Volume 5, Number 16 - July 14, 2005
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WRM group requests malpractice insurance funding
The Sublette County Rural Health Care Board met Monday, July 11, in Marbleton in a regular meeting with Garry Eiden and Director Randy Johnson absent. The status of the Marbleton Clinic operation and physician coverage was discussed, noting that three temporary and one permanent doctor are currently providing coverage. The search for permanent employees continues.
Robin Miley's request for cost comparison numbers was deferred until the next scheduled meeting on July 25, as all data for June had not yet been compiled.
Dr. Darcy Turner addressed the board concerning the Wyoming Range Medical Group proposal for clinic operation, which was presented to the board several weeks ago. Turner noted that his proposal was just a "wish list" and was subject to negotiation. As was the case at the last meeting, the board chose not to consider or discuss the proposal.
Board Member Mary Lynn Worl stated: "We are operating the clinic by necessity. We have two models at different ends of the county and still need to decide on a direction."
Adding to that, Board Member Bill Barney noted: "The same conditions that led to dissatisfaction are still there. We need to address those issues before we go back to that."
Board Chairman Jerry Jensen agreed saying: "I don't want to go back. We need to go forward while keeping dialogue open."
Turner asked the board for its mission statement or policy and procedure manual so that he would be able to properly address his concerns. Barney noted that the board is in the process of revising and completing a new policy and procedure manual.
Turner noted that his request for access to the clinic so his group could utilize needed equipment was submitted 10 days ago without response and was told that a protocol would have to be developed before that could happen.
Continuing his request list, Turner asked if the board would consider paying all or part of the malpractice insurance costs for his group since they are paying those costs for other physicians.
Jensen reminded Turner that when he and Dr. David Burnett decided to leave, it was their choice to practice on their own and questioned why they now want access to the clinic and help with insurance costs.
Barney noted that providing insurance was a tool to enhance recruitment and retention of doctors at county clinics. He also noted that a complaint was filed recently with the state medical board regarding a physician practicing at the clinic without a license or insurance. It was confirmed that all regulations had been complied with and the complaint was unfounded. The state board would not release the identity of the complainant.
Moving on to other business, board members agreed to appoint Walt Bousman and Andy McGinnis to represent them in design and construction of a new ambulance barn to be constructed in Pinedale by the Sublette County Commissioners. Bousman, McGinnis and Johnson will meet with the commissioners at their next scheduled meeting.
Rising costs and operating losses in ambulance services caused the board to consider and approve a rate increase for that service. The base rate for ambulance runs will increase from $350 to $445 and associated costs such as mileage and medical supplies will be increased by 27 percent across the board. This increase is expected to cover projected costs through fiscal year 2007.
The subject of increased need for emergency medical service was addressed and the board agreed to move toward more paid members as volunteers were not filling scheduling needs. Steps will be taken to see that wages and housing costs, which make recruitment difficult, are considered when the new budget is put together.
A request from the Pinedale cemetery to assist in the cost of replacing the water line to the cemetery and the Pinedale Medical Clinic was considered and approved. The existing six-inch line will be replaced with a new eight- or ten-inch line to address future expansion possibilities. Cost is anticipated to be around $120,000, with the board covering half that amount.
The next meeting of the board is scheduled for Monday, July 25, in Pinedale.
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