From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 4, Number 51 - March 17, 2005
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

RHCB awards maintenance contract

by Bill Boender

In the second Sublette County Rural Health Care Board meeting of the month, with all members except Garry Eiden present, the board again discussed many issues but took action on few.

For the second time, a request for more office space at the Pinedale Medical Clinic was discussed and tabled until a size and use can be determined. Chairman Jerry Jensen suggested the board purchase a mobile unit that might later be used as temporary housing but Board Member Bill Barney felt a lease of a rental unit would be more effective. As there was no agreement as to size, type or timing required, no action was taken.

The heliport problems at Marbleton were discussed, but there has been no contact with the contractor who might be able to address the three-month-old problem. No action was taken.

In anticipation of not having a new physician in place by the May 26 contract termination, the board discussed retaining an agency to provide coverage for emergency services.

Dr. David Burnett advised the board that his new operation will only operate four days per week, alternating Monday to Thursday and Tuesday to Friday during normal business hours with no after-hour services.

A policy for background checks and drug testing was again on the agenda, but no action was taken as the board feels it needs to wait for legal opinion that is still not forthcoming.

Regarding clinic construction, all plans are still on hold. Rio Verde Engineering is expected to complete its analysis of ground conditions and space available at the Pinedale location later this week so that the board may determine whether or not new construction is possible. No efforts to locate property in Big Piney or Marbleton are underway at present.

“We need to concentrate on which direction we are going,” Jensen said.

Barney added: “The board needs to give the public an opportunity to vent their frustrations, listen to their concerns and settle on something. It’s easier to draw fire than plans, so let’s put some targets out there.”

Jensen continued, “We’re stuck in limbo – what are we going to do?” To which Barney replied, “Uncertainties are such that we would be rushing things if we try to decide now. We don’t have the time to make this decision.” The board consensus appeared to be that the newly hired director would have this matter as his first priority when he reports to work in April.

The possibility of a citizen working group to get public input on clinic design and location similar to the one used in the hiring of an administrator/director was discussed, but was not pursued as they have had no response to a request for citizen volunteers in a physician recruiting committee.

A letter from the Southwest Sublette County Pioneers presented to the board concerning health care advised the board on several matters, recommending that:

1. The county should not subsidize doctors.

2. The Rural Health Care Board does not need an administrator.

3. A three-member board would be more effective than the present five-member board.

4. New clinics are not needed.

5. The medical clinic should not be in Daniel.

The letter went on to state that the feeling of the group is that the problem lies with the board and not the doctors, suggesting the board operate as such and not try to micro-manage the clinics.

In other business, the board approved payment of moving expenses for new employee David Potter in the amount of $3,000.

They also awarded a maintenance contract for both clinics to low bidder Merritt-Robbins, Inc dba Specialty Builders of Boulder; the contract provides a monthly retainer of $1,200 with work billed at $40 per hour. The only other bid received was from Pfister Enterprises, which proposed a monthly fee for services of $8,800.

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