From the pages of
The Sublette County Journal
Volume 5, Number 21 - 1/18/01
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Health Care Board Agrees to a "Turn Key" Clinic
Policy Change will bring Dr. Boyle to Pinedale
by Rob Shaul

Contract negotiations pending, Dr. Judy Boyle will take over as Medical Director of the Pinedale Medical Clinic on February 12. At a special meeting Monday night, the Rural Health Care District Board cleared the last hurdle bringing Dr. Boyle to the clinic. The Board agreed to purchase and provide Dr. Boyle with medical supplies and office equipment in the clinic, providing her with a turn key set up.

The Board's decision to purchase medical supplies and office equipment for the clinic amounts to a second policy shift. Since its inception, the Board has resisted this step, the fear being that it would get into micro-management of the clinics. To this point, the doctors at both clinics have been provided with the building and utilities as part of their countract, but had to provide their own supplies and materials.

This new policy had its roots in 1996 when Dr. David Burnett left the Marbleton/Big Piney Clinic. At that time, the Board purchased $20,000 worth of medical supplies to outfit the clinic and financed Dr. Burnett's replacement, Dr. John Healey, who paid the Board back for the supplies over time.

When the Board terminated Dr. Ron Glas' contract at the Pinedale Clinic last November, he owned approximately $34,000 in office equipment and medical supplies. He wanted to be compensated for these.

In early December, the Board accepted Dr. Boyle's proposal to take over for Dr. Glas and began contract negotiations. The goal was to sign the contract with Dr. Boyle at the January 8 meeting, however, Dr. Boyle did not attend that meeting, and had yet to meet with interim Medical Director Dr. Tom Johnston to discuss transition.

Last Tuesday, the day following the meeting, Dr. Boyle said that she further wanted a turn key set up at the Pinedale Clinic. At a minimum, she wanted the Board to purchase office equipment.

Two arguments have evolved on the Board resisting purchasing office equipment and supplies at the clinics. The first, articulated by Board Chairman Dave Racich, has been resistance to get that involved in the clinic's day to day operations. These were intended to be the responsibility of the doctors as part of their contract.

The second argument, best articulated by former Board member John Linn, is that the doctors should be encouraged to invest in their own businesses, and this begins with purchasing their own supplies and office equipment. At the January 8 meeting, Mr. Linn said that it was hardly unreasonable to ask incoming doctors at the clinic to invest $30,000 in their business. Mr. Linn noted that any welder or carpenter going into business for himself would at a minimum need to purchase a new pickup, which alone costs over $30,000.

However, Board member Gregg Anderson of Daniel countered that if the Board did not provide a turn key set up at the clinics, it would have a problem recruiting new doctors. This is indeed what the Board was running up against with Dr. Boyle.

In an interview last week, the doctor said she had researched openings in several other rural Wyoming communities as they all offered the doctor a turn key operation.

This Monday, by a unanimous vote, the rest of the Board agreed with Mr. Anderson, however, not before dickering with Dr. Glas about the amount he wanted for his office equipment and supplies.

Dr. Glas had originally asked approximately $34,000 for the office equipment and supplies at the Pinedale Clinic. However, after dickering back and forth with the Board, he agreed to take $4,899.75 for his office equipment and $25,640 for the soft medical supplies remaining at the clinic for a total of $30,539.75. The Board voted 4-1 to write Dr. Glas a check.

The one dissenting vote came from Jim Greenwood, who implied that the Board was paying too much.

The Board must now purchase the office equipment and soft medical supplies from Dr. Burnett at the Marbleton/Big Piney Medical Clinic and write maintenance and inventory agreements into the contracts with the doctors.

The meeting was adjourned after the Board voted to offer the contract at the Pinedale Medical Clinic exclusively to Dr. Boyle. Barring any unexpected problems, the Dr. Boyle's contract with the Board should be signed at its February 12th meeting in Pinedale. <

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Publisher/Editor: Rob Shaul