GREEN RIVER– The Castle Rock Hospital District (CRHD) updated the Green River City Council on their plans for a new facility at Tuesday night’s council meeting.
Bailie Dockter, CRHD CEO, said they plan to break ground on the new facility in July 2019. The new center will be located on the same property as the current facility, but will just be placed in front of the current building.
Construction is estimated to take about one year, and the facility is expected to be open in the summer 2020.
The current clinic was built in 1979, and maintenance has become an issue. With their many different operating cash outstreams, they have not been able to put a lot of funds in maintenance.
About a year and a half ago, the CRHD board and staff began discussing the potential to take out a USDA loan for a new facility. The hospital district will pay for the facility through cash on hand, as well as the USDA loan. Patient revenue will be used to help pay back the loan.
CRHD would like to bring the medical staff closer together, as the current clinic seems to have been set up for individual providers. Dockter believes the new facility will allow medical teams work closer together.
“It would make more sense for our patients if their doctor can communicate with their nurse and their scheduler, so we would really like to bring those teams together,” Dockter said.
Will Patient Costs Rise?
Dockter assured the council and the public that the CRHD patients will not be negatively affected with higher costs as a result of the new facility. She said the hospital district has always worked hard to keep costs as low as possible.
According to Dockter, Sweetwater County is one of the most expensive areas in the United States for providing healthcare.
“We’re working to decrease our costs to compete not only in Sweetwater County and Wyoming, but also with Utah prices,” Dockter said.
If prices do increase, Dockter said it will be due to typical inflation, which is usually about a two to four percent increase.
The CRHD has been looking at expanding upon services, but they recognize they are “pretty locked down in services” they can provide, Dockter said. However, they are expecting to have some space to be able to offer to providers which will provide some opportunity for growth.
They are also looking at the potential of adding some imaging to the facility, which Dockter said would be beneficial to the community. They have also looked into adding some behavioral health services such as counseling and psychiatric care.
Dockter said recruiting providers to Green River can be a very difficult task. However, since the new facility has been announced, specialists have shown some interest in coming to work at CRHD.
A Pharmacy is Not in the Current Plan
Councilman Gary Killpack asked whether CRHD has thought about opening an pharmacy, as there is only one in Green River with the closing of Shopko.
Patsy Sorensen, CRHD board member, said they have had conversations about a pharmacy, however they would face a few challenges.
Smith’s Food and Drug’s pharmacy is open seven days a week, whereas Castle Rock would only be open five days a week.
“That would be limiting to what we could provide,” Sorensen said.
Dockter added that CRHD does not currently have the licensing for a pharmacy, and though they could acquire one, it may not be worth it in the long run.
“The scale of medicine that we would be ordering is pretty small, so the cost would get passed along to patients,” Dockter explained.
However, Dockter said they would consider working with a third-party pharmacy if the opportunity arose.
Continuing Ambulance Services
Mayor Pete Rust asked how or if the new facility would affect ambulance services in Green River. Dockter assured that they considered ambulance services when doing their financial feasibility study for the new center, and that they will continue ambulance services for Green River.
She said they have been communicating with Sweetwater Medics, the county, and Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County regarding ambulance services, but they want to “make sure its provided in Green River.”
Dockter added that the county does help fund CRHD for ambulance services, however, they do lose about $450,000 each year on ambulance services.