ROCK SPRINGS – Building partnerships is important in every walk of life including personal, business and in this case, healthcare. At the recent Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County Board meeting, Chief Executive Officer Jerry Klein reported to the board about a couple of recent visits with other health-care professionals in the region.
Since coming on board, Klein has stressed the importance of partnerships and, not long after taking the reigns at MHSC, was able to partner with the University of Utah. This partnership has brought many new services to Sweetwater County including air med services, Cardiology services, emergency room services, telestroke and teleburn services as well as help with the new MHSC Regional Cancer Center which recently came online.
Klein has also worked with Kemmerer, Cheyenne, Evanston and Laramie as well as helping Castle Rock Medical Center in its recent struggle to get back on track. Klein spoke to the board about recent meetings with Sublette County and the group working to get the new health care district approved in November in Wamsutter.
With Sublette County, Klein said he has spent time speaking and working with them to refer patients to MHSC for specialty services available in Rock Springs. Recently, Sublette has had a large turnover and Klein said he recently went back up to visit with them.
During his last visit, he was told the Sublette County Commissioners are investigating what it would take to build a critical access hospital in the county. Currently Sublette County is the only county in Wyoming that does not have one.
“It is going to be hard and it will tricky,” Klein told the board about building a new center in the changing health-care climate.
One thing which Klein said he hopes starts building that health-care bridge between the two counties is recently Sublette County also became affiliated with the University of Utah. Klein said with Sublette’s new affiliation, they are now a partner with MHSC in that sense.
Klein also reported he was contacted by the folks who are working on getting the new health care district up and going in Wamsutter. They recently had a huge win in the Primary Election as the voters inside the proposed district voted to move it to a vote in the General Election in November.
The proposed district will include the area from Wamsutter up to Bairoil. Sweetwater County Commissioner and liaison Reid West said it basically follows the boundaries of the solid waste district in the area.
The community health center was built in Wamsutter several years ago by BP but the town could not keep it open financially. With a growing health care need, a group of residents started the push to get the health care district approved by the voters which would raise mills to help the center financially.
Klein said the group sat down with him and discussed several issues including staffing, services and how MHSC could assist them in different areas. For example, with staffing, they asked about what staff it would take to get the center open. They also have a volunteer EMS service and questioned Klein about possibly hiring a couple of professionals to help on the EMS side of things as well. He said the group is ready to go and have no intention of closing the center’s doors again.
“They are taking it kinda personally and wanna prove they can do this,” Klein said. “By no means do they want to have to go to the county commissioners to ask for money. They are in the county and if they want my help, they are going to get it.”
MHSC Board Chairman Artis Kalivas asked West if they had the support of industry. West explained the first time they came to the commissioners with the request, they were turned down because the commission felt there were other options to look at. The second time they came before the commissioners, not only BP, but Anadarko as well as other community and major industry businesses were on board.
West said he was glad to see the group reach out to MHSC and Klein but wondered about this because currently, EMS goes to Rawlins. Klein said the group reached out to them because they believed MHSC is more stable that Rawlins is at this time.