Volume 2, Number 50 - March 13, 2003
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New docs visiting county
The Sublette County Rural Health Care District Board met in Marbleton Monday night and had the pleasure of visiting with one doctor who is considering joining Dr. Judy Boyle in the Pinedale Medical Clinic.
Dr. Alexios Constantinides, Doctor of Osteopath, is currently in Colorado Springs, Colo., finishing his medical residency. He's a Laramie native and a University of Wyoming graduate.
Constantinides takes his boards in family practice in two weeks and noted he specializes in osteopathic manipulation, with an interest in sports medicine.
Board Member Bill Barney said, "We're glad you're taking a look at us," while Board Chairman Walt Bousman said, "I hope you decide to stay."
Board Member Mary Lynn Worl suggested she and Barney, who serve as the district's recruitment committee, meet with Boyle and board attorney Ed Wood "to see what needs to be done to be sure Alex joins us in this community."
Worl has proposed that the board offer some sort of a loan program to new doctors in order to recruit them to serve in our community.
But Constantinides isn't the only new doctor to look at practicing medicine in the county. Dr. David Burnett of the Marbleton-Big Piney Clinic has made arrangements for Dr. Richard Jones and Dr. Ralph Hopkins, both of Riverton, to see patients in his clinic.
Jones specializes in internal medicine and is seeing patients for sleep disorders, gastrointestinal and internal medicine, while Hopkins will see patients for adult and pediatric urology consults.
In other business, the board listened to a presentation about the home health service offered through the Sublette Center. Dave Doorn and Edna Schilling explained that this vital service to home-bound residents is costing more to provide than income generates because of long travel distances and voluminous paperwork requirements.
Doorn explained that the Sublette Center purchased the service three years ago and the service has had to be subsidized every year.
Schilling said last year 60 patients living in their own homes were provided with services. In the last 12 months, Schilling said, of the 2,373 home visits made by the service, which consists mostly of Schilling and an aide, 543 were skilled nursing visits, 793 were for therapy and 1,037 were for home health aide such as bathing and medication assistance.
Schilling said home health services were provided to residents ranging from six months of age to more than 90 years old.
"I feel there is a great need to this service in this county," Schilling said, noting the program helps people to maintain their independence in their own homes.
The service runs at a $30,000-40,000 deficit each year, but demand for the services are increasing, so another nurse is needed, which will cost another $50,000 per year, Doorn said.
Doorn said: "We desperately need that next RN. The problem is we don't have the money ..."
Sublette Center Board Member Jim Latta explained to the health care board that the center board agreed to take on the home health service "from a moral obligation to the community," knowing it wasn't a sound business decision.
"We still feel that moral obligation," Latta explained, but it's time to ask for help in paying for the service.
Barney said he admires the board for its undertaking, which he called "extremely worthwhile to the community."
The RHCD board is considering what contribution, if any, to make to the service, which needs $12,000 per month. It should be noted that private contributions to the service are welcome, and those wishing to contribute may contact Doorn at 307-367-4161.
In other business, Barney requested the board reconsider recent events involving board members addressing personnel issues with the emergency medical technicians. In some instances, according to Barney "a senior person should have been able to handle the incident before the board became involved."
Barney said, "They should have the opportunity to solve their own problems," in the existing structure of the emergency medical services.
Board Member Jerry Jensen said while that is true, "sometimes they can take care of it and don't," causing the board to intervene.
Barney said, "If they don't, they should be held accountable."
Board Member Garry Eiden Sr. said, "I agree with Bill 100 percent. ... I get letters from EMTs that I feel I shouldn't get at all."
Bousman said while he agreed with Barney, he would like to see Barney draft a written policy. Worl suggested policy call for periodic performance reviews of the EMS supervisors as well.
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