July 9, 2024 |

Photo – Memorial Hospital of Carbon County – Bigfoot99 file photo

Elected officials in the county hammered home the importance of keeping Memorial Hospital in Rawlins open for business at their last meeting.

On June 18th, Memorial Hospital board members asked the commissioners to consider adding the creation of a taxpayer-funded hospital district to November’s general election ballot.

Since that time, MHCC staff have stressed the necessity of the hospital district to keep the facility open. At the July 2nd Commissioners meeting, Wyoming Business Council Board of Directors Member Pam Thayer said she supports the creation of a hospital district. Thayer said Memorial Hospital is essential to the economic growth of the county.

Commission Chairwoman Sue Jones said a hospital district has been discussed for a long time. Chairwoman Jones also said the hospital must continue to operate, no matter what funding source is used.

Jones said Albany County uses its hospital district to pay for maintenance and expansion of Ivinson Memorial Hospital in Laramie. The commission chairwoman suggested Memorial Hospital board members should consult with other hospital districts to determine the most efficient use of the tax money.

Jones said Memorial Hospital of Carbon County must inform voters about the types of improvements they will see if the ballot is approved.

Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees President Rod Waeckerlin said he has heard mainly positive feedback about the hospital district. Waeckerlin said he is working to ensure everyone is presenting the same information to the public.

Carbon County Health Officer Doctor Duane Abels spoke up in support of the proposed hospital district. Dr. Ables said people will die if Memorial Hospital closes.

Dr. Ables said facilities like Memorial Hospital mainly treat patients without insurance. Rising healthcare prices are causing rural hospitals across the country to shut down. The county health officer said, like it not, a hospital district must be formed in order for Memorial Hospital to remain operational.

Commissioner John Johnson said people typically don’t like the idea of new taxes. Commissioner Johnson encouraged the hospital’s board of directors to educate the public about the need for creating a tax-funded district.

Memorial Hospital of Carbon County board members offered to be present at future county commissioner meetings to answer questions from the public.

The county commissioners will vote if the proposed hospital board will be added to November’s ballot during their August 6th meeting.

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