South Routt Medical Center continues work in wake of advisory committee report

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— The South Routt Medical Center board had its work cut out for it after an advisory committee presented its report to the board at a Dec. 13 meeting.

The committee was formed to offer assistance to the board after members of the community voiced their concerns with the center’s finances Dec. 2.

In its report, the committee listed its tasks as assisting the board with financial issues, mediating issues between the board and staff and assisting the board and staff with stabilizing the future of South Routt Medical Center.

At its last meeting, the board passed a resolution to seek a line of credit to help with its immediate financial needs, and board president Ann Trout said Monday that the board is waiting to hear back from a loan officer at First National Bank of the Rockies about what amount the center might be able to secure.

In the meantime, the center continues to operate Monday through Friday at its temporary location next to the Phippsburg Post Office while its building in Oak Creek undergoes a renovation.

The renovation was cited as a factor in the center’s current financial concerns.

Board member Steve Strickler, who is designated as the liaison between the board and center staff, said last week that he’d been in contact with Dr. Dan Smilkstein, the center’s medical director.

Smilkstein said he’s talked with Strickler about the issues between staff and the board that were alluded to in the advisory committee’s report.

He said he talks with Strickler on a daily basis.

“I think we’re actually getting a lot more clear information back and forth,” Smilkstein said about communication with the board. “We can actually address any questions that come up."

Smilkstein said he was brought on as the medical director but his role has “moved into a higher level of office and employee management.”

The staff and the board weren’t always on the same page, Smilkstein said, and that strained the working relationship to the point where productivity was affected.

Everybody, including the board members, want what’s best for the clinic, he said.

Smilkstein said what he wanted to do in his expanded role was to “bring the decision making down to the level of the staff that work day to day.”

Staff have agreed to share hours to maintain the same working hours and coverage for the clinic while addressing some financial shortfalls, he said.

“I think this staff here is just a really dedicated, competent and committed sort of group,” Smilkstein said.

The South Routt Medical Center board will meet at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 6, Trout said, and the first meeting of the year is always busy.

Chuck Wisecup will be sworn in as the board’s fifth member, and new board officers will be elected.

“We’re looking forward to 2014, getting the new building finished and moving in,” she said.

Trout said that the “drop-dead” date to move into the renovated building is May, but they’re hoping to be in before the end of winter.

“Of course, it all depends on how the subcontractors perform,” she said. “Right now, everyone is doing excellent.”

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206, email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @MLSchrantz

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