From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 5, Number 14 - June 30, 2005
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

RHCD signs doctor for Marbleton Clinic

by Bill Boender

The Sublette County Rural Health Care District Board met in Marbleton Monday, June 27, in a regular meeting which saw a number of interested citizens in attendance. Director Randy Johnson updated the board on progress with several issues.

An offer of employment to Dr. Doug LaSuer has been made and accepted. LaSuer will receive an annual salary of $130,000 and a $20,000 sign-on bonus. Benefits include health insurance, retirement plan, three weeks vacation and fully paid malpractice insurance.

An Idaho Falls consultant will be retained to complete a review of LaSuer's credentials. His employment will be subject to favorable completion of that review and a six-month probationary period.

Regarding other personnel for the Marbleton Clinic, Johnson advised that there have been a few other applicants but no solid prospects at this time. The search will continue.

Dr. David Burnett spoke to the board regarding a proposal that Wyoming Range Medical Group submitted two weeks ago that outlined two possible scenarios for coverage. The board did not consider that proposal and tabled the matter.

Robin Miley addressed the board with a request for information regarding clinic operation and costs for the month of June as soon as that data is available. Board Member Bill Barney indicated that data could not be assembled in that short time. Burnett suggested that vouchers to be paid for the month would include most costs and will be totaled and available.

Barney added, "What you're asking for is precisely what we need." Chairman Jerry Jensen agreed to provide as much information as was available by the next meeting, scheduled for Monday, July 11.

Dr. Judy Boyle asked the board about the employment status of LaSuer to determine if he will be a contract physician or an employee of the board. Jensen confirmed that LaSuer will be an employee and that the board will manage and operate the clinic. Boyle asked, 'Is that the direction we're going in Pinedale as well?"

Barney replied, "I don't see this as precedent-setting," indicating that the direction in Pinedale will depend on the people at that clinic.

Board Member Garry Eiden again objected to the board running the Marbleton Clinic, stating: "We don't have the talent to run a clinic. It was great the way it was."

Board Member Mary Lynn Worl responded to Boyle with: "I think the Pinedale clinic will continue as it is. It may change, but will be subject to discussion with you."

Boyle concluded: "A lot of us are very wary about what is happening. We need to start a dialogue."

Board Clerk Jauna McGinnis read figures from the preliminary budget indicating a total annual budget for next year of $12,818,837. Final figures will be set at the July 20 budget meeting.

The subject of increases in ambulance fees and pay raises for employees was tabled until the board can gather information about pay and rates at other similar operations around the state.

Discussion turned to the potential location of the Marbleton Clinic, which was the item of interest to most who attended. Sublette County Commissioner Betty Fear strongly urged the board to keep the clinic in town and not move it to the proposed airport location. Fear said: "You have the opportunity to leave it here. It is important to have community centers. The Town of Marbleton has offered to vacate a street for you, which is an unusual offer. People are skeptical and we will be more interested and critical."

Big Piney Mayor Phil Smith agreed that the board needs to get more public input before considering a move out of town. When Barney objected to discussing the issue because it "was not on the agenda," Smith reminded him that they were in the public comment portion of the agenda and that it was appropriate to discuss this matter.

The subject of powerline interference with air ambulance service was raised as a reason to move to the airport and it was suggested that powerlines might easily be put underground in any area of concern. This would be much cheaper than infrastructure costs at an out-of-town location, as pointed out by Fear in her comments.

Barney advised that Armstrong Consultants had been retained to advise the board about safety considerations for air ambulance service.

Eiden responded: "Merciful heavens! These are the same people who did the Marbleton helipad design."

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