Volume 5, Number 5 - April 28, 2005
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No progress made on clinic question
In the Sublette County Rural Health Care District Board's third meeting of the month, the board concentrated on the issues of finding physicians for Marbleton and on the question of one or two clinics for the county.
Director Randy Johnson advised the board that progress had been made in recruiting temporary medical staff for the coming summer months, but there were still holes to fill. A schedule has been set up for interviews of prospective permanent doctors over the next few weeks. Two physicians are currently under consideration while two top prospects have accepted other positions.
Moving to the subject of clinic numbers and locations, Chairman Jerry Jensen read a letter from Board Member Walt Bousman that indicated a preference for two clinics is currently the case.
Board Member Mary Lynn Worl stated: "There is a misconception among the public that we have already made a decision. A single clinic does have merit."
Board Member Bill Barney expressed concern about the time that doctors are on call and the stress that causes. Barney said, "If they come here for the quality of life, they have no time to enjoy it." Regarding the number and location of clinics, Barney noted that there are trade-offs involved in that choice, stating, "We need to go far enough down that road to see what is desired."
Board Member Garry Eiden summed up his feelings about a single clinic, responding that "I would never support it."
Jensen added: "I'm not going to commit one way or the other. Right now we're at a crossroad. We need to make a choice."
Barney offered the opinion that the board has a lot of homework to do, suggesting that costs of the two proposals need to be compared in the areas of both construction costs and staffing costs and problems.
Eiden again asked the board to concentrate on staffing before proceeding with clinic construction, maintaining that they don't need clinics if they have no physicians. Jensen concurred, supporting hiring of physicians while they further study the clinic issue.
Some discussion was then directed to the possibility of alternating emergency services between Pinedale and Marbleton in order to at least have some coverage until full staffing can be achieved.
Jensen noted comments and letters from the Sublette County Commissioners that fully support the construction of two clinics rather than one, concluding, "We aren't going to make a decision tonight on one or two, but we should go back to the commissioners on the ambulance barn."
Community member Bill Schertz again prompted the board to consider using the same plan to build clinics at both locations. Common plans and construction could be done at great savings compared to different designs. Schertz felt both could be built for a cost of around $5 million.
A communication from attorney Betsy Greenwood confirmed to the board that Dr. Judy Boyle would no longer serve as medical director for the Pinedale Emergency Medical Service effective May 1. Arrangements have been made by the board to have that service performed by Dr. Doug Schmitz of Jackson, who is the Wyoming State Trauma Program director.
Director Randy Johnson proposed to the board that they adopt a logo, using a contest at the local high schools to gather input. A contest with a prize of $100 will be conducted in the graphic arts departments of both county schools.
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