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CEO Bob Schapper to Leave Tahoe Forest Hospital

Nevada County District Attorney confirms ongoing investigation into hospital district
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Editors Update, Jan. 29: The Tahoe Forest Hospital Board of Directors voted Tuesday to initiate its transition plan and have Virginia Razo become the interim CEO, effective immediately. Former CEO Bob Schapper will not have a formal consulting arrangement, and he has no role with the district now. The board also agreed to wait on starting a search for a new CEO.

Editors Update, Jan. 14: On Wednesday afternoon, the Nevada County District Attorney's office confirmed an active and ongoing investigation into the hospital district.

Bob Schapper’s tumultuous tenure as the CEO of Tahoe Forest Hospital is over. The Tahoe Forest Hospital Board of Directors decided to not renew Schapper’s contract in a closed session meeting at the Tahoe Forest Foundation conference room on Tuesday night, Jan 13. Schapper will leave his CEO position on Jan. 27.

Virginia Razo, the hospital’s COO, will become the interim CEO, according to a transition plan that still has to be voted on by the board at its Jan. 27 meeting. In July, the hospital will begin a search for a new CEO. Bob Schapper will continue to work for the hospital as a consultant until the end of his contract, which will expire June 30.

The “mutually agreed upon” decision was made without a vote, said Tahoe Forest Hospital Board President Karen Sessler, but was the “mutual consensus” of the meeting. No reason was given for the decision.

“The board had a discussion about what was in the best interests of the district and that is what was agreed upon,” said Paige Nebeker-Thomason, spokesperson for the hospital district.

At Tuesday’s meeting, members of the public lined the hallway outside of the small meeting room due to a lack of space for them to sit or stand inside. They entered one by one to speak in public comment about Schapper’s performance. Many sharply criticized Schapper’s tenure as CEO, saying that he has become a divisive figure and a distraction to the public hospital district. Some accused him of intimidation and unethical behavior.

“It is time to move on and find a new CEO who will restore trust with the community,” said Ronda Brooks, a nurse who was a candidate for the hospital board in the November election. “… It is clear that the current CEO has not portrayed our district and its operations with a proper, consistent image and I submit to you that it is time to find a new CEO with leadership skills that focus on respect, trust, and integrity without the distraction of scandals and corruption.”

Others supported Schapper. Obstetrician Shawni Coll read comments from medical staff praising Schapper’s performance, and Radiologist Thaddeus Laird spoke highly of Schapper’s leadership and vision for the hospital district.

“Please strongly consider asking Bob to stay on as CEO for one more year during which time he will transition Ginny Razo into that position,” wrote Dr. Laurence Heifetz in the physicians’ statement read by Dr. Coll. “Once the transition does take place, treat him respectfully and with an appropriate severance package.”

The decision to cut ties with Schapper came after months of simmering controversy and a long series of closed session meetings on Schapper’s performance and continued employment. Persistent questions about a conflict of interest regarding his wife’s employment at the public special district hospital were never fully explained or resolved by the board.

A Two-Year Investigation

Schapper’s potential conflict of interest was first publicly raised by Moonshine Ink in a July 2012 article entitled Tahoe Forest Hospital Under the Microscope: Where Does the Money Go? The newspaper reported findings from further investigation of the potential conflict of interest in an article entitled New Revelations: Tahoe Forest Hospital Report, published in July 2014. The report showed that Bob Schapper had direct connections to his wife’s company, which had been paid nearly $1 million through contracts with Tahoe Forest Hospital, and also investigated whether the simultaneous employment of the CEO and his wife constituted a violation of California Government Code 1090, which is a felony.

The July 2014 article revealed that Bob Schapper was listed as the vice president and treasurer of his wife’s company, Medical Practice Solutions, in bankruptcy filings submitted in the year 2000. Bob Schapper was also listed as chief financial officer of Medical Practice Solutions in state business documents.

By May 2014, Marsha Schapper had been laid off from the hospital district and the hospital board had launched an investigation into the potential conflict of interest. But all of the investigation’s details were withheld from the public, and all of the discussion occurred in closed-door meetings.

The Tahoe Forest Hospital Board commissioned an independent investigation into the issue, which was handled by Greg Moser of Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves and Savitch, one of the largest business law firms in the state. The report was completed but never released to the public, and the board allowed Bob Schapper’s lawyer to become heavily involved in the investigation, according to conversations with board members Dale Chamblin and John Mohun, and a review of the approximately $57,000 in legal fees that the hospital district ended up paying for Schapper’s personal legal defense. Without releasing the report, the board declared that there was “insufficient evidence” of a conflict of interest and closed the book on the case.

But the controversy over Schapper’s management style and potential conflicts of interest grew. At meeting after meeting, members of the public called for his resignation or asked the board not to renew his contract. Schapper was defended by members of the medical staff of Tahoe Forest Hospital like Heifetz and Coll. Former board member Rob Eskridge and former Tahoe Forest Hospital Foundation President Randy Hill were also outspoken supporters of Schapper.

By late last year, Tahoe Forest Hospital Board President John Mohun said at a public meeting that he no longer wanted Bob Schapper to remain as Tahoe Forest Hospital’s CEO. But Mohun was clearly in the minority. When the board moved to negotiate a new contract for Schapper during the final weeks before a newly elected board was seated, the public demanded that the new board be allowed to make the decision regarding the CEO’s contract.

Schapper first came to the Tahoe Forest Hospital in 2002, taking over for CEO Larry Long, who became a member of the hospital’s board of directors. He led or was involved in many projects and new initiatives at the hospital including, “creating an academic affiliation with UC Davis Health System, advancing clinical quality to levels of national recognition, implementing diagnostic imaging technology to levels rare for a rural community, and facilitating the modernization of the physical facility through improvements outlined in the Measure C general obligation bond,” according to a statement by Tahoe Forest Hospital.

New Board Meeting Location

The hospital board also recently announced a decision to hold regular monthly Board meetings at the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District at the site of the school district’s administrative offices. The location change is “due to space limitations and configuration of the Eskridge Conference Room located on the campus where Board meetings were previously held,” according to a statement released by Board President Sessler.  Regular board meetings will also now be streamed live on TTCTV’s website.  Hospital board meetings are held the last Tuesday of each month, with open session beginning at 6 p.m. 

 
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Reader comments so far...

ESC1970 | Ventura
Really, severance package? I have seen some amazing staff let go over the years and none received a severance package (with the exception of some very high level positions who were dismissed due to politics not corruption). It's is BS and unfortunately part of the larger problem in this country of giving golden parachutes to those who already make a handsome salary. Why should corruption be rewarded? TFHD has paid the Schapper's very well over the years. I hope they had the sense to put away some of the hundreds of thousand of dollars they earned and they can turn to social security like the rest of of are going to have to.
Doctor D's picture

Doctor D | Northstar-Truckee
David Bunker and Moonshine Ink deserve a Pulitzer for some remarkable and fearless articles over the past few years.

Renoyogini | Reno
Decision by the TFH Board is about 10 years overdue. Better Late than Never, and hats off to Moonshine Ink for their role in exposing this debacle.

North Shore | Lake Tahoe
Well,Well,Well. The chickens are finally coming home to roost. I agree with the previous poster regarding David being nominated for a Pulitzer. It's unfortunate that members of the press cannot sue the individuals they are investigating for slander when pond scum (my opinion) such as Bob Schapper deny the allegations they are being accused of, when in fact the allegations become fact. As a former employee of Tahoe Forest who was present during the reign of Queen Marsha and King Bob, I have to wonder what will become of the pretenders to the throne, and I am specifically speaking of the one who wears her dresses a bit too short for polite company and who controlled the purse strings for the Hospital and her friend over in billing with all the antique furniture in her office. And as far as the District Attorney who is investigating the Grifters, it might behoove him to post a request for information on this website. He might be surprised how many individuals would be willing to get things off their chest so to speak in regards to the Grifters; Bob and Marsha. And, by the way, when was the last time a Rac Audit was done on all of the Providers (Doctors who signed the dubious (my opinion) letter in support of the Grifter Bob. As they say; Follow the Money. I would like to thank the Moonshine editors for continuing to support David in this long battle against alleged corruption at Tahoe Forest Hospital. The rank and file at the Hospital are the best. Corporate Management is another story. Many of these people need to be fired or be sent to jail. The North Shore

North Shore | Lake Tahoe
While it is a Great Thing that the Grifters, Bumbling Bob and Multi-Faced Marsha (my opinion) have been run out of town on a rail, it is not a Good Thing that the comment section of the Moonshine has not been full of people (readers) championing their demise from the Hospital. What is the matter with you people? Are you not familiar with the concept of vanquishing your enemies. You people who work in the trenches every day could very possibly had salary increases over the reign of the Grifters if not for all the money they were collecting for themselves. Where is your sense of revenge. This is America, it's OK to kick ass and take numbers. Really folks, where are your so called union representatives. Why is not the union demanding (not asking) for "clawbacks" (Google it in between drinking your double lattes) from the Grifters back to the rank and file workers who are the backbone of the Hospital. And for all you folks still lighting up a fattie now and then, there is a new word for "snitch", it's called a "Whistleblower", and you can get a ton of money from the government for dropping a dime on someone as powerful and highly placed as the Grifters and their "pretenders to the throne" (the ones they left to twist in the wind) now jockeying for their jobs. David Bunker has done a Great Job of exposing graft and corruption (my opinion) at Tahoe Forest Hospital, but the Rank and File needs to step up to the plate and decide who will run the Hospital in the future, the Suits or the Scrubs.

truckee rn | Truckee, CA
The transition team at TFH needs your input. North Shore is correct - now is the time to speak out on your experiences of the past/ideas for the future. As John Wayne said: "Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday."

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November 9, 2017