Options available for clinic reopening in Baggs, Wyo.

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Questions remain over the closure and future of the Noyes Health Care Center in Baggs, Wyo., but the reemergence of a health care facility in the town is possible.

On Tuesday, clinic attorney Tom Thompson and representatives from the Little Snake River Rural Health Care District met with the Carbon County Commission and discussed the future of the clinic, which closed two weeks ago.

Thompson said the clinic's board is "exploring options in regards to the building in order to look at the possibility of running a medical clinic out of that building in one form or another."

"I cannot give you a definitive timeline, but I can tell you that I would think within the next 30 days they're going to have an idea as to which direction they need to take,” Thompson said.

Thompson declined to comment on why the clinic closed and no reason was given to county commissioners.

The LSRV Rural Health Care District helps fund the clinic through money it raises from a two-mill levy in the valley, but the clinic — a nonprofit corporation — owns the building housing the clinic.

To further complicate matters, the building is owned by the clinic as part of a 2009 agreement with the county that states the building will be used as a health care facility.

If it isn't, it could be reverted back to the county, the building's original owner. If that were to happen, the county would have to reimburse the clinic for any improvements made to the building.

"I don't think getting the building back is going to serve us or you folks down there at all," County Commission Chairman Terry Weickum said.

Jim Espy, attorney for the Health Care District, said if the building reverted to county ownership, the district would pay for prior improvements as long as the facility was still used for health care.

The building was sold to the Noyes Clinic for $10, Weickum said.

Carolyn Adams, chair of the district board, asked if it would be possible for the district to take ownership of the building.

Thompson said because the clinic is a nonprofit, it couldn't be sold for a nominal fee, such as $10.

He said its assets also must be sold, but the clinic's board hasn't considered that process.

"They are not at this point, they have not elected to go into dissolution and I think there's a little bit of miscommunication between the district and Noyes Clinic," he said. "They moved rather quickly in putting this press release out."

He was referring to the district's announcement of the closure of the clinic. He and Adams both spoke of communication issues between the entities.

Weickum asked for the boards to have a joint meeting before the relationship further deteriorates, which the parties agreed to.

"It's not down to zero yet, it's probably 35-percent goodwill factor that's still there," Espy said. "It's better to start with 35 percent than zero."

The clinic is tentatively scheduled to be discussed again at the May 1 county commission meeting.

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Comments

Cole White 2 years, 8 months ago

That clinic was overseen for years by Dr. Thomas Told, who did so at cost to him of both his time and money. When Dr. Told was planning on leaving the area it was to continue being overseen by The Craig Clinic, which was to be purchased by the hospital. Unfortunately for all involved, hospital administration failed to follow through with their commitment to Dr. Told or the residents of Craig and Baggs, and opted to break their contract with Dr. Told at the last minute. The hospital opted instead to creat their own clinic at the old TMH facility and the clinic in Baggs started to be over seen by TMH's new doctor, Andy Hughes along with a mid-level provider. Sadly, I can only assume that the hospital did not see the value in continuing to send a physician up there and obsorb some of the cost of making sure that clinic stayed open.

There are about 700+ peopel living in the greater Baggs area who now have to travel to either Criag or Rawlins. I guess that hospital administration figures that since Craig is closer that they will keep the majority of the patients without having to assume any of the cost of seeing these patients, which is in direct contrast to what YVMC does, who sends physicians the 45 miles from Steamboat to Craig, because they see the value of this population on their entire business.

The article in the paper encourages people of Baggs to contact Andy Hughes (a TMH Doctor) if they need an appointment, but I would encourage them to send a message to the Memorial Hospital Board and chose other options, including the Northwest Colorado Community Health Center (VNA) or The Memorial Hospital of Carbon County.

I would also encourage the Daily Press to actually do some investigative reporting from time to time. Their are big issues facing the people of our region and printing nice articles and not digging deeper just so you can protect your advertising revenue is no way to run a paper.

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