From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 4, Number 25 - September 16, 2004
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

RHCB passes on Air Ambulance

by Bill Boender

The Sublette County Rural Health Care Board met Monday, Sept. 13, in Marbleton with all members present except Chairman Walt Bousman. Board Member Bill Barney assumed the chair in Bousman's absence and tabled the election of officers until all could be present. A scheduled meeting with Sublette County Undersheriff Henry Schmidt and Tony Chambers with the Tip Top Search and Rescue team was also tabled.

Chris Darst of Access Air again requested support from the board for an air-ambulance service, presenting results of his survey indicating the number of flights would justify and pay for the service. Darst emphasized that there would be no cost to the county, but under questioning by Barney it became apparent that Darst was expecting the county to assume $109,500 per month fixed costs along with a $725-per-flight-hour charge for helicopter use. The county would also be responsible for dispatch, billing and collection of fees, which would average more than $10,000 per flight.

Data to support the need for helicopter service showed four flights per month originating in Sublette County with seven in Kemmerer, seven in Lander/ Riverton and 16 to 18 in Sweetwater County. Darst said if Sublette County would not support the service it may be established in Farson or Rock Springs instead. Darst also requested a guarantee that no other air ambulance service would be permitted to operate in Sublette County.

Barney advised Darst that the health care board was probably not legally able to contract this service but would issue a letter recommending that the clinics utilize the service if established independently by Access Air.

In physician business, the Marbleton/Big Piney Clinic requested permission to have the carpet cleaned at a cost of some $500. Board members Jerry Jensen and Mary Lynn Worl objected to this expense and Garry Eiden advised the clinic to go ahead with the cleaning and bill it to him personally if the board was going to nitpick over such small items.

In EMT business, Wil Gay requested a new and brighter light bar for one ambulance at a cost of $2,100 to help with an increase in the number of vehicles not yielding to emergency vehicles.

The board discussed EMT pay rates, hours, scheduling and performance reviews but took no action. A special meeting to revise policies and address these issues will be set in the near future. EMT services were requested to provide written recommendations for changes.

Bill Schertz, a retired engineer, volunteered information to the board concerning the plans and design of the new and remodeled clinics. Schertz recommended changes in the area of heating, air conditioning and ventilation as well as flooring. The board thanked him for his input and will see that the engineers review his recommendations.

A contract with G E Johnson Construction Company of Colorado Springs, Colo., was presented for signing, which will pay 4 percent of all costs to manage the clinic construction. The contract is similar to that used by Sublette County School District No. 1 in its project with Groathouse Construction where a guaranteed maximum price will be established, subject to change orders as approved by the health care board. This price will be established after all design work is completed by Davis Partnership, the architect. Estimates of $6 million are already being revised upward.

The process of hiring an administrator/coordinator/director was again discussed, with review of a job description prepared by Worl and members of the committee who made the analysis for the board. Barney and Jensen objected to requiring a bachelor's degree for the position, asking that equivalent experience also be considered, but Worl insisted that the degree should be a minimum and a master's degree would be preferred. Worl felt minimizing requirements could result in hundreds of applications to review. A salary level was discussed but not established. Worl moved to proceed with the advertising and hiring process, seconded by Jensen. The motion passed with a nay vote by Eiden.

The board spent considerable time in executive session to discuss a land acquisition in Big Piney/Marbleton but did not take any official action when the meeting resumed.

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