As far as your opinion that health care was better in the 60-70s, you are aware that even Teddy Roosevelt wanted to overhaul health care… in 1912 and Medicare was passed in 1965.


  41. CJ McCoy says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    What similarities? Please focus on comparable aspects that have merit.

    Be specific. You just saying so is a worthless read.

    What Teddy Roosevelt wanted to do in 1912 is irrelevant much like most of what you say.

    It wasn’t my opinion – In the 60 and 70 it was undisputed that we had the best health care system in the world.

  42. rock4tahoe says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    CJ. The Japanese government “requires” individuals to have health insurance. Cost of co-pay is dependent on family income.

    I am disputing your opinion of health care delivery in the 60′s and 70′s as being the best since obviously there were major problems for people over 65; hence Medicare was created.

  43. CJ McCoy says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    If you are disputing it, which country had a better system? That is what it take to dispute it not just your saying so. You have ZERO cred as far as I am concerned. Zero

    Japan has mandatory requirements for lots of things, they are after all a subservient society to there government. You may fit into that type of society but AMERICANS DO NOT. REAL AMERICANS AT LEAST.

  44. barf12 says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    My son and I had several procedures done in 2002 at Barton. I didn’t receive the bill until a YEAR later. I couldn’t figure out the bill, and the billing department at Barton couldn’t care less. I told them to —- off and got sued. The judge told me to offer far less than the demand and the case was settled. Do not believe ANY bill from Barton and argue with them down to the last penny.
    As to the compensation to upper management. We see daily headlines
    across the nation of obscene salaries/retirement benefits being paid to soulless individuals, be it police officers, firemen, mayors, hospital administrators, and on and on. They only need to stare in the mirror to see what is destroying our country

  45. cosa pescado says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    CJ, we have a framework to compare healthcare systems quantitatively.
    Why won’t you work within it?

    You are all hyperbolic rhetoric and zero substance.

  46. CJ McCoy says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    I can’t say which country we should compare our health system to because I think ours is now in a class by itself, at the bottom.

    My assertion that America had the best health care system in the 60s and 70s has been disputed. But no one disputes my assertion that it has been excessive government intervention and participation in the markets that is the cause.

    Amerika today is a crony capitalist system today that is doing tremendous damage to our society. Mega corporations colluding with government to create barriers of entry to competition. The impact on our health care system has been is disastrous.

  47. Joby says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    We are lucky to have the services provided by Barton in our small town that is still shrinking. Most people don’t take into account a Tahoe with no hospital. Most communities our size don’t have anywhere close to the services provided. Be thankful for what we have. If you don’t like it ask the ambulance to take you elsewhere during cardiac arrest. You likely wouldn’t survive the ride. Usually these days people are happy to ***** until it’s gone. Let’s hope that never happens.

  48. Your kidding says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    Hope you never run for any office your conservatism sucks

  49. Parker says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    The outrage with the Barton Compensation lies in the fact there’s a Barton Foundation that asks the Community to give to the hospital as though it’s some sort of charitable non-profit! Clearly, people are profiting at Barton!

    America’s Health Care System? Quite Flawed! That does not mean more government is the solution. Govt. involvement is what’s messed it up to begin with! Barton can charge so much because many tax-subsidized and tax-funded insurance plans will pay whatever bill is put in front of them!

  50. CJ McCoy says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    Last night I joined Congressman Tom McClintock’s monthly district conference call. I encourage anyone that is interested in knowing what the issues and details are to join in on the calls. Healthcare is often a big part of the discussion.

    You can also sign up to ask questions make suggestions and otherwise state your point of view. Tom is very accommodating and by no means is it just his supporters on the call.

    I encourage any of you that are truly serious about America’s future and want to become more informed with facts and details to sign up and participate in the calls. He is your Congressman and he talks to everyone that there is time for.

    Rudeness is not tolerated but otherwise he lets people say their piece.

  51. Kathy says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    Thank You Barton, for saving my life, YOUR THE BEST compare to Vegas Hospitals, I am glad I live in a small town, They dont rush you out , They take there time with you ,No rush,

  52. rock4tahoe says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    CJ. “Blah blah blah rant rant rant.” Whenever you run out of ideas, you reach for the same kindergarten antics.

    McClintock is a rude paycheck congressman.

  53. CJ McCoy says - Posted: March 6, 2014


  54. Concerned professional says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    Yes, our town is fortunate to have a hospital and caring doctors like we do. I have received great care in the past, but “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. When your quality scores are through the roof, continue don’t gamble on changing your workers. Correlating Disney to healthcare is absurd. ER docs, nurses and staff deal with life and death, bloody accidents, kids with a cold and pill seekers. Barton provides free care if needed because they have to treat at the ER.They are reimbursed by the State and Feds there and at the community clinic. People can apply for help from the Barton Foundation. It was stated in comments the executive team is compensated well due to responsibility and pressure. What about your trained professionals who have years of education and experience and continue to work hard? Their salaries are not excessive, they get down and dirty and have huge responsibilities and pressure. Stop making decisions both good and bad, just be fair to insure viability for years to come. The Costco volume theory would work. I am self employed with a high deductible and other than something catastrophic, I choose to have my testing at Great Basin and LabCorp in Carson City. I have heard many of your employees do the same. Economics 101. Clearly what you fail to realize is your customer base has choices and your popularity is declining. To Kathy, yes, Barton will save your life vs. the ambulance ride you may not survive. In a cardiac arrest Barton will treat you and get you on Careflight- CALSTAR to St. Mary’s or Renown, and the helicopter pad is a great asset in any rural area. Just as we are thankful to have Barton, Barton exec’s should be thankful for what they have or have had in their staff. Seems they are destroying a good thing in this community.

  55. Concerned local says - Posted: March 6, 2014

    There is no question that we need to have a hospital in South Lake Tahoe and I am personally grateful to have it here for my family. As we all know things are more expensive at the lake compared to the Carson Valley, so why wouldn’t we expect the prices for medical care to be higher as well. However, one does need to evaluate the quality of care. If medical staffing is reduced to cut costs, than there is the potential that patient’s care could be compromised. It’s not a matter of being “concerned about the high salaries that Executive members and directors receive” it’s about evaluating all areas including salaries of executive staff and to understand why their salaries are excessive and are not impacted by these cuts. From reading this article, it seems like staffing is being reduced to compensate for the decreased patient admissions, but what is really in question is why the Executive members are untouched. My main concern is the hospital or medical offices being understaffed. People in the community including myself are aware that staff is overworked and it is apparent when you walk into several medical offices. Personally, I have witnessed and overheard some comments made by staff of their frustrations as I am waiting for my child to be seen by their doctor. Studies have shown that errors made in hospitals occur more frequently when people are overworked or understaffed. I am voicing my opinion because I do not want my care or my families care comprised due to overworked staff, when clearly there are other costs that can be reduced. Barton really needs to evaluate if reducing staff is the right decision. Additionally, as a college graduate and a hard worker, I believe the salaries of the Executives are somewhat excessive and definitely should be evaluated. Just my two cents….

  56. cosa pescado says - Posted: March 7, 2014

    CJ: afraid of data.

  57. Frank says - Posted: March 7, 2014

    When facts are against you, attack the messenger. To the barton employees, attacking commenters and telling them to “go get an education and you too can make the money we make,” shame on you. If the salaries are true, then the barton board of directors needs to take a hard look at the decisions of Mr. Williams and ask themselves if paying a few people a lot is better than paying more people reasonably. Tearing apart the facts doesn’t change them. If Ms. Kankle is getting free medical insurance paid for by this local community of citizens, and works at Barton making that kind of money, then the salary is fair game. But what about the rest of the salaries? Does the finance director need to make a quarter million? I get comparing doctor salaries to other doctors (and what did they do compare to all in the country? ) but administration staff ? They should be compared to other local administration staff. Is Barton Board of directors suggesting they can only find good human resource managers and finance managers at a quarter million?
    The board of directors of Barton needs to get their heads out of the clouds and realize bringing the best of doctors isn’t going to stop the bleeding. Putting the community first may help. Then again, look at the Board…

    Of the few that aren’d MD’s , Ledbetter, Bradford, Schwarte, Scharer, it’s not like those folks will understand the income levels of our community.

    Excessive is excessive. Reasonable is reasonable. Fairly plain to see.

  58. Moral Hazard says - Posted: March 7, 2014

    Cj, having employer provided health care makes absolutely no sense and is a job killing and economically destructive. It ties people to jobs instead of going out and starting a business. It also limits business growth because employees are so expensive. Finally it divorces people from the act of purchasing health insurance. The auspicious start of our current system was a Revenue Ruling issued by an IRS employee that allowed employers to pay health coverage during WWII to side step wage controls. Well isn’t that a great way to plan a health system? This is the veritable cancer growing in our health system in the 1960′s and 1970′s you so admire.

  59. CJ McCoy says - Posted: March 7, 2014


    Agreed. If I recall the first employer plan was installed in Montgomery Wards during WW2. The reason was tied to wages controls set by government during the war.

    Your point of employer based plans was an issue when I joined the industry thirty years ago. Year after year after year the issues of freeing policies from employer based aggregation or at least giving individuals and private business owners the same tax benefits as employees get.

    BUT NO!


    However it is irrelevant to my statement that you are responding to which is, “the best system in the world in the 60s and 70s was the USA”.

    NOTE 1: Of course government has to be involved but it is way way over bounds and now we are the worst health delivery system, or soon will be.

    Get with the Facts.

    NOTE 2: Liberals are in both parties to be clear.

    Hey Cosa, did I spell everything right?

  60. cosa pescado says - Posted: March 7, 2014

    Wow CJ. You were trying to beat on people earlier about poor comparisons.
    Comparing the healthcare system in the 1960/70s to that of today is ridiculous CJ. Far more ridiculous than what you criticized rock for doing with Japan.
    You are so full of it.

    “Reports that only 1 in 10 un-insureds have signed up”
    Oh really? That number is made up because there is no way to determine the number of uninsured people. I thought you were a “damned good source of information”? And now you provide us with bogus data?

  61. 2sense says - Posted: March 7, 2014

    I think the point of the article was that Barton often sacrifices really great employees when they question the status quo of “business as usual.” The squeaky wheel gets canned. It’s classic head-in-the-sand to the opinions of employees that often only want to help make the stressful work environment more manageable, pleasant and efficient. Management has a deaf ear to employees. Yet it is the employees who have direct contact with patients. I say, if employees are happy, then patients are happy. Working short-staffed, having way too much work to accomplish in a shift, a stressed environment with poor communication, and a sense of hopelessness that things will ever improve permeates the average employee experience at Barton. This is the experience the upper level doesn’t want to acknowledge or hear about. They want to keep their ivory tower of idealism spotless, so they simply remove any one with other ideas. This lack of employee empowerment and opportunity to have differing opinions is crippling to employees.

    Whatever happened to the employee survey results collected in December?

    I, too, have had great service at Barton. The staff on the floor needs to be applauded, valued, and respected. They are the glue that makes Barton work for this community. I know the inside stories. This is a small town, and Barton needs to understand that word-of-mouth advertising can be their friend or foe. They can spend millions on their add campaigns but dozens of laid-off locals can be bad press when we tend to know everyone in town. Loyalty to employees is a good payoff. Dirty deeds and sneaky deals make the rounds rapidly. Perhaps part of declining census is reputation. How many commenters here say they go off the hill for a variety of reasons. Dollars are a motivator, but so is the unfairly laid off neighbor.

  62. tahoe Pizza Eater says - Posted: March 7, 2014

    A little over a hundred years ago the rail road barons tried to corner the market on the railroads in the eastern U.S. and price gouge the public. That was when Teddy Roosevelt was president. Roosevelt put a stop to what they attempted, and broke up the railroad companies to force natural competition.

    What is occurring today is a price gouging of the american public, and we don’t have any Teddy Roosevelt in the white house to stop them. I’m not just blaming Obama. The republicans are equally to blame .

  63. rock4tahoe says - Posted: March 7, 2014

    Cosa. CJ just asks questions but never answers them. He just spews name calling, UPPER CASE nonsense. Sad really.

  64. rock4tahoe says - Posted: March 7, 2014

    You can go down to Carson to get some tests done, but don’t let them cut into you; especially for backs, knees, elbows, wrists, shoulders etc.

  65. Happy Barton Employee :-) says - Posted: March 7, 2014

    The majority of the comments above are uneducated and unfounded. This article was obviously written by a disgruntle employee with a grudge.

    I am a RN at Barton, Barton may pay its executives well BUT it also pays ALL of their employees well. I personally don’t care who the VP of human resources is married to or how she gets her health insurance, many of us are married to fire fighters, policeman or government employees, how is this relevant? The news of her salary or John Williams is not news; Barton publishes their top salaries every year.

    Comparing Barton’s lab or surgery prices to Carson is as ridiculous as comparing groceries or housing prices, everything is cheaper in Carson! I still would rather a house or surgery in South Lake. You get what you pay for.

    The standards of care at Barton are much higher than surrounding facilities. Barton does numerous employee and patient satisfaction surveys but I don’t see those referenced in this article because they are extremely positive.

    This article does nothing for the community; with the changes in health care Barton deserves the community’s support. It would be a shame for the negative feedback to impact the hospital and downgrade Barton to a critical access hospital and force patients to go to Carson to deliver their babies in a snowstorm.

    I’m disappointed that this article was published. It’s an opinion for sure, so please publish mine; I have worked at and been a patient at many hospitals throughout the country. Barton’s executives, physicians, nurses and staff care more about their staff, patient safety and customer service more than the majority of the hospitals I have ever been to. We are a team and I’m sorry if you are no longer part of the team, but Barton doesn’t deserve this article because your feelings were hurt, maybe you weren’t a good employee and you should reflect on yourself and stop blaming an entire hospital for your shortcomings. I, personally thank John Williams, Leanne Kankel, Dr. Clint Purvance and Dick Derby for their leadership at Barton.

  66. Local says - Posted: March 7, 2014

    Barton sucks…

  67. KC says - Posted: March 7, 2014

    Happy Barton Employee you said the employee that was laid off should reflect on their shortcomings. What was this person’s shortcommings? Please enlighten us! Which laid off person are your refering to? I know two RN’s that were laid off and both were outstanding RN’s. You say that you are a team at Barton, shouldn’t you be upset as a team when team members are unjustly laid off??? You said that the employee laid off maybe was not a good employee, how do you know they weren’t a good employee??? Who are you to judge them??? Lake Tahoe News was just reporting that employees were laid off and some of the doctor’s they worked for were not consulted. Lake Tahoe News was just informing the community of the salaries that upper management at Barton is being paid. What’s your problem?

  68. Just The Facts says - Posted: March 7, 2014


    Barton provided $4.2 million in charity care in 2010.

    Executive team did not replace Kathy Cocking, VP of Operations last year, her salary was $300k. The executives divided her responsibilities.

    Barton is largest employer in the city of South Lake Tahoe, more than 900 employees.

    A major misconception is that financial help is only for those in the lower income brackets, but most of Tahoe’s middle-class is eligible for some level of discount.

    Education is free. Before you go on and on about information do a little research.

    Love your local hospital.

  69. Parker says - Posted: March 7, 2014

    While I credit you for identifying yourself as a Barton Employee, reality check here: Do people drive up from Carson to get medical care at Barton? In case you’re unaware, it’s the other way around!

    And I know that first hand. When I had a medical emergency I was strongly advised, if I could get someone to drive me, and survive for 30-40min., to get my butt down to Carson!

  70. Concerned professional says - Posted: March 7, 2014

    To Happy Barton Employee:)How can you say this article was obviously written by a disgruntled employee with a grudge? That is not obvious and seems grossly incorrect. Hopefully you don’t diagnose the way you have jumped to conclusions.

    To your example that groceries are cheaper in Carson. Tahoe stores are becoming more competitive and we have Grocery Outlet as an option. Sometimes the gas is not worth going for groceries, some people have to take the bus, but for hundreds or thousands of dollars of savings in healthcare it becomes worth it,

    I agree, Leanne Kankel’s family situation and health insurance situation is not relevant. No one is arguing the fact that Barton has caring employees and provides good care. This is about healthcare changes,Obamacare and some one or some ones believing that all staff should become clinical. The State does not require it, patient care has been good as we all agree, perhaps better than changing to an employee with a certified title where one is not needed. I am of the belief those laid off knew their jobs well and did not have shortcomings any different than you. Lay offs were due to restructuring for whatever reasons that are not being disclosed, not performance as a general statement. Some of those laid off possibly were on your team, or you or them could become laid off in the near future.

    This article also refers to the doctor’s offices Barton operates, which is almost a monopoly on both the CA and NV sides of the South Shore and the Barton community clinic. It is important to a practice that staff be consistent and know their patients. Hospital staff usually does not see these people on a regular basis to service their regular needs. Again, this is about many employees affected by the changes since Oct. 2013, not just one employee and the opportunities that were not allowed to them after many years of being excellent employees and providing quality healthcare. It is not about hurt feelings. Those dedicated and excellent caregivers, nurses, office staff have lost their livelihoods, their health insurance, possibly their homes next and may have to move out of the area. Not good for the community. New employees are not guaranteed to stay in Tahoe or make good employees nor is it making a viable environment for recruiting new doctors. Has it truly affected every office? There are still more office staff that remains that are not certified. They will be next on the chopping block. It was stated janitorial has been diminished. I read that as financial. The management Executive team should look at cuts of their own. Who next? The PBX operator? Maybe all the calls will go to a call center at Renown or be automated. You are entitled to your opinion. Mine is you are rude, you didn’t check your information and do not know enough of the story.

  71. Amanda says - Posted: March 7, 2014

    Thanks to the great Barton employees for telling your side of the story after this one sided hit piece prompted by, yes, one or two disgruntled former employees. I happen to know who those employees are, and they are rude, not at all concerned about patients and only out for themselves. The fact that they found an audience with this biased, miserable excuse for journalism would be laughable except for the people it hurts and the misconceptions perpetuated for a community that depends on the hospital.

    It is obvious Kae Reed has it out for Leann Kankel. What does it matter who she’s married to and where she gets her insurance? That shot seemed pretty personal and not relevant at all, just trying to stir up some dirt.

    My friends at Barton tell me that administration informed employees today of the REAL story. That Barton was sent a list of questions that were answered fully, but the answers weren’t included in this hit piece. That the changes made were to IMPROVE patient care at the community clinic. That the hospital has to evolve to make it through Obamacare and still exist. For anyone who really cares to know the answers, ask a Barton employee about the email they got today.

    By the way, the hospital calls the cleaning staff HOUSEKEEPERS, not janitors. And they weren’t cut back. Like every other employee at Barton, if patients aren’t there to take care of, they’re sent home. They have paid time off to help them when this happens. What should Barton do, just keep people there hanging around when they have nothing to do? For all you whiners about costs, that sure would help keep your bills down now, wouldn’t it?

    I heard there was an employee survey in December that showed Barton employees are VERY satisfied with their jobs. That must mean most of them feel valued and happy. Where was THAT in this article?

    I have had nothing but great care at Barton and, with the exception of encounters with 2 of the people from the clinic laid off (one of whom slammed the front window in my face), the employees there are great. Too bad this article is long on innuendo and short on facts. Nice going, Kae. You’re a true journalistic professional (NOT!)

  72. Kathy says - Posted: March 7, 2014


  73. CJ McCoy says - Posted: March 8, 2014

    Yes be thankful (Surfs) … for what?

    America’s Health Care system was the best in the world then the government took it over.

    Slowly at first and now nearly entirely.

    It Will Get Worse From Here.

  74. CJ McCoy says - Posted: March 8, 2014

    Yes be thankful (Serfs) … for what?

    America’s Health Care system was the best in the world then the government took it over.

    Slowly at first and now nearly entirely.

    It Will Get Worse From Here.

    OK with you now cosa?

  75. Greg says - Posted: March 10, 2014

    You guys making comments on how barton is so cool and a take it or leave it attitude are extremeely uneducated about barton. They barton have a take it or leace it attitude, that is why they are treating employeesas expendable’trash. Barton hires from the inside, full of nepotism, favoritsm and politics so deep its almost criminal. So you folks…

    That want to deny what’s goiing on there and how their taking advtantage of their monopoly on the city, yoou go ahead, but when the real’truth comes out your gonna eat your words.

  76. cosa pescado says - Posted: March 10, 2014

    Did you really not know how to spell serf (note the lack of capitalization)?
    Do you want us to believe that the government has ‘entirely’ taken over healthcare?
    Hint: Who wrote and approved the ACA?

  77. Tahoe Gal says - Posted: March 11, 2014

    Well, from an insiders view, the hospitals “powers that be” are making some very disturbing decisions. How they handled the lay offs of my co-workers was a sad affair. I thought nepotism was against the law! How are they getting away with it? HR Director $250 grand, is that necessary for such a small hospital? I was appalled to find out what Mr. Williams was making as well. I was feeling so guilty when I accepted my little .10 cent raise. Doctor Roth had a right to be upset, his front office girl was an asset to his office! It’s about who you know or who you are related too. I am hoping this article makes them sit back and think about the poor state of moral with the employee’s. Why is Dick Derby leaving? Why have so many of the doctors left in the past? We received an e-mail damage control letter from Dr. Pervance he speaks like a politician. I would like to see for myself all the survey results. I don’t believe that they are all that positive. Get your act together Barton a lot of people are counting on you!

  78. Headquarters says - Posted: March 11, 2014

    Oh great , that means more professionals might have to move off the mountain…

  79. Leila says - Posted: March 13, 2014

    My impression is that medical knowledge, nursing experience, and an ability to provide superior patient care have nothing to do with Barton’s hirings and firings. Employment decisions there seem to be guided by two things: the nurse’s ability to play management’s high school-style political games, and the bottom line.

  80. Concerned professional says - Posted: March 14, 2014

    Leila, good observation and summary to this long string of comments.

  81. CJ McCoy says - Posted: March 24, 2014

    The Profound Arrogant Ignorance and Stupidity of Liberals in Charge – Find it in the American Thinker – a great read.

    ACA, Obama Care, what ever you want to call it, it is hurting AMerica for several reasons.

    This article covers what is at the core of Obama Care’s failure… It is in response to the White House calling Matt Drudge a liar.

    The Profound Arrogant Ignorance and Stupidity of Liberals in Charge

    Classic title – right on the mark.

    SLT is a poster child for the effects of arrogant Progressive elitist.

    Hey, fishy aka, cosa, smedley etc… did I spell everything right?

  82. Biggerpicture says - Posted: March 24, 2014

    CJ, once again I will remind you that El Dorado County AND South Lake Tahoe vote extremely conservative. Yet you blame all problems on only liberals. Take off your blinders and see the world as it REALLY is!

  83. CJ McCoy says - Posted: March 24, 2014

    El Dorado County and SLT are run by progressives. The result is a crony capitalist, self serving corporatist government. Just like Obama and his banker cronies. Corporatists for big tax, big business big government. Wavers for friends, unions and leftist donors.

    It is not run by conservative in the sense of American freedom. It is one of the most government centric, cronified and oppressive places in America. Further it is very anti family.

    I don’t have blinders, I have truth. Further, I encourage anyone that loves freedom to shun South Lake Tahoe and El Dorado County.

    Many people do, the reputation of south Lake Tahoe is increasingly bad and will continue to decline.

    AS predicted many times for many years and always on the mark; From here it will get worse.

  84. rock4tahoe says - Posted: March 24, 2014

    CJ. Stupid… blah, liberal… blah, Obamacare… blah, Bogus Scientists…. blah, liars… blah, cronies… blah, worse… blah.

    Your taking points are so old. Don’t you have anything new to copy and paste?

  85. CJ McCoy says - Posted: March 24, 2014

    Obama administration called Matt Drudge a liar on Friday because he said he paid his Obama fine … he called it an Independence tax.

    For annual filers the fine is due in 2015 but for many small businesses they must pay the fines with their quarterly tax filings.

    For mentioning this I am called stupid…

    Here is more news for those of you who wish to break out of the liberal mind set and bozzosity of so many that habitat the south shore.

    New York Times reporter James Risen called the Obama administration “the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation”

    And now the Vatican is taking a stand too; According to the Vatican Chief Justice: Obama’s Policies ‘Have Become Progressively More Hostile Toward Christian Civilization’

    How can anyone support Obama knowing what we know about him now?

  86. CJ McCoy says - Posted: March 24, 2014


    Principles don’t get old.

    Principle centered people don’t need talking points, that is a Democrat thing.

  87. Biggerpicture says - Posted: March 24, 2014

    CJ, That’s our biggest problem in the US. You and folks of you’re ilk with your pseudo Christian morality and phony values! Which in reality is neither moral nor valuable.

  88. cosa pescado says - Posted: March 24, 2014

    More hyperbolic, unsubstantiated BS from CJ.
    You realize that you are driving people away from your ideology with this nonsense.

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