Clinic facilities

Subletter Examiner | Hoffman: ‘No intention of ever losing Marbleton Clinic’

SUBLETTE COUNTY — Sublette County Hospital District Chair Tonia Hoffman unequivocally reiterated the Hospital District’s intent.

Hoffman addressed the Sublette County Board of Commissioners, members of the public, Dawn Walker of the Sublette Center and Janna Lee of Sublette County Public Health – all gathered at Marbleton City Hall for the commissioners’ meeting on 15 March. Thanks to the transfer deal talks, which aim to preserve the terms in case of worst-case scenarios and assumptions, the Sublette County rumor mill has turned.

So with everyone present, Hoffman made it clear.

“We have no intention of losing public health, we have no intention of ever losing the Marbleton clinic,” she said. “I see it as something to invest finance in growth and make it stronger in the future. We never had a conversation about what to do with the clinic in Marbleton, we just want to make it better.

Hospital District Administrator Dave Doorn said the district is actually working with the state to meet requirements (as they will be enforced in 2025) to provide daytime emergency and clinical services.

Commissioner Doug Vickrey specifically mentioned the Marbleton Clinic at the March 1 meeting, saying citizens were worried about its future. This sparked a discussion about what would happen if the hospital district, hypothetically, intended to sell the building. Hoffman, Doorn and Dr. David Burnett were all present at last week’s meeting and, while comfortable with the safeguards, said there was no truth to the fact that the district was seeking to get rid of the Marbleton clinic.

“Another word that came out last week was that we were going to sell Center Sublette as soon as we got our loan,” Doorn said. “I just wanted to make sure and state publicly that it was not our intention to do this. I don’t know where it came from, but it was out there.

Hoffman reminded the board that for the past year, the hospital district intended to maintain the Sublette Center as an assisted living facility. Commissioner Tom Noble said these discussions go back further in history, several years ago. Hoffman said the district’s intent hasn’t changed since then.

Apart from dispelling the rumours, those gathered also tried to continue the talks on possible transfer deals. The commissioners and everyone present were comfortable sharing the working draft of the transfer agreements with members of public health and the Sublette center so that all partners were on the same page – with the caveat that this is a working document and nothing is solidified.

“There are things in there that we won’t know until there’s a loan, until there’s a number,” Assistant County Attorney Clayton Melinkovich said.

Since some of these matters are dependent on potential USDA loan approval, no formal signing or approval will be made prior to potential loan approval. Melinkovich said if the loan doesn’t happen, transfers and deals don’t happen. Commission Chairman Joel Bousman said he thought everyone involved understood that.

Melinkovich said he also finds it important that, while framing conversations about the Sublette Center, the questions as they are asked are based on understanding the merger. As it stands, the Sublette Center is an independent, non-profit organization and is not owned by the county or the hospital district.

Bousman said there is a continued need for an assisted living facility in Sublette County. The hospital district plans call for a long-term care facility (services provided by the current Sublette Center) alongside the planned critical access hospital. The hospital district talked about using the existing Sublette center as an assisted living facility to meet the needs that Bousman was talking about. Walker said it was his understanding that there were approximately 16 units in the heritage portion that would be needed to break even financially. She also attested that the building is “certainly salvageable”.

Together, the group discussed moving county departments — county public health, sanitary affairs and veterans affairs — out of their current location. Space requirements for these services have decreased since the commissioners decided not to hire a county hygienist and return the responsibilities of the role to the state.

Lee, Walker and representatives from the hospital district visited the Sublette Center to get a sense of the temporary Public Health accommodation. Lee said she would prefer to remain a county entity and retain the public health identity. Bousman said he understood her concern and appreciated the public health contribution. Lee said they would need contemporary office and storage space to have enough space to physically house staff and maintain a few patient rooms. They would also face parking issues and would have to be inspected by a fire marshal to ensure they are fire code and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant.

Bousman encouraged her to maintain contact with the hospital district. Commissioner Noble reminded everyone that through previous action by the board, the hospital district would be providing housing for public health. Since the county is required by law to ensure that public health services are provided, they want to ensure that Lee and those in public health have a say and are satisfied in any eventual process. of construction.

Commissioner Vickrey asked what would happen if, hypothetically, the Hospital District defaulted on its loan. Doorn said the guarantee includes equipment, revenue and future earnings, as far as USDA is concerned.

Then, in the middle of another rabbit hole of hypothetical conversation, Hoffman brought the talks back to practice.

“We keep coming back to this conversation assuming we’ll fail,” she said. “We have done everything in our power to provide the information that we will be successful. We have a partner behind us who assures us, the story of what they have been through and what we are going through the same way, that we will be successful on the road.

Doorn reiterated, “Failure for us is not an option.”

All parties agreed that they would continue to maintain communication. None of the transfer agreements are finalized, as it is a working document shared between county health care entities.

The discussion will continue at the commission’s first meeting next month, on April 5. At this point, more information regarding the Hospital District’s USDA loan application may be known.