A Bit of History: Wanting a hospital in Sublette County
by Pinedale Online!
January 23, 2018
Residents have been wanting and talking about building a hospital in the Pinedale/Big Piney area for a long time. A review of the Pinedale Roundup newspaper, which began in 1904 with the founding of Pinedale, provides an interesting picture of the ups and downs chronicling the hospital idea.
March 4, 1915: "Marbleton to build hospital"
September 19, 1940: "County hospital drive"
August 7, 1941: "Hospital idea shelved"
January 18, 1945: "New hospital in Jackson"
February 28, 1946: "County hospital drive by Lions Club"
July 18, 1946: "Clubhouse to be moved to Pinedale for hospital"
September 18, 1946: "Roundup editorial about hospital"
October 24, 1946: "Hospital project"
September 25, 1952: "Hospital controversy"
October 2, 1952: "Hospital board report"
October 9, 1952: "School and hospital bond proposals"
July 9, 1959: "Hospital survey"
May 3, 1962: "County without hospital"
August 8, 1963: "Hospital possibilities"
November 14, 1963: "Hospital pledge drive fails"
May 13, 1965: "Hospital meeting"
July 15, 1965: "Hospital survey"
December 2, 1965: "Hospital talks continue"
March 24, 1966: "Hospital petition"
April 14, 1966: "Hospital reports"
April 28, 1966: "Weekly hospital plans"
July 28, 1966: "Hospital report"
October 6, 1966: "No hospital vote"
January 5, 1967: "Hospital accord reached"
February 15, 1967: "Hospital idea problems"
April 4, 1968: "The hospital question – after 3 years – put to a vote"
August 22, 1968: "Hospital bond passes"
September 5, 1968: "Hospital Construction board formed"
November 7, 1968: "Petition challenges hospital"
April 10, 1969: "Anti-hospital petition ruled void"
November 20, 1969: "R. Green’s letter re hospital and lack of"
November 27, 1969: "Cheyenne turns down hospital bonds, kills hospital"
September 14, 1972: "Hospital board news"
February 20, 1975: "Hospital donation"
April, September, November, 1975: "Hospital Board"
April, May, August, September 1976: "Hospital meetings"
January, August 1977: "Hospital meetings"
February 9, 1978: "Hospital funds"
April 27, 1978: "Hospital collection"
November 7, 1984: "Hospital bills Town for wounded suspect"
December 6, 1984: "Hospital sues for Raper’s bill"
January 17, 1985: "Hospital sues Town"
In 1951, the Sublette County Memorial Hospital Board was formed to administer health care in Sublette County. Five individuals were appointed to the board by the County Commissioners and it was funded from the county's 12 mils. In 1986, an election was held to form the Sublette County Rural Health Care District which was run by a 5-member elected board. Pinedale and Marbleton ultimately got medical clinics which were physician directed, and county emergency medical services were manned by volunteers. Paid emergency service started in June 2004. The Sublette County Rural Health Care District took over the operations of the Marbleton/Big Piney Clinic in May 2005 and the Pinedale Medical Clinic in July 2006. In 2006, the two existing ambulance services merged to form the Sublette County EMS. A new clinic and ambulance barn was built in Pinedale in 2007 and in Marbleton in 2009. The District is currently financially supported by a 2 mill tax levy.
With the naming of the new $30 million critical access hospital facility to be built in Pinedale as "Sublette County Medical Center," will the county medical advocates be satisfied they have finally gotten their long-desired ‘hospital’?
In the June 15, 1961 edition of the Pinedale Roundup there was a front page article talking about a hospital in Sublette County. Fifty seven years ago residents were hashing some of the same issues tossed about in the hospital discussion today. Below is a copy of that article, reprinted with permission from the Pinedale Roundup.
Hospital planning renewed
June 15, 1961, Pinedale Roundup
Sublette county’s perennial projects, a hospital, was revived last week when two men from the State department of health met with members of the county hospital board. Al Buckingham, director of community services and health education, and Tom Bruny, director of the division of medical services discussed the hospital with the board and other interested in the facility.
Main stumblin block as explained by one board member was the location of a proposed hospital. Pinedale and Big Piney sites had been proposed with residents of one community threatening not to use the hospital if it were located in the other town.
Bruny said that the county residents should make up their minds now, "or 100 years from now you’ll still be feuding about this."
The two Cheyenne men urged a self study to analyze the county’s health needs and to accumulate data to use in hospital planning.
(Two years ago, in an informal newspaper ballot, 208 county residents returned ballots printed in the county’s two newspapers. Of this total 166 favored a hospital construction. The votes were evenly divided on the choice of location, 104 each favoring Pinedale and Big Piney.)
The use of federal aid, administered by the state was discussed. The federal funds are available only for construction and equipping the hospital; there are no funds available to cover operating expenses. One-third of the cost of the hospital may be obtained through the Hill-Burton funds for a diagnostic and treatment center (with no provisions for overnight hospitalization), one-half of the construction cost may be obtained. The same percentage applies to nursing homes.
Also discussed was the possibility of an outside organization, the Lutheran Home and Hospital society, operating the hospital. This group currently runs about one-third of the state’s hospitals.
It was brought out that this county is now the only one in the state without a hospital facility and that Pinedale is further from a hospital than any other town in the state. The county has an "A" priority with the state for the Hill-Burton funds should they desire to use them. It was also pointed out that the use of federal funds may raise the cost of construction.