Public Health slated to relocate in late October

Robert Galbreath file photo Board of County Commission Chairman Joel Bousman, left, and Sublette County Hospital District Board of Trustees Chairwoman Tonia Hoffman, right, affix their signatures to the deeds transfering county property to the hospital district. Also pictured is commissioner Sam White, far left.

Merger process continuing

PINEDALE – The relocation of Sublette County Public Health from its existing quarters next to the Pinedale Clinic to a new space in an annex of the Sublette Center is planned to begin on Oct. 17, announced Dave Doorn, the Sublette County Hospital District (SCHD) administrator, at the Sept. 20 county commissioners meeting.

The commissioners granted a request by Public Health nurse manager Janna Lee to close the facility from Oct. 17-21. A week would give Public Health adequate time to move equipment and its entire operations before fully reopening on Monday, Oct. 24, said Lee.

The existing Public Health building, now owned by the SCHD, is scheduled for demolition to make way for the construction of a new critical access hospital and long-term care facility.

Work to prepare the Sublette Center’s annex to house Public Health was progressing, Doorn reported, including a new coat of paint and doors. The installation of carpet was expected in coming weeks and the SCHD was looking at ways to expand parking at the location, he added.

Public Health was collaborating with the county and Union Wireless to ensure its information technology system is connected and operational before the move, said Lee.

Merger update

Talks between the SCHD and Sublette Center on the merger between the entities continue to progress, Doorn told the commissioners.

The Sublette Center is “moving forward” with a draft membership-substitution agreement to present to the SCHD at its Sept. 28 meeting, Patty Racich, chairwoman of the center’s board of directors, told the Roundup on Sept. 21.

Once both parties sign a final version of the membership-substitution agreement, the merger process will begin. Under a membership-substitution agreement, members of the Sublette Center’s board of directors would rotate out on a gradual basis, allowing the agency to maintain a voice in the process before the final transfer of assets takes place.

On Sept. 20, commissioner Tom Noble asked Sublette Center representatives whether the SCHD attorneys and board had seen a draft of the membership-substitution agreement to give the SCHD time to study the document before its Sept. 28 meeting.

The district had seen an earlier draft that included the membership-substitution agreement, Doorn told the commissioners.

The commissioners passed a unanimous motion to enter into a lease agreement with the Sublette Center regarding the Aspen Grove Apartments until the merger between the center and SCHD is complete.

Deputy county attorney Clayton Melinkovich presented two draft lease agreements to the board. One draft contained a clause requiring Sublette Center administration to come before the commissioners and seek their approval before raising rents.

While the decision was ultimately up to the county as the owners of the property, the option requiring the county’s permission to increase lease costs added a measure of protection for residents living on fixed incomes and social security, said Dawn Walker, Sublette Center administrator.

Commission chairman Joel Bousman agreed, stating the requirement would permit an open conversation about rents and allow the Sublette Center the opportunity to outline its reasons for any increase.

The commissioners’ final motion included the option requiring the Sublette Center to come before the county and seek permission to raise rents.

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