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Events | Change in Board Leadership at the Garfield County Public Hospital District

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At today’s, September 8, 2017 Special Board meeting, Matt Hanson, President of Garfield County Public Hospital District, resigned from the Board effective today. While we regret his departure at a time when there is still so much work to be done, we understand his desire to help the organization be successful with him as a concerned citizen. With Matt’s departure, the Board discussed and selected Gary Houser to serve out Commissioner Seat #5 (Matt Hanson’s seat) through December 31, 2019. Gary was sworn into office and he is pleased to join the Board to help facilitate having the right healthcare services for the community.

Additionally, the Board of Commissioners unanimously voted and elected Cindy Wolf as Board President with Chris Herres as Board Secretary.

The Board further approved resolution number 17-03- Regular Board meetings will be at 6:00 pm the last Wednesday of each month in the Learning Center at the hospital starting Wednesday, September 27th.

If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to the Administrative office at 509-843-1591 or email us.

Working to meet the needs of our community, one step at a time.

Moving Forward

Mathew A. Hanson’s Resignation Letter:

It is with deep regret that I will be transitioning off the Board of Commissioners effective September 8, 2017. It has been a pleasure and honor to work with such a great group of community members who continue to work through challenges inherent to maintaining essential healthcare services in Pomeroy.

I would like to express my appreciation for the opportunity to serve our community as well as to share a few thoughts for the organization moving forward. Serving on the board has been an extremely gratifying experience and I hope that lessons learned by the current board will be transitioned to the incoming board in a manner most beneficial to our community.

First, Garfield County Hospital District is non self-sustainable as is, i.e. as a critical access hospital,, unless the community is willing to fund at least $500,000 in taxpayer support every year. Additionally, recruiting and retaining necessary, and competent, employees will remain an exceedingly difficult challenge as long as the labor market for healthcare employees remains this tight.

Second, medical services offered by the hospital district need to align with the needs and resources of the community. While simple in theory, this concept has proven to be extremely difficult to execute due to the limited one-size-fits-all models required by federal and state healthcare funding programs designed for much larger communities and hospitals. Garfield County Hospital District (GCHD) has been working with other small hospitals and state policy makers to develop more flexible service models. However, any actual implementation of new policies is likely to be several years away.

Third, the most important function of the board is to hire an effective CEO who can execute change necessary to the long-term success of medical service being delivered in Garfield County. I believe that we are fortunate to have Brenda Parnell as our current CEO. Considering the previous courses set, she has done a very good job getting GCHD on the right path. Any undermining by disgruntled employees and/or community members of changes necessary to transition our hospital district to being self-sustainable only delays the inevitable while squandering taxpayer resources and decreasing employee and community moral.

Given the realities and challenges, I believe that the most likely paths of success for GCHD lies in radically changing its footprint and services provided as either (i) a Federally Qualified Healthcare Center or (ii) as a subsidiary of a larger, friendly, neighboring healthcare provider. Either way, significant change will need to be executed sooner than later if we are to expect more than basic emergency medical services in Garfield County.

Article by Mathew A. Hanson, former Garfield County Hospital District Board Commissioner