Volume 2, Number 46 - February 13, 2003
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Rural Health Care Board re-bids radio system
The Sublette County Rural Health Care District Board met Monday evening in Pinedale to continue the saga of purchasing a new radio/repeater system.
At last month's meeting, the board opened five bids for the system with costs ranging up to about $20,000 difference.
Board Chairman Walt Bousman explained Monday that the specs the board had received from the sheriff's department as its model system were actually for a quick-build system in which the parts are available, "but the company no longer does this."
Bousman suggested the board "throw all the bids out and start over."
Glen Conrad of Uinita Communications of Evanston expressed concern that if everyone knows what the bids are as a result of last month's meeting, it's hard to provide a fair opportunity to re-bid the job.
Bousman said it's his understanding that once the bids that have filed, they become public information, to which board attorney Ed Wood agreed.
The board discussed problems with the bidding process and how the board has handled the process. Board Member Mary Lynn Worl said the board should institute some changes, "hoping we don't have the confusion we had last month."
"It was kind of stupidity on our part," Board Member Jerry Jensen said, adding the board simply hadn't known what it was doing.
"There's no reason why you guys have to fly by the seat of your pants on this," Jeff Alexander of Sublette Communications told the board, suggesting once again that the board confer with experts in the communications field, several of which had attended the meeting and had submitted bids for the system. Alexander also reminded the board that it is still using his equipment on loan, so he would like to see the issue resolved.
"We want to do it right this time," Bousman said.
Once again, after considerable discussion, the board voted to re-bid the system under new and less-detailed specs, with the bid opening slated for a March 24 special meeting devoted to just that subject.
The next item on the agenda was physician recruitment. Bousman began the discussion by stating that, in his view, recruitment of a second physician is the contracting physician's responsibility. He added that he thinks the board can come up with something to add to a recruitment package offered by the contracting physician.
When questioned by Marbleton/Big Piney Clinic's Dr. David Burnett, Bousman confirmed that this is the board's position as well. Bousman pointed to wording in the physicians' contracts which states that the responsibility for staffing the clinic lies with the contracting physician.
Worl said she ran the numbers for providing a loan for a five-year period and provided those numbers to her fellow board members.
Worl and Barney agreed to do the preliminary work on developing a recruitment/loan program, and then consult with the contracting physicians for input, reporting back to the board at a later date.
Wood presented the board with the contract addendums for Burnett and Dr. Judy Boyle of the Pinedale Medical Clinic. The addendum addressed the extended contract period and pay increase approved by the board last year, providing for a rolling two-year renewal and addressing the soft goods inventory.
Wood suggested the board approve the addendum and present it to the contracting physicians for approval. Wood said the addendum would "put these issues to rest and allow the board to move on and address the EMS issue." The board agreed to do so.
The board had indicated that it had wanted the contract to include a provision requiring the contracting physician to serve as medical director of the respective emergency medical service. Wood said that last week Boyle had raised an issue concerning the EMS medical director provision that Wood said he hadn't previously considered and he felt had merit.
Wood said that there is a difference in medical malpractice liability for the physician in whether the physician is the medical director as a contractor or as a district employee, with the lesser liability as a district employee. Boyle was firm in her stance that she wanted to be treated as a district employee for the medical director position.
Wood proposed a one-page employer/employee agreement for the medical director position, having the physician serve as a district at-will employee, with compensation. Wood proposed the agreement to generate discussion of the issue. The board agreed to table the employment contract until the next meeting in order to give the physicians a chance to consider it.
The board held a 25-minute executive session with Burnett, Rich Anderson and members of the Marbleton/Big Piney EMS, as well as Wood, to discuss a personnel issue, Bousman said. When the Big Piney contingent left, the board continued in executive session for another 10 minutes with several of the Pinedale EMS members. When the board came back into open session, Bousman reported no action was taken on either item.
In other business, the board heard a budget request from Jeff Swain of the High Country Counseling Service and reversed its decision from last month's meeting and decided to purchase a cell phone for the Pinedale EMS Supervisor.
Board member Garry Eiden Sr. was not in attendance at the meeting.
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