Driggs Health Clinic has expanded its clinic space with the addition of 6 new exam rooms, a shared physicians’ office and renovated echo-cardiology stress testing room. The new area is located inside the east entrance of Teton Valley Hospital, replacing a physical therapy rehabilitation space that was relocated closer to in-patient rooms. The expansion was needed to accommodate growing clientele for specialty services such as cardiology, neurology, and pain management.
Cardiologists Dr. Patrick Gorman, Dr. Blake Wachter and Dr. Douglas Blank travel from their practices in Idaho Falls to hold regularly scheduled clinic hours in the new space. Neurologist Dr. Brad Talcott, also from Idaho Falls, has added dates to his local schedule in response to patients’ requests. Dr. Marc Porot offers a minimum of 5 days per month to visit with patients about pain management. Echo-cardio technicians from University of Utah Hospital and from Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center provide rotating appointment dates.
“We anticipate adding more specialties in the near future in direct response to patient requests and our community’s level of need,” says Keith Gnagey, CEO for Teton Valley Health Care.
“Teton Valley is fairly isolated and it can be especially hard to drive out of town during the winter. I would rather have one doctor make the trip from Idaho Falls than have 20 local residents make the trip.”
Teton Valley Health Care is entering phase two of a project to update and refresh the appearance of the facility. Phase One started with the refurbishing of the Driggs Health Clinic reception area followed by a total makeover of the Medical Imaging suite that included a new digital X-ray and fluoroscopy unit. In spring, the Aesthetics exam area was completed and now, after three months of construction, the specialty clinic has opened. Phase Two will bring about completion of hospital patient room updates, hospital hallway re-flooring and renovation of the laboratory clinical area.
“I avoid giving timelines for projects such as these because facility improvements depend largely on the financial health of our organization. TVHC doesn’t own the hospital bricks and mortar, the County retains ownership of the building. It’s our responsibility to maintain and improve the property for our community and that’s one reason for setting these renovation goals,” said Gnagey.
The Teton Valley Hospital Foundation provided $75,000 in funding for this project.
TVHC invites everyone to come and visit the new specialty clinic during a Community Open House scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 2 from 5-7 p.m. Appetizers will be served along with a chance to win raffle prizes including $50 gift cards to Peaked Sports or The Wardrobe Company. Please contact Ann Loyola at (208) 354-6301 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. As always, full hospital tours are available throughout the week.
A trip to the E.R. is never something to look forward to but if the need arises, be assured that you’re in good hands if you have to make a weekend visit to Teton Valley Hospital’s E.R. or Driggs Health Clinic. Teton Valley Health Care has contracted with Intermountain Emergency Physicians to provide physicians onsite 24/7 throughout the weekend. The doctors will also see patients during the Driggs clinic’s Saturday and Sunday business hours.
Intermountain Emergency Physicians, also known as IEP, is made up of 12 physicians with over 140 years of combined ER experience between them. IEP is based in Idaho Falls, currently serving Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, and now, Teton Valley Hospital. Some members of the group also work at Madison Memorial Hospital and Bingham Memorial Hospital. Eleven members of the group are currently board-certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine with one board eligible physician awaiting his certification notification.
Currently, Physician Assistants and Family Nurse Practitioners provide hospital ER care during weekdays in conjunction with TVHC physicians. For weekend coverage, TVHC had previously contracted ER care with a national staffing group. When it was time to renegotiate that agreement, CEO Keith Gnagey was pleased to discover a regional emergency care group.
“We already have a strong relationship with the IEP doctors through our shared patient care with EIRMC. These physicians know our valley, our facility and they’ve worked with our staff. All of this translates into great patient care,” said Gnagey.
When asked why Teton Valley Hospital needs to contract weekend ER coverage, Gnagey responded that TVHC would have to hire several additional doctors to be able to cover the weekend shifts and that the overall ER experience levels, EIRMC knowledge, and number of providers available through the relationship with IEP makes that a better alternative for providing care to our patients.
Dr. Eric Maughan, IEP physician, said he is “excited to be a part of this new agreement. Teton Valley Hospital is a great facility with excellent staff and impressive diagnostic capability. As physicians who were born and raised in Southeastern Idaho, we’re proud to be able to serve the community on a more local, personal level.”
For further information, please call Ann Loyola, director of Marketing and Public Relations at (208) 354-6301 or email email@example.com.
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.”