From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 3, Number 46 - February 12, 2004
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Hospital possibility not in the works

by Bill Boender

The Sublette County Rural Health Care Board met Wednesday, Feb. 4, at the Pinedale Fire Hall to hear a presentation by Davis Partnership Architects, who had been hired in August to investigate the possibility of building a hospital in Sublette County. Frank Swaans presented a 37-page draft covering market size, population analysis and hospital service requirements. Included were projections of population and use potential through 2007.

With a current estimated population of some 6,029 and projected 2007 population of 6,134, Swaans concluded that there was no possibility of supporting a hospital in Sublette County. The minimum population to support a hospital is estimated at 10,000 to 12,000 residing in a radius of 10 miles. The distance between Sublette County's major communities would make it difficult for physicians from Big Piney/Marbleton to make rounds at a hospital in Pinedale and to be available on call.

Attracting and keeping surgeons, nurses and other medical specialists with a minimal numbers of patients would be very difficult. With Sublette County's aging population, there would not be a base for either obstetrics or pediatrics. Perhaps in the future there might be a possibility of combining a long-term care facility with hospital services.

Discussion then moved to the present clinics and their needs. Swaans concluded that the clinic in Marbleton needs to be replaced, as the existing structure could not be expanded efficiently. The clinic has 5,781 square feet of space at present but needs an estimated 7,775 to be adequate. The Pinedale Medical Clinic is expandable and needs to be increased from 7,285 square feet to 10,846. Preliminary plans for a new Marbleton clinic and remodeling of the Pinedale clinic were presented.

The board asked for an estimate of cost for these projects and will get "a rough order of magnitude" from the architects in about 30 days. These figures will be needed so that the board can approach the Sublette County Commissioners for funding assistance.

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