From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 4, Number 7 - May 13, 2004
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Big Piney-Marbleton EMTs to go to paid service

by Bill Boender

The Sublette County Rural Health Care Board met Monday, May10, at the Big Piney Library with all members present. After setting the agenda, approving minutes of prior meetings and issuing physicians' checks, the board discussed air conditioning for the Pinedale Clinic and the new helicopter pad for the Marbleton Clinic.

No action was taken on the air conditioning but a request for quotes will be sent to Bridger Mechanical for lease or rental of temporary units for the summer. Plans for the helipad are 75 percent completed by Armstrong Consultants. The board agreed to purchase the lighting equipment direct to avoid mark-up by the engineer, and to advertise for local contractors to perform the installation of lights, wiring and paving.

Discussion then moved to physicians' contract negotiations and the status of meetings between the doctors and an accountant hired by the board to obtain financial data and prepare an analysis for consideration. Dr. David Burnett reported that he had not yet been contacted for information that he agreed to share three weeks ago. Dr. Judy Boyle was not in attendance. A special meeting was set for May 24 to review the data if it can be gathered and prepared by that date.

The public and board members' perception of the nature of the physician contracts was discussed at length, with opinions differing as to whether it is a contract for services or if it is a subsidy. Burnett stated that he didn't feel the board had an understanding and agreement within itself as to the nature of the contract. If it is a contract for services, then operational profitability should not be a concern of the board.

Board Member Bill Barney agreed that there would be vigorous debate between reasonable people as to how costs should be determined and allocated, but the board needs to establish a starting point from which costs can be tracked and a formula for the future can be developed. Any plan would have to be a work in process, subject to adjustments as more data is available.

The board approved participation in the State of Wyoming-sponsored mutual aid agreement that will coordinate efforts between county emergency services in the event of major disasters.

Wil Gay of Pinedale Emergency Medical Services reported one new hire, bringing staffing to 22 members. The board approved hiring a part-time driver for the summer season.

Burnett announced to the board that the Big Piney-Marbleton EMT service wished to change from volunteer to paid service, which met with general agreement and approval of the board. Staffing is now at 16 with four more in classes. The target date for the change will be June 1. The board approved hiring either two full-time and two part-time or three full-time EMTs, depending on applications received.

Burnett felt there would be no problem filling these positions from the present staff and will request applications. Board Member Mary Lynn Worl objected to hiring without advertising the openings, but the board voted to proceed without advertising based on Dr. Burnett's assurance that the present staff was very dedicated and capable of continued coverage under the revised plan.

Chairman Walt Bousman reported that a meeting with the Sublette County Commissioners was very positive and they confirmed support for the new construction needed at both clinics. Grants will be pursued to cover as much cost as possible with the remainder to come from funds already budgeted and from the county.

The towns of Marbleton and Big Piney have been advised that the board is seeking a three-to-five-acre site for construction of a new clinic and asked for their assistance in locating an appropriate piece of property.

Several policy items were tabled for attorney review. Additional meetings set for May were confirmed, to include the 12th to hear from the administrator committee, the 19th for a budget hearing and the 24th for physician contract discussion.

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