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RHCD votes to aquire land, build CAH

MARBLETON – After Sublette County commissioners’ special meeting vote on April 12 to not deed clinic lands to the RHCD or give permission to build a critical access hospital (CAH) “at this time,” the Sublette County Rural Health Care District (RHCD) Board decided to go a different direction at its regular meeting Wednesday.

During the “hospital development” portion of committee reports Wednesday, RHCD board vice chair Scott Scherbel reviewed a statement of the board’s position – also identified as a motion for action – regarding the CAH.

“CAH designation in Sublette County is the best way to provide the level and quality of health-care services that the citizens of the county desire and deserve,” Scherbel read aloud.

With four feasibility studies pointing toward the CAH as the best health-care option in Sublette County, the board’s position is to stand by its commitment to construct and operate a CAH, Scherbel stated.

“The board’s plan includes the continued operation of the two clinics and EMS,” Scherbel’s motion said. “It is also committed to returning 24/7 ER to the Big Piney-Marbleton community if a financially feasible way can be reached.”

After the commissioners’ vote against building a CAH at the Pinedale Clinic with a co-location at the Marbleton Clinic, the RHCD is ready to move in a different direction to obtain CAH designation, according to the statement/motion.

This involves purchasing a 10-acre parcel and preparing a preliminary hospital design and functional plan to the Wyoming Department of Health for a separate CAH building, the statement said.

After Scherbel completed reading through the motion, board member Wendy Boman said she would like the opportunity to meet with commissioners one more time in a final effort to rectify the standoff.

“I think they were put on the spot with the ultimatum,” Boman said, later adding that she “would volunteer to get on the agenda at the next (county commissioners') meeting.”

Following the lengthy discussion, the board voted, 4-1, to approve the statement of position and motion to buy land and build its own CAH. Clark, Bacheller, Anderson and Scherbel voted in favor, while Boman voted against it.

Boman then asked for the board’s blessing to get on a county commissioner’ meeting agenda and make one last attempt to rectify the situation between the two boards. She was told “good luck” by the board, which effectively ended the conversation on the matter until public comment was heard later in the meeting.

A more in-depth article from this five-hour meeting will be in Tuesday’s Sublette Examiner.

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