Volume 2, Number 29 - October 17, 2002
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Computers, relationships questioned, clarified
The Sublette County Rural Health Care District board held its regular business meeting Monday evening in Pinedale.
The first item on the agenda was the proposed computer system for the Marbleton/Big Piney Medical Clinic. The board decided that since there was not a representative of that clinic present at the meeting to answer questions, the item should be tabled until the next meeting. But board member Mary Lynn Worl questioned why the latest version of the computer proposal included hardware, software, labor and upgrades, coming in at a total cost of about $37,000, which was about $22,000 beyond what was budgeted for the item.
Board Member Bill Barney said he had questions about the selection of the particular computer system as well, and wondered whether the system includes provisions for financial and time management for the physicians. If so, "does that fall within our perview?" of providing for medical care in the county, Barney questioned.
If the system is more focused on these business-oriented aspects, "that's a choice for the entrepreneur," Barney said, but the answer is "not at all clear from the information at hand."
Dr. Judy Boyle of the Pinedale Medical Clinic suggested if the board is going to consider purchasing such a "megasystem" for one clinic, it should consider it for the other clinic as well in order to be fair.
Board Chairman Walt Bousman suggested the board could request bids from other companies, questioning, when the board only budgeted $15,000, "why does it now cost almost $40,000?"
The computer proposal was dismissed until the next meeting, at which time the board hopes to have representatives of the Marbleton clinic address the issue.
Boyle requested time to address the board with her concern that the public may view the relationship between physicians in the county's two clinics in a negative manner. Boyle's comments were the result of a question posed by Pinedale Roundup editor Rob Shaul at a candidates' forum in which he questioned the animosity between the clinics, Boyle said.
At Monday's meeting, Boyle said: "That kind of stuff ... is absurd. It just creates more problems ... It perpetuates stuff that's not correct."
Boyle explained that her purpose in addressing the board in such a public way was to counteract this view that has been perpetuated in the local press that the physicians simply don't get along.
Nothing could be further from the truth, according to Boyle, who noted that the physicians talk frequently and work in a cooperative manner.
"I think there is a lot of misinformation out there," Boyle said, noting she and Dr. David Burnett do talk and respect the medical care that each provides.
"We may disagree on (specific issues), but that does not mean we don't get along," Boyle said.
The proposal to purchase a revamped radio system took a great deal of time at the meeting, generating considerable discussion and debate. Bousman said he feels the new system should integrate into the sheriff's department system. He proposed specifications for one segment of such a system, as did Board Member Jerry Jensen for a second part of the system.
Barney looked at the specifications and noted both were manufacturer-specific rather than engineering-specific and suggested that an impartial engineer be consulted. Barney volunteered to consult with such a person and report back at the next meeting.
The Pinedale Emergency Medical Services request to elect their own supervisor was the next agenda item. Currently the board appoints the PEMS supervisor, while on the southern end of the county, Dr. Burnett makes the appointment.
"I'm inclined to trust the judgment and integrity of the people involved," Barney said, indicating his approval for the election idea. The board agreed to allow each of the EMS services this option, although it will be revisited by the board six months after such an election.
The board added a stipulation that the elected supervisor must, at least, be an active intermediate emergency medical technician or higher.
The board also briefly discussed the need to have the Big Piney EMS create a constitution and by-laws if the group does not already have these items in place.
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