A proposed merger between
the Sublette County Rural Health Care
District and the Sublette Center is moving forward,
District Administrative Director David
Doorn stated at a public question and answer
session at Rendezvous Pointe on June 4.
Doorn said that rumors circulating about
the merger falling through were not true.
The merger still has “three contingencies”
that representatives of the each board need to
work out. Otherwise, pending a vote from the
health care district board, plans are moving
forward to join the two entities together and
2 many clerks
spoil the budget
Commissioners debate merits of budget requests
By Holly Dabb, [email protected]
make ends meet or $480,000 for the year.
They also asked for more funds to remodel
sections of the facility. Commissioners verbally
agreed to the extra $5,000 but refused
to consider any improvement to the facility
pending the outcome of a proposed merger
with Sublette County Rural Health Care
Both senior centers in Marbleton and
Pinedale kept requests at last year’s levels,
but both said they could use more. Commissioners
gave a verbal consensus to add
$2,000 for each senior center.
With many agencies requesting more
money this year, Rawhouser said that while
each request had merit, at the end it would
come down to whether or not the budget
Vickrey compared the budget to a bucket
and each added request as filling the bucket.
“At some point we run out of bucket,”
At that point, commissioners looked at
proposed upgrades to the Pinedale trash
transfer station. The $1.2 million upgrade
included a concrete pad and a building.
Commissioners agreed the concrete pad
could be built this year and $600,000 for
the building could be come next year.
“That just shot a hole and emptied your
bucket,” Noble said. He told Vickrey, who
Merger with Sublette Center still in the works
By Robert Galbreath, [email protected]
Discuss other issues
at public meeting
discuss possible options for new facilities that
“will benefit both,” Doorn said.
Resident Kelly Ravner voiced concern that
there was no public input in the merger, and
that an earlier attempt to join the two entities
failed. Ravner referred to mediations between
the district and Sublette Center that took place
under facilitator Mark Cross in 2017-2018.
Cross, hired by the county commissioners
in December 2016, advised against a merger
due to the high overhead costs to operate the
Sublette Center at a workshop on Jan. 8, 2018.
Doorn stated at the June 4 meeting that he
disagreed with Cross’ assessment. A merger
will “make the whole county stronger,” he
said. Once the Sublette Center becomes a
government entity, the amount of Medicaid
reimbursement available to fund a project like
a critical access hospital and assisted living
facility will increase, Doorn explained.
Doorn reported that he met with architects
to go over “lots of options” for a critical access
hospital using the Pinedale Medical
Clinic site. The plans require half the square
footage in new construction that the Bloomfield
plan called for.
Negotiations with the city and school district
about a possible land swap to relocate the
ballpark are underway, Doorn added.
“The county and towns are all working
well together,” Board Chairman Wendy
Public feedback on building a critical access
hospital at the Pinedale Clinic site was
generally positive, Doorn reported. He cited
a meeting he attended with Lorraine Werner
of the USDA about the CAH application process.
Doorn said Werner told him that out of
the 350 emails she received, 90 percent supported
a hospital, but 70 percent opposed
building a new facility at the Bloomfield site.
Part of applying for a USDA loan requires
widespread community support along with
financial feasibility, Doorn explained.
“We are taking steps to change what happened
in the past and repair relationships with
the Sublette Center, County Commissioners
and the mayors,” he said.
Board member Mike Pompy emphasized
at the meeting that all of the conversations and
negotiations about a future critical access hospital
and its location, or an assisted living facility,
were not official board decisions yet but
only preliminary discussions. The health
care district board must vote on all steps
in the process at a public meeting before
anything can go into affect.
Members of the public voiced concern
that they felt a lot of negotiations and
meetings were going on without public
input. Boman stressed that the district is
bound by regulations on public meetings.
She added that they planned to have more
public sessions to listen to concerns, and
invited members of the public to contact
board members directly and attend the
open meetings. Doorn stressed the importance
of the district creating a “clear
vision” on what are now only preliminary
plans before including public input
in board committee meetings.
Keeping quality practitioners
Rep. Albert Sommers, HD-20, asked
Doorn what he was doing to “improve
employee morale” and retain quality
practitioners. Sommers expressed
concern that finding CNAs to staff any
proposed assisted living facility will be
a challenge, and asked if the board had
carried out a “workforce need survey.”
Doorn responded that finding practitioners
is difficult. However, he stated
that the merger will help CNAs since
they would receive county benefits. He
added that he plans to “make sure all (employees)
feel secure” and to be “fair and
open” in employee discussions. Doorn
said that the merger does not mean any
layoffs are pending at this time.
Resident Marilyn Huffman stated that
her daughter worked as a nurse at the
“You need to take care of your (employees),”
she said. Nurses and other staff
had not received raises for years other
than the recent cost of living adjustment
passed by the previous board, she added.
Boman responded that the cost of living
adjustment was twice the amount
originally proposed, and stated that district
employees received a 5-percent
bonus in May 2017.
Huffman responded that the cost of
living adjustment was not enough, and
only amounted to about 25 cents for
nurses like her daughter.
In response to questions about the district’s
finances, Doorn said his goal is to
“be responsible with taxpayer money.”
He discussed how the district was consolidating
administrative positions, “tightening
the ship” to save money and “turn the
funds back over to patient care.”
Some of the savings might be used to
help upgrade some of the district’s ageing
radiology equipment, hire another
provider and prepare the application for
a critical access hospital.
“Our cash flow is even right now,”
“We are spending as much as we are
bringing in now,” said Pompy. “We’re
working on being more responsible with