Residents in West Yellowstone started a petition to create a hospital district in the area. Organizers of the petition say this is the first step to getting 24/7 medical care in West Yellowstone. Those signatures were verified on Tuesday by county commissioners setting this foundation to create the Hebgen Basin Hospital District.
“We’ve got all the infrastructure in place with the exception of access to health care,” says Kenny Jones, a Volunteer Paramedic in West Yellowstone.
West Yellowstone residents, including Jones, are looking for ways to expand emergency medical services. They want a special district created and eventually a hospital in town.
Currently, the Billings Clinic offers medical services during business hours, but residents want more.
“It would be about a six-patient-in-bed facility with maybe four emergency room beds,” says Jones.
The new district would be managed by a board of trustees. Those on the board would be elected at the same time that the people vote on creating the new district.
“The board is just not created. It would be elected at the same time that the citizens vote on the creation of the hospital district,” says Jones.
A total of 211 voters signed the petition out of 497, which was more than the 30% threshold needed to get it on the ballot. Jones says this is a step in the right direction.
“They see the benefit, for themselves, their communities their neighbors and our visitors,” says Jones.
With the signatures verified, commissioners will hold one more meeting to certify it on the ballot. If that passes, the election will take place on May 2, 2023.