It’s back to the drawing board for Campbell County Health after the Campbell County Commissioners voted against a resolution that would’ve allowed the CCH board to enter into a contract to affiliate with Colorado-based nonprofit health care giant UCHealth.
Commissioners voted 3-2 against the resolution at their Tuesday morning meeting, with chairman Bob Maul casting the final and deciding vote.
Commissioners Del Shelstad and Colleen Faber also voted against it, while Commissioners Rusty Bell and D.G. Reardon supported affiliation.
The vote for now puts an end to months of negotiations between CCH and UCHealth.
CCH has eyed affiliation for years as a means to cut costs while benefiting from some of the perks enjoyed by larger health care networks. The move is not to cut staff or services, but to become more efficient by joining a larger partner and helping retain the jobs and service lines CCH brings to Gillette.
Because of a state law, CCH needed the commission's approval before moving forward.
Maul said he voted against the potential move because he felt like the commissioners did not spend enough time being involved in the process.
While CCH has been working on this for “years and years,” Maul said, the commissioners have had it for “a few weeks.”
“I would’ve preferred to have more time to deal with it, a little more time for local input,” he said.
Shelstad said “the vast majority” of people he’s talked to, including those in the local health care industry, are opposed to the affiliation, and for that reason he voted against it.
Before the vote, Bell asked what would be the next step for CCH if the commissioners didn’t approve the resolution. CCH board chairman Adrian Gerrits said the trustees would have to go back and reanalyze its budget to “figure out what we’re going to do to make things work in the future.”
Gerrits asked Maul if he’d be willing to be involved in re-working the potential contract or if he thought affiliation is “a dead issue.”
“I’m willing to put in whatever hours it takes to come up with the right solution,” Maul said. “This doesn’t shut down the avenue that you’re on.”