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Supes Could Approve TGH Contracts with Local Surgeons

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Tuolumne County Supervisors will be asked Tuesday to approve contracts that would allow local surgeons to work at the government-run hospital. Tuolumne General Hospital Administrator Barry Woerman said the costs are higher when using surgeons from outside the area, which the hospital has been doing.

“You’re not only paying the cost for the transportation of the surgeon, you also have to pay their local housing and malpractice insurance, and you have to pay a fee for the company that provides them,” Woerman said.

Even though the savings to the county are expected to be significant, Woerman couldn’t say exactly how much that would be, because the contracts are based on how many patients the doctors see. That number can change, so “It would be hard to make an estimate, but I would guess that the savings would be at least $100,000 to $150,000,” he said.

Woerman said using local surgeons, two of whom have already been helping at TGH, provides more comfort for patients.

“Even though you may have someone who’s technically competent, and may have superior skills, you want to know who the person is and have that comfort that they´ll be available to answer questions on a follow-up basis,” Woerman said.

Using the local surgeons is part of an overall plan to put Tuolumne General on better financial footing. Over the past six years, TGH has borrowed $6 million from the county and used $11 million from the county general fund.