PINEDALE — Sublette County will soon no longer be the only county in Wyoming without a hospital.
The Sublette County Hospital District received approval last Friday for a $32.2 million USDA Rural Development Community Facilities loan to fund the construction of a new Critical Access Hospital (CAH), the first of its kind in Sublette County.
Voters chose to rectify the fact that Sublette was the only county in the state without a hospital by overwhelmingly approving the hospital district in November 2020.
“Healthcare is a fundamental need for Sublette County citizens and the approval of the USDA loan application is a key step in improving healthcare access across Sublette County,” said SCHD Public Information Director Kari DeWitt.
Sublette County approved the formation of a Hospital District with the understanding that the Sublette County Commission would provide up to $20 million to fund a new nursing home upon completion of a merger of the Sublette Center (the current long-term care center) with the District, according to county commissioners Joel Bousman and Tom Noble.
Part of the loan will be used for upgrades to the Sublette Center, the 50-year-old long-term care facility in Pinedale. The new facility will attach to the hospital with a number of improvements over the existing facility, including private rooms and a memory care unit.
“The historical significance of this announcement is not lost on us,” said Tonia Hoffman, SCHD Board Chair. “We are thrilled to be a part of pulling the project together in spite of the many obstacles we faced and are grateful for the various members of the entire team of people who contributed in any way. We look forward to creating a lasting legacy of patient care in Sublette County.”
Sublette County currently has two clinics (one with an attached emergency room), but critical healthcare services including blood transfusions, chemotherapy and the ability for any patient to stay overnight, have never been available.
The new CAH facility will consist of a 10-bed inpatient unit plus a pharmacy and laboratories.
The building will be staffed with full-time doctors and mid-level providers, as well as a variety of professional staff in other health care positions. The 70,000-square-foot facility will also offer advanced imaging capabilities, including ultrasound, X-ray, CT and mammograms. The 50-bed long- term care facility will include a 10-bed memory care unit, one of only two in western Wyoming.
“Having a Critical Access Hospital in Sublette County will greatly increase care. In the past we have been lacking in basic services.” Dave Doorn, SCHD Administrator, states. “Having a CAH will be a game changer for our community.”