Teton County Commission Chairman Bill Leake, right, accepts a check from Teton Valley Health Care, Inc. Board Chair Bob Benedict during a county commission meeting in January 2015.
During a regular meeting of the Board of County Commissioners Monday, Jan. 26, Teton Valley Health Care leaders presented a check for $19,537 for the county coffers. The payment comes as part of a lease agreement of the hospital facilities between the county and TVHC, Inc. and represents 5 percent of TVHC’s net operating profit for fiscal year 2014, which ended Sept. 30, 2014.
Commissioner Kelly Park noted the significance of the moment by reflecting that several years ago, our county was “at risk of losing our community hospital” due to serious financial challenges.
The irony of the situation was not lost on Bob Benedict who currently serves as Chair for the TVHC Board of Directors. Bob was a County Commissioner during the hospital crisis when the BOCC took over the governance of the facility and supervised the subsequent restructuring of hospital administration and the business model. Over two years ago, TVHC moved from a county-owned business to a private nonprofit healthcare organization, effectively protecting the county from hospital financial liabilities and removing the burden of tax support from residents.
Bob expressed gratitude for Teton County taxpayers who helped pass two supplemental levies in 2008 and 2010 to boost TVHC out of near bankruptcy, saying that TVHC has survived due to community support.
CEO Keith Gnagey provided updates on other contractual terms including the annual lease payment of $70,000 and an agreement that TVHC maintain and improve the county-owned plant each year by investing in repairs and new equipment. The amount required per that equation in FY 2014 was $416,149.25. Year-end audited financials showed that TVHC made over $751,000 in improvements or 180 percent of the requirement.
“It was absolutely my pleasure to give this check to our county and to have the opportunity to thank our taxpayers and everyone who worked so hard to make this possible,” said Bob Benedict after the BOCC meeting.
“Every year presents new challenges for rural hospitals, both anticipated and unanticipated,” adds Gnagey. “We hope that we’re in a position next year to again present a check to Teton County.”
Pulse-oximetry tests can show whether or not an individual is able to breathe sufficient amounts of oxygen. A key symptom of enterovirus D68 is a compromised respiratory system. Some children who contract this virus will require hospitalization or emergency care to support their oxygen intake. Children who have asthma or allergies are particularly at risk.
Teton Valley Hospital wants to help identify enterovirus-related respiratory ailments before they become serious. If your child has symptoms of a cold (runny nose, coughing) and you believe they may have contracted the virus, please bring your child to our hospital for a free quick, painless test.
If your child is suffering from a seriously compromised respiratory illness, it will be necessary to deliver further medical treatment.
Simply come to our hospital admissions area at any time of the day or night for a free pulse-oximetry test. Meanwhile, we urge everyone to follow preventive care measures to reduce the impact of the virus. Please note that pulse-oximetry tests cannot diagnose E-D68.
For more information on this free test, call Teton Valley Hospital at (208) 354-2383.
A contagious respiratory virus has been reported as the culprit creating illness in hundreds of children primarily in the Midwest. Most recently making the news in Denver, Colo. where a spate of respiratory infections sent approximately 900 children to nearby clinics and hospitals, there are now reports of the virus possibly moving into Utah.
The official name of the virus is enterovirus D68 (EV-D68). It spreads from person to person just like the common cold through coughing, sneezing and touching contaminated surfaces and it’s often mistaken for a bad cold with the exception of accompanying raised red rashes in some instances. The virus tends to strike children and can cause severe respiratory problems especially among kids with asthma or allergies.
Similar to the common cold, there isn’t a cure or vaccine for EV-D68. Most cases will be mild and unpleasant with only severe complications requiring a trip to the clinic or a hospital stay. No deaths have been reported and none are anticipated as a result of the enterovirus infection. Parents are urged to seek immediate medical help if their child appears to have problems breathing.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the best methods for preventing EV-D68 include frequent, thorough hand washing, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces.
At this time, the CDC doesn’t know why this particular virus has made such a strong reappearance after decades of minor occurrences.