The Big Piney Town
Council heard a pitch requesting support
for the special hospital district ballot initiative
that will ease the proposed merger of
Sublette County Rural Health Care District
and the Sublette Center.
Town councilmembers and public questioned
how the hospital district would
expand services and hours at the Marbleton-
Big Piney Clinic.
RHCD board members Tonia Hoffman,
Mike Pompy and spokesperson Emily Ray,
along with Sublette Center board member
Kenda Tanner, updated the council on the
status of the proposed critical access hospital
at the Pinedale Clinic.
Hoffman, the Big Piney school nurse,
said both boards have had many meetings
to work through to this point. She said the
COVID-19 situation makes it difficult to
plan public question-and-answer sessions
about their need for a hospital district and
the extra mill levy that it brings for revenues.
The extra mil would cost taxpayers
$19.53 a year for a $200,000 property evaluation.
“We have a memorandum of understanding
with the Sublette Center that will
let us merge our organizations – they are
not for profit; we are government,” Hoffman
said. “We would like to bring a merger
of those two entities.”
Plans would then lead to the “new very
modest” critical access hospital in Pinedale
with eight beds, a long-term care nursing
home facility and 10 memory care units
for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s.
It will also have a dedicated Title 25 room
for involuntary psychiatric holds, saving
the county money.
As revenues grow, Hoffman said she is
“hopeful” that 24-hour care could be reinstated
at the Marbleton-Big Piney Clinic,
which residents have requested since the
new CAH was proposed.
“We have two new providers here,”
she said. “Our long-term goal is to get
this (CAH) facility built and expand down
Tanner said the Sublette Center is more
than 40 years old so it can’t qualify for U.S.
Department of Agriculture loans. “Without
this merger and vote, the Sublette Center
has no other options.”
Greg Eiden, speaking as a citizen, said,
“We’ve heard that on this end (south
county). It all goes to that end (Pinedale).
Ninety percent of the people in Pinedale are
government employees and down here, we
don’t have any money.”
“It’s at the top of our list,” Hoffman said.
Tanner said that the county needs to
build the best medical facilities to get more
people to come here, because that is one
feature people look for when relocating.
Councilmember Michelle Hymas
agreed, saying she hears conversations
among people who want to come to Sublette
“If it’s going to cost me $20 a year to
help get a facility, sign me up,” she said.
Eiden repeated that there “is no guarantee”
and asked why the entities need a new
hospital district and another mil if clinic
revenues are breaking even.
“I am committed and the board is all
equally committed to this,” Hoffman said.
County commissioners have agreed to provide
$20 million to the venture if the hospital
district is approved in November.
“We’re moving at least in the right direction,”
said Mayor Tyler Maxfield, adding
that the expanding fiber-optic broadband
means more people will be able to work
The lean past of trying to bring in qualified
health-care medical employees is no
longer the case, Ray added. “We have a
waiting list of people now. People who
would love to move here.”
Pompy also addressed Maxfield, Hymas
and councilmembers Sherri Redden, Scott
Scherbel and Stafford Polk IV – “We’re
working to get 24-hour service back down
here. We live down here too. All of this has
been to moving toward a CAH and provide
services not here now.”
He explained that the memory-care wing
is expected to fill up quickly because of
their lack in western Wyoming. He cited
strong support from county commissioners,
Marbleton and Pinedale, saying the USDA
needs to hear about countywide support.
“I’m excited to see everyone working
together,” Maxfield said.
Another issue the council discussed is
the late-night placing of flags on the town
“We don’t want people to climb it,”
Hymas said. “I think they are coming over
from the bar. I think we’ve got to figure out
who is doing it.”
Maxfield explained that the concern is
not the flag’s political message but that
someone might get hurt. There is an ordinance
against climbing the derrick with
a $750 fine. Installing a trail cam was the
preferred solution over fencing and locking