Two winners emerged from the pool of four candidates for the Northern Nye County Hospital District Board of Trustees during the 2018 election cycle.
Don Kaminski, vice chairman on the Tonopah Town Board, and Justin Zimmerman, both won a seat on the board of the Northen Nye County Hospital District, according to results from the Nevada secretary of state’s office. Kaminski and Zimmerman were the top winners in a pool of four candidates for the board, gaining a seat on the board, which carries a four-year term.
Kaminski carried more than 32 percent (740 votes) of the vote with Zimmerman carrying over 31 percent (712 votes). Also in the pool was Timaree Koscik (nearly 25 percent, 569 votes) and Horace Carlyle (over 11 percent, 262 votes). Results were as of 4:30 a.m. on Nov. 7.
A seat for a two-year term was filled in the 2018 primaries by Karmin Greber, who ran unopposed after Ken Eason, current chairman of the board of trustees, withdrew from the race.
The hospital district board has worked to increase medical services in Tonopah and other rural areas since its inception. The hospital district, created in May 2015 by Nye County commissioners, was formed as part of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy settlement agreement with Prime Care Nevada, to help with the financial stability of Nye Regional Medical Center, then Tonopah’s only hospital, federal court documents show.
In August 2015, the hospital closed. The nearest emergency services are more than 100 miles from Tonopah. Both candidates expressed interest in increasing emergency care services in Tonopah prior to the election.
Zimmerman, appointed to the board in 2016 by the Board of Nye County Commissioners, said the goal of the board, in future expansion of medical services, does include an emergency room equivalent, which he stated in emails to a reporter from the Tonopah Times-Bonanza &Goldfield News prior to the election.
In a Sept. 18 report in the Times-Bonanza, Kaminski stated that he wants to “establish an Emergency Care Facility (ECF) ‘that can accept 911 ambulance calls, triage, stabilize and either fly patients out if necessary, treat and send them home or keep them overnight for evaluation.’”
Kaminski, who has been in Tonopah for 37 years, also wanted that facility to have the ability to “set broken bones, stitch patients, provide laboratory and X-ray services,” the report stated. He was also looking to make meeting times for the district set in the evenings to make it more conducive for the public to attend, among other initiatives. Kaminski sits on the Tonopah Library Board and owns an H&R Block and Village Guns West in Tonopah. The 62-year-old candidate belongs to the Tonopah Veterans of Foreign Wars organization and Tonopah Rotary Club. Kaminski is also looking to bring a full-time physician to the area.
Zimmerman said that an on-site provider, a physician’s assistant, is going to be added by the end of the calendar year in a Sept. 18 report in the Times-Bonanza. Zimmerman has been working with Renown Health and REMSA (Regional Emergency Medical Services Authority), both based in Reno, to “re-establish medical care in northern Nye (County),” the Times-Bonanza report stated.
“The challenges are many, but chief among them are finding a health-care model that provides the broadest spectrum of services possible, while also sustaining itself financially,” Zimmerman said at that time. “The ultimate goal is to have the facility operate on its own revenue without any support from the district.” “We have an opportunity to create a health-care model that can be blueprinted and applied to other rural communities struggling to provide and sustain health care services, it’s just a matter of finding the perfect combination,” he said in the report.
A bill draft request by the Nye County Commission, put forth by commission chairman John Koenig, could also help create a fire protection district in Nye County. The bill draft request will head to the Nevada Legislature for the 2019 session.
Nye County gets one request for each legislative session.
Contact reporter Jeffrey Meehan at firstname.lastname@example.org