From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 4, Number 29 - October 14, 2004
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Sublette County Rural Health Care District

by Bill Boender

The Sublette County Rural Health Care Board met Monday, Oct. 11, in the Sublette County Commission meeting room in regular session with all members present. Election of officers resulted in Jerry Jensen being elected chairman with Mary Lynn Worl vice-chairman and Bill Barney secretary-treasurer.

Dr. David Burnett addressed the board concerning the difficult contract negotiations which took place several months ago and expressed concern that there had not yet been an apology from the board for what he considered to be misconduct and disrespect shown by some board members.

Burnett cited poor communications between board members and between the board and the physicians, resulting in growing animosity. Burnett urged the board to take steps to heal their relationship if they were to continue the working agreement.

Dr. Judith Boyle then complained about her treatment by board members Walt Bousman and Jensen, who refused to discuss contract issues with her and had discussions with other clinic staff behind her back, offering the position to Dr. Alex Constantinides if Boyle were to leave.

Burnett then reminded the board that both sides have a 90-day termination clause in the contract and that the physicians will need to make contract decisions by the end of March 2005, which is less than six months away.

“By the time you hire a director, you may have no physicians,” Burnett said.

In response, Worl reminded Boyle that she had called to discuss Boyle’s application for other positions and discussed the fact that , if she left, the board wished to retain Constantinides.

Barney stated, “I felt, from comments you made in my presence, that you were leaving.”

After several requests for a formal apology met with no action by any board member, Boyle read the following prepared statement directed to board members Bousman and Jensen.

“I, the staff of Pinedale Medical Clinic and members of the public are still awaiting a formal apology from you regarding your misguided and malicious interference in my contract negotiations. Stories from multiple co-workers at the Pinedale Medical Clinic, including Dr. Alex, attest to your malfeasance and generation of rumor and innuendo.

“Any working relationship with you has been severely altered by your behavior. Behavior like this from elected officials is inexcusable. Both of you should strongly consider resigning from your posts. Your tactics in no way are proactive for the health care of the citizens you were elected to serve ... Board members who know about the actions that were committed and continue to protect those who engaged in the malfeasance should also be taken to task.

“Citizens who want a viable health care system in Sublette County should write our governor with their thoughts. Grassroots efforts can be effective especially when elected officers choose not to be.”

At this point, the physicians left the meeting and there was no further discussion by the board of this issue.

Henry Schmidt, undersheriff of the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office, addressed the board concerning the existing Pinedale ambulance barn and asked that Tip Top Search and Rescue be allowed to acquire that facility if a new ambulance facility is built in conjunction with the Pinedale Clinic remodeling.

The board expressed agreement and will attend a joint meeting with the Sublette County Commissioners to discuss the possibility.

Community member Bill Schertz again addressed the board about his concerns with the Pinedale clinic design, especially in the area of heating and ventilation systems. His comments have been forwarded to the architects.

The request for funding to clean the Marbleton-Big Piney Clinic carpets was raised again and a vote ended with a 2-2 tie, with Board Member Garry Eiden and Barney voting aye and Bousman and Worl voting nay. Jensen broke the tie with an aye vote with the condition that this would not set precedent and that this would also be done for the Pinedale clinic, commenting, “If you rent a house, you don’t expect the landlord to clean the carpets.”

Three preliminary drawings of the planned remodel of the Pinedale clinic were reviewed by the board and the architect will be asked to provide a new design combining features of two of the proposals.

Regarding the hiring of a director/administrator/coordinator, the board allocated $4,000 to advertise the position for 30 days. Remaining agenda items were tabled and the board went into executive session to discuss purchase of property for the Marbleton-Big Piney Clinic.

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