From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 5, Number 26 - September 22, 2005
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Czarnik on board Oct. 1

by Cat Urbigkit

The Sublette County Rural Health Care District has hired Dr. Tamarack Czarnik as one of the two physicians for the Marbleton/Big Piney Clinic. He'll come on board as a district employee on Oct. 1.

According to the minutes of a special meeting held in August to discuss hiring Czarnik, the board has set his annual salary at $152,607.74, with a sign-on bonus of $20,000. The board agreed to waive Czarnik's probation period for health insurance and retirement, as well as provide temporary housing until permanent housing can be secured. In addition, the board will pay Czarnik's moving expenses and 100 percent of Czarnik's malpractice insurance. The board agreed to provide five weeks of paid vacation time, while allowing an additional one week of unpaid vacation. Lastly, the board agreed that Czarnik will have no more than 1:3 call time.

Czarnik is the second physician the district has hired as an employee for the Marbleton clinic. According to RHCD Director Randy Johnson, Dr. Douglas LaSuer was hired in July, with an annual wage of $130,000; a sign-on bonus of $20,000; health, retirement and malpractice insurance; paid moving expenses and three weeks paid vacation. As with Czarnik, the board agreed to provide temporary housing for up to six weeks until permanent housing could be found.

This hiring deal is substantially different than in the past. This is the first time in recent history that the district has hired its own physician instead of simply contracting with a physician to operate the clinic. Under this new regime, the board will operate the clinic itself, rather than having the contracting physician responsible. The board is currently seeking to add nurses to the staff, so the monthly cost of running the clinic isn't yet apparent.

The Pinedale Medical Clinic operates under a different system. Instead of the district hiring the physicians and operating the clinic itself, the district contracts with Dr. Judy Boyle and it is Boyle's responsibility to see to clinic operations. That contract has a monthly payment to Boyle of $29,000, according to Johnson, for a yearly cost of $348,000.

Czarnik has received some fame for his involvement in The Mars Society, which the Journal of Pharmacy Practice reports is an organization promoting the near-term human exploration of Mars. Czarnik's interest led him to the aerospace medicine program of Wright State University, training for aviation-and space-related medical work, according to an article in the Dayton Daily News.

There have been other changes in the district operations as well. In the past, the medical director for the ambulance services has usually been a medical professional affiliated with one of the county's two clinics. That is no longer the case, with Dr. Doug Schmitz of Torrington now serving as medical director for both services. Johnson said that while Schmitz is not a physician practicing at either clinic in the county, this is a "fairly common situation" involving supervision from a distance. Johnson said the change allows for consistency between the county's two services, noting that Schmitz travels to the county on a regular basis to provide training and guidance.

When it comes to granting privileges to other doctors to see patients in the district's clinics, there are changes as well. When asked if Dr. Bill Close has clinic privileges, Johnson said while the paperwork isn't completed, Close "is welcome to come treat his patients." At least one doctor from Jackson has been granted privileges as well, according to the RHCD meeting minutes. But Dr. David Burnett and Dr. Darcy Turner of Wyoming Range Medical, the private clinic in competition for the RHCD's clinic business, have not been granted privileges, Johnson acknowledged.

When asked why, Johnson said that the district is nearing completion of the process for physicians to apply for credentials to use district facilities, but that process is not yet complete.

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