Volume 2, Number 15 - July 11, 2002
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Doctors' contracts increased
The Sublette County Rural Health Care District board voted Monday evening in Marbleton to grant the clinic contracting physicians an increase in their contract amounts of $1,500 a month.
Currently, Dr. Judy Boyle of the Pinedale Medical Clinic and Dr. David Burnett of the Marbleton/Big Piney Clinic each receive $18,500 per month to provide 24-hour, seven-day a week emergency medical care through the clinics.
Once the board approves its new budget later this month, that amount will increase to $20,000 per month for each of the two clinic physicians.
All five board members were in attendance for the vote, with only Walt Bousman voting against the increase.
Board Chairman Dave Racich opened discussion of the issue by noting that the board's last budget discussion had board members suggesting increases from $500 to $1,000 per month.
Racich suggested the board discussion begin with the $500 per month figure, but board member Garry Eiden Sr. said, "Five hundred dollars ain't a hell of a lot of money though when you're running your own business."
Board member Bob Dew then made a motion that the board offer an increase in the contract amounts of $1,500. Eiden seconded the motion, stating, "It sounds like a fair deal."
Bousman said the monthly contract amount obligates the doctors to provide 24-hour coverage, while "allowing them to run a private practice, using our facilities and our equipment." Thus, Bousman said, the hours involved in the private practice should be subtracted from the board's consideration, with the county currently providing $222,000 per year for that extra burden.
Bousman said for him to agree to an increase, "it would have to be directly related to the after-hours burden that is placed on that business."
Board member Jim Greenwood said while he understood Bousman's point, the fact that doctors are providing 24-hour coverage while engaging in a "government-held private practice" is a "win-win" situation, which he supports.
Greenwood and Racich both added that if the board granted a $1,500 per month increase this year, they hoped the doctors won't come back for another $1,500 per month increase next year.
Racich, Dew, Eiden and Greenwood voted for the increase, while Bousman cast the lone nay vote.
When it came time to consider whether to grant the district clerk a raise, Bousman was more generous, making a motion to pay her $15 per hour, which is up from her current $2,000/month salary. With little discussion other than to commend Juana McGinnis for her good work in the position during the last year, Greenwood seconded Bousman's motion, which was passed unanimously.
In other business, the board's proposed $3.6-million budget will be subject of a July 15 public hearing at 8 p.m. in the Marbleton Sheriff's Annex.
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