PINEDALE – The Sublette County Rural Health Care District (SCRHCD) and Hospital District boards moved closer to financial union at consecutive meetings held on April 21 in Marbleton.
The transfer of all finances and assets from the SCRHCD to the Hospital District is scheduled for the end of the fiscal year on July 1. With that deadline looming, the Hospital District board of trustees voted unanimously to authorize several members of the SCRHCD business office to begin the process of transferring ownership on certain accounts, including retirement funds and investments, between the entities.
The employees given the authority included Dave Doorn, SCRHCD administrative director, Kelli Lovell, finance manager, Michelle Stauthamer, staff accountant, and Brittany White, human resources and payroll.
Doorn told the SCRHCD trustees that Lovell was taking the lead on working through financial agreements with Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance firms to prepare for the transition.
The Hospital District also passed a motion authorizing Doorn to sign ongoing service contracts on behalf of both boards.
The Hospital District trustees passed a motion to adopt a board vacancy policy and code of conduct to begin the search for a new board member following the resignation of Dr. Brendan Fitzsimmons. Tonia Hoffman, board chairwoman, stated that the Hospital District’s attorney vetted the vacancy policy and code of conduct.
The Hospital Board will begin a 30-day public advertising period for the vacancy with a tentative goal to fill the seat at next month’s regular board meeting, Hoffman stated. The structure for the interview process was to be determined, though Hoffman added that each candidate will receive the same set of questions in advance. Hoffman encouraged interested members of the public to contact her.
Doorn reported to both boards that the loan application with the U.S. Department of Agriculture was nearly complete. A final, revised financial report from Eide Bailly was expected next week, he said.
The SCRHCD’s attorney, Rachel Weksler, was working on the agreement with the Highland Irrigation District to relocate a ditch running through the district’s property and the paperwork was nearly ready to sign, Doorn added.
Doorn hoped to have the USDA loan application complete and ready to submit by early May.
Trustee Jamison Ziegler told the board that the building committee received six responses from construction firms to the request for qualifications for a construction management company and contractor. Emily Ray, SCRHCD communications director, said the final deadline to receive RFQs was May 17.
The six respondents were highly qualified and were “hungry to get to work,” Ziegler added. Once the board confirms a manager at risk and approves pre-pricing, that will trigger the bidding process for contractors, Ziegler explained. Ziegler stated that the board’s goal was to break ground on the critical access hospital in August.
SCRHCD board chairman Mike Pompy said that work was continuing on the merger between the Sublette Center and SCRHCD and Hospital District. SCRHCD trustee Kari DeWitt said that the initial goal for a merger on July 1 would likely be pushed back. The Sublette Center remained committed to the process, but the procedure to combine a private, nonprofit entity with a governmental entity involved complicated legal work that was expected to take longer than three months, DeWitt added.
The looming fiscal year deadline had Sublette Center administration and financial staff “maxed out,” DeWitt said, and the center needed “a little more time” to do its due diligence on the merger.
Hospital District trustee Kenda Tanner reported that a meeting was scheduled between representatives from the boards and Sublette Center staff to answer questions and address employee concerns during the last week of April.
Ballfields and management agreement
Doorn said he was approached by the Pinedale Little League and adult softball league requesting use of the old ball fields, now owned by the SCRHCD, until the new ball fields are completed in early July.
The SCRHCD board of trustees voted unanimously to allow the leagues to use the old ball fields through July 1 pending proper liability was in place.
Star Valley Health CEO Daniel Ordyna and Chief Operating Officer Mike Hunsaker attended the SCHRCD and Hospital District board meeting. During the Hospital District meeting, Hoffman reported that the trustees received a draft agreement for management with Star Valley Health.
The Hospital Board will submit the draft to its attorney and enter into final negotiations with Star Valley Health over the next 30 days, Hoffman said.
Hoffman announced that the final version of the bylaws were completed and will be posted on the Hospital District’s website.