Controversy is brewing in Teton Valley following a heated and lengthy meeting Monday night between the Teton County Board of County Commissioners and locals.
The public is concerned about the hospital’s conversion into a nonprofit entity and pushed for the meeting.
The commissioners have temporarily delayed signing the property lease agreement, loan and liquid asset transfer, that would continue the conversion process.
The room was overflowing with people and emotion at that meeting in Driggs, as commissioners sat down for a four-and-a-half-hour meeting with the public.
“What happens if this agreement goes south? What if the other party doesn’t perform?” said one concerned resident.
Along with the attorney for TVHC and new CEO Keith Gnagey, they fielded question after comment from hospital employees and other Teton County locals.
The biggest topic of the night was the hospital’s new affiliation with Bingham Memorial Hospital.
“Why can’t we get a straight answer about what’s going on with Bingham?,” asked another worried Driggs resident during the course of the night.
BMH is currently employed as the consulting firm for TVHC, as they make the transition to a private, nonprofit hospital.
With the shadow of an official investigation by the Attorney General’s office hanging over its head, BMH is the last organization many of these folks want advising and managing the only hospital in the county.
“This is a stepped process. We have no contract with Bingham to manage the hospital,” said BOCC Chair Kathy Rinaldi.
That’s because the contract to manage TVHC was breached by both parties.
Reporter Jessica Crandall asked attorney Herb Heimerl what the future with BMH will hold.
“That is a difficult question to answer without knowing exactly what the results of the investigation were,” said Heimerl.
Rinaldi said the motivation behind the private, nonprofit conversion is to relieve the county of liability for the hospital’s expenses.
County commissioners will meet again at 4 p.m. Thursday to discuss the forum and potentially continue with the conversion process.