Fitzsimmons: Let's start over


Let’s face it: The process that we have been using to find a management partner for our future hospital has been flawed, perhaps to the point of failure. It began with developing an RFP (meant to be widely disseminated within the industry) with Ralph Lewellyn of Eide Bailly, a man with an incredible store of experience in doing exactly this. The joint planning committee decided not to follow that process, essentially limiting our choices to a very few organizations, each with its own problematic idiosyncrasies. Throughout, it’s been controlled by the SCRHCD with its own vested interests and serious concerns of conflicted motivations. The Joint Planning Committee has been ignored; as a result of that the merger is uncertain. Then we went through a contracted process of three interviews, which yielded no clarity on the issue.

Now St. John’s has pulled out. They have given us their reasons, but it’s likely these are polite fictions and we may have damaged relations with an old and trusted partner. I hope not. We are left with only two choices, Star Valley or HCA, the largest for-profit health-care organization in the world (which had $43-billion profit in a pandemic year)! Not a great choice! For me, HCA may be a non-starter. I cannot see Sublette County being happy with a hospital whose main focus is ROI (Return on Investment). Star Valley I believe can be the partner we need, but we may be rolling the dice in choosing them.

The lack of choices is dismal indeed, but we do have one more choice. We can restart this process, placing it under the control of Mr. Lewellyn or someone with equivalent expertise such as Mark Cross. This would undoubtedly result in us having a wider and more palatable range of options. Like all of us, I do not relish the thought of starting over, but I think we need to consider that as an option, in light of where this process now stands, which is in tatters. It may be to our advantage to be patient; the near future may be an unwise time to build anything with the extraordinary inflation in prices of building materials. And if we have no hospital, what is the hurry in obtaining management?

The important thing is: when you’re in a hole (and we are), QUIT DIGGING!

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