Volume 5, Number 6 - May 5, 2005
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RHCD discusses clinic concerns
In response to concerns about the status of plans for clinic construction, Randy Johnson, director for the Sublette County Rural Health Care Board, provided a summary of the items being considered by the board in making the decision to build one central clinic in Daniel or to build two clinics to replace existing facilities. Some points in opposition were added by members of the Sublette County Commission.
The following points support a single Daniel clinic.
• This would provide a single, centralized emergency room for emergencies, increasing the standard of care. Ambulance service would continue to be based in the communities to keep response time short.
• Better access would be provided for specialty physicians such as orthopedics, cardiology and obstetrics who could see more patients without splitting their time between clinics.
• Operating costs and staffing could be reduced by as much as $1 million per year with a single clinic.
• Office hours could be extended with more providers available to accommodate those who need appointments after usual work hours.
• A single clinic would allow doctors to share experience and expensive equipment, reducing the present need to duplicate items.
• A centralized operation would reduce management time for doctors, allowing more time to practice medicine rather than doing paperwork.
Disadvantages of a single clinic include the following.
• The majority of patients would have to travel 15 to 25 miles each way for clinic visits.
• The inconvenience for users and the change itself will be politically unpopular.
• Travel will be stressful for the elderly and chronically ill and will increase traffic flow. Some may find it difficult to make and keep appointments in times of poor winter road conditions.
• Much planning done for two clinics would need to be scrapped and the planning process restarted. The search for a location would involve cost and time.
• EMS transport time would increase and ambulances would have more miles and time on the road.
• Students needing service will lose a half-day of school to visit a clinic.
• Working people will also lose more time from jobs with the travel involved.
• EMS service are already stretched and the added travel will add to their work load.
• Opposition to a single clinic may result in dissolution of the current health care board in order to establish two boards for handling the needs of each portion of the county. A petition to dissolve could result in that happening within a few months.
The Sublette County Rural Health Care Board will hold town meetings in Pinedale and Marbleton in the coming weeks to solicit public input on this matter. Times and dates will be announced soon.
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