By LAURIE MORSTAD
Following a lengthy discussion about a contract with Guardian Flight, the South Big Horn County Hospital District’s board of directors on Wednesday voted to pay $56,784 to the AirMedCare Network for a noncompetition contract for Guardian air ambulance service for all residents of the hospital district. Guardian Flight will continue to hire locally to provide a 24/7 response team based on site at SBHC hospital.
The site membership contract, which covers “any individual who resides within the boundaries of South Big Horn Hospital District when transported for medical necessity by Guardian Flight (or any AirMedCare Network Provider),” goes into effect upon signing by all parties and payment is made. This contract addresses air ambulance services only.
According to Jerry Kirchhoff, membership sales manager for Guardian Flight and the AirMedCare Network, any resident in the district will be eligible for emergency air transport, not only while in Big Horn County, but also from any of their 320 locations in 39 states. AirMedCare is the largest air medical transport membership program in America with over 3 million members. If air transport is required by a resident of the hospital district while outside of Big Horn County, AirMedCare will need to be notified by either SBHCH or the patient of their membership as a resident of the district.
In other business, the board met Tamara Sawyer, who has taken on the job of director of human resources. She hails from Arizona and has moved to Basin with her family which includes husband James and their four children.
SBHCH made a change a year ago to being self insured. One hundred and four people — 51 of them children — are presently insured by SBHCH. Employees are presently in the reenrollment period for ongoing insurance. The board approved changes that removed Northern Wyoming Surgical Center as a Tier II provider while adding Powell Valley Healthcare to be a Tier II provider. This change, according to John Adelsich, chief executive officer, will allow access to maternity care for employees and their families. It will also be the provider for necessary surgical procedures. The other change passed by the board narrowed “Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy to only include South Big Horn County Hospital District. All other, non-SBHCHD providers will not be covered,” according to the new policy. Gottsche Rehabilitation is contracted to provide its services to employees and their families.
The board also approved a change in their personnel policy that makes the date of all insurances including, health, dental, vision, and retirement benefits to be effective on the first day of the month after date of hire and to terminate coverage on the last day of employment. Sawyer stated that this would be helpful as a recruiting tool when all benefits can be started in a coordinated manner.
At this time discussion continues about developing the ongoing contract with Guardian ground ambulance services, SBHCHD, and the Rural Health Board. The Rural Health Board is meeting on Dec. 6 at 5:30 at the Land Planning and Engineering Office, behind the courthouse, in Basin. Representatives from SBHCHD will also be attending.
The next meeting of the hospital board is on Dec. 27 at 5:30 p.m.