For the week of August 4, 1999  thru August 10, 1999  

Hospital administrator recommends keeping ER in Hailey

Board to consider all consolidation plans Thursday

Express Staff Writer

A proposal by the Wood River Medical Center’s administration to end emergency services at its Hailey campus has been dropped, hospital administrator Jon Moses said on Tuesday.

When the medical center’s board of directors considers proposed plans for hospital consolidation at its meeting tomorrow, it will be considering a revised plan for those services, he said in a telephone interview.

Moses said his recommendation changed in response to input from the hospital community and from the public.

"Emergency services will not be consolidated until the new (St. Luke’s) hospital is open, unless the board determines that there are compelling quality or financial reasons to reconsider earlier consolidation," Moses said.

"If the board determines that reconsideration of earlier consolidation is necessary, forums will be noticed and held so as to appropriately engage the public in advance of any board decision in this regard."

Moses had recommended that emergency services be consolidated at the Sun Valley facility if and when several requirements were met.

Those requirements included: implementation of a nurse assistance call program; development of protocols to reduce risk associated with transfers between south county and Sun Valley; and the development and implementation of urgent care at the Hailey campus

That recommendation drew criticism from several physicians and nurses and from some members of the public at a recent public forum held by the medical center.

Tomorrow’s board meeting, to be held at 3 p.m. at the Blaine County Courthouse in Hailey, is open to the public. The meeting could be the last chance for members of the public to comment on the proposed changes.

Other recommendations include moving in-patient nursing and surgical services to the Sun Valley campus within the next 60 days.

"To me, it’s unfortunate that we get into situations that we—the hospital family—fights publicly," Moses said. "It is my hope that by the end of Thursday we’ll have public support for a decision made in the best interest of the community and that we’ll have the full support of the medical staff."

A petition, addressed to the board of trustees, was circulated last week in which "questionable fiscal management" was blamed for the consolidation effort.

Some 75 signatures were collected on the petition, which requested that the board conduct an audit of the WRMC’s fiscal operations for the past year before any decision is made on consolidation.


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