Rural Health Care Board meeting - notes
Tuesday, March 20, Marbleton Town Hall
by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online! Reporter's Notes
March 21, 2007
Editor’s Comment: The notes below are brief highlights of last night’s meeting. Reporters from both the Sublette Examiner and Pinedale Roundup newspapers also were present and covering this. See tomorrow's newspapers, March 22 edition, for more detailed reports on discussions and action items at this Rural Health Care Board meeting. – Dawn Ballou, Editor
The Sublette County Rural Health Care Board met for their regular meeting at the Marbleton Town Hall on Tuesday evening in front of a large audience of concerned citizens. Board members in attendance were Bill Budd, Dave Racich and Walt Bousman. Jud Faler was absent due to being in Texas for medical reasons. Garry Eiden was absent due to illness. Director Randy Johnson was also present.
Executive Session: After approving the minutes from their last meeting, they immediately went into Executive Session to discuss a real estate purchase and terms of employment topics. The executive session was questioned by members of the audience, as well as by Cat Urbigkit, representing the Sublette Examiner newspaper.
Real Estate/EMT Housing: In regular session, the Board approved the purchase of property in Pinedale which will be used for housing of EMT personnel. This was the real estate issue discussed in their Executive Session. The Board is purchasing the house to get out of paying high rent.
Medical Personnel Contracts: The Board said that employment contracts are now in the hands of the attorneys in Cheyenne for final approval and should go out by next week to offer positions to local medical staff. Dr. Boyle should have a contract in the next couple of days. The Board will be doing all they can to actively recruit more doctors, nurses, and lab people to Sublette County.
Construction Update: Under the construction update, Randy Johnson reported that the skeletal steel is all up on the new Pinedale Medical Clinic and the project is “ahead of schedule and under budget.”
Big Piney/Marbleton Clinic Progress: The Board voted to have the architects move ahead with the design process for the Marbleton/Big Piney clinic. Concerns were raised from citizens about whether public input would be incorporated into the final design. The Board said they weren’t committing to anything or approving anything at this point, they are just giving the architects permission to move ahead with the design process.
Financial Report: Chief Financial Officer Lorraine Gatzke reported that financial statements through February should be ready by the end of the month. She is working on a less complicated, “at-a-glance” budget which will show the balances and where they are over and under on expenditures.
Air Ambulance Helicopter Proposal: No decision was made on the proposal to purchase the helicopter air ambulance service proposed by Appleby Aviation out of Oregon.
Health Care Coalition Concerns: Representatives from the Sublette County Health Care Coalition brought forward citizen concerns for the need for more doctors in the local clinics and contracts for existing medical staff in the county. They suggested if permanent people are not available at this time, the Board might look into temporary services to get people in the interim. They questioned agenda items that went from "Tabled" to "Resolved" between last meeting and this meeting without a decision being made before the public at today's meeting or an explanation of how those agenda items had been resolved. Concern was raised that the IT contract was changed to a new company without that decision being made before the public at a regular meeting. Cindy Van questioned how the new IT company would handle sensitive patient medical information and what their backup and response time would be on the computer system in case of a computer emergency. HCC members again asked for an interim audit of the financial records (Bill Budd responded, "Be patient, will happen soon").
Public Comment: During a lengthy audience public comment session, citizens and the Sublette Examiner re-stated their objections to unnecessary Executive Sessions, action items and decisions being made outside of public meetings, lack of communication and openness by the Board, and billing and financial statement issues. The issue of the termination of the IT contract for Green River Computer Systems was again questioned by a member of the audience trying to pin down how the decision was made to hire the new firm and let GRCS go when it had gone from tabled at the last meeting to "resolved" on the agenda for this meeting. After several, "I don't know" blank look answers by various board members (Racich was absent at the last meeting and Bousman said last he knew it was tabled), Bill Budd finally said Kip Boone had made the decision, with his knowledge, and they had hired a firm out of Kemmerer which the county is using for other IT things. The switch and new contract were done without the knowledge of all the board members and without a formal action vote at a public meeting. The issue will be readdressed at the next public meeting.
Public Relations: Director Randy Johnson said they are working on getting more staff and improving public relations. He said anyone with questions is welcome to visit him at his office or call him during regular office hours (which are “8 am to dark thirty”). His phone number is (307)367-2099.
3/23/07 Update: Official Meeting Minutes: Click on this link for the minutes from the secretary of the RHCD. Meeting Minutes for March 20, 2007 RHCD Board