County renews contract with Couch
Contract is for four year term as appointed by BOCCC
June 10, 2020
The Board of Carbon County Commissioners (BOCCC) renewed their contract with Dr. Wayne Couch during their June 2 meeting at the recommendation of Amanda Brown, Carbon County Public Health nurse manager.
The renewal of Couch’s contract comes as both the State of Wyoming and Carbon County are emerging from health orders issued in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“We didn’t make any changes from the contract from last year. I talked to him and he’s comfortable with everything. I just want to thank him for all the great work. It’s been a great partnership with him and I couldn’t ask for anyone else to help me go through this COVID journey that we’ve been on,” said Brown. “I just would like to renew that contract today.”
Under Wyoming State Statute 35-1-306(a), the board of county commissioners or a municipal governing body may appoint a health officer if there is no health department established in the county or town. A health officer must have a degree of a doctor of medicine and must help the state health department in carrying out all health and sanitary laws and regulations of the state.
“With all that’s happened through this, was there anyone else that put their name forward with serious intent—either verbally or in writing—to say that they, too, would enjoy this position?” asked Commissioner Travis Moore.
Throughout the impact Carbon County felt from COVID-19, it had been noted by county residents on more than one occasion that Couch did not live in the county or even the state and questioned his ability to be the county’s health officer. Indeed, Couch left Rawlins in 2016 after closing his practice at Urgent Care without notice to patients. He currently practices in Colorado.
A doctor serving as health officer in a county they do not reside in is not unheard of. Edward Zimmerman, who works in the Memorial Hospital of Carbon County emergency room, currently serves as the health officer for Washakie County.
Following Moore’s question as to whether anybody else had shown interest in the position, Brown responded that nobody had come forward. Moore thanked Brown for the clarification and Couch’s contract with the BOCCC was renewed.
The next meeting of the Board of Carbon County Commissioners will be at 9 a.m. on June 16 at the Carbon County Courthouse in Rawlins.