Hospital boards: Three apply for open positions

Posted 4/7/22

A trio of Powell residents have put in their names to fill an open position on the two boards that oversee Powell Valley Healthcare and its facilities. 

Chris Cox, Rex Rich, and Bob Graff …

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Hospital boards: Three apply for open positions

Posted

A trio of Powell residents have put in their names to fill an open position on the two boards that oversee Powell Valley Healthcare and its facilities. 

Chris Cox, Rex Rich, and Bob Graff each applied for the position, and the current board members will decide in the coming month which one will fill the position.  

The positions on the Powell Hospital District and Powell Valley Healthcare boards became open in late February; that’s when Trustee Richard Stearns resigned over a federal requirement that all people working or volunteering at health care facilities receiving Medicaid or Medicare funding be fully vaccinated by March 15. This policy applies not only to health care workers, but also those serving on hospital boards.

   

Chris Cox

Cox is an agricultural lender at First Bank of Wyoming. He said he was asked by someone he “has a great deal of respect for” to consider putting his name in for the position. 

Based on that request, Cox said he looked into what serving on the PVHC boards requires and felt like he’d be a good fit and another way to give back to the community. 

“When the right opportunity to serve comes along, I’m open to it,” Cox said. 

Cox graduated from Powell High School in 1996 and attended University of Sioux Falls, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 2000.

He has over 20 years experience in finance, with eight of those at First Bank of Wyoming. In addition to serving on the Powell Economic Partnership Board of Directors, he also served twice on the Powell Rotary Club.

   

Bob Graff

Graff ran for one of two available positions on the PVHC boards in the November 2020 election, coming in third behind Stearns and current Trustee Syd Thompson.

Graff and his wife moved to Wyoming to retire. In the lead up to the election, Graff said he was looking for a way to serve his new community — something he tries to do wherever he lives. When he saw a position on the board was again open, he decided to apply. 

Graff worked as a consulting petroleum engineer for 44 years. The work took him and his family all over the world, including Thailand, Saudi Arabia, North Africa, the Adriatic Sea, Italy, Southeast Asia, the U.S. Gulf Coast and the Rocky Mountain region. 

Managing on- and offshore rigs brought him a lot of experience overseeing complex systems. He’s been responsible for multi-million dollar budgets and lots of personnel, which Graff said would be an asset to the PVHC board. He currently serves on the City of Powell Planning and Zoning Commission.

   

Rex Rich

Rich said he’s interested in serving on the PVHC board specifically because of his interest in ensuring the community has access to good health care. 

His late wife, Patty, began treatment for her illness in Powell, but had to continue treatment at the Billings Clinic for four months before she passed away. 

“That makes my interest a little more personal,” Rich said.

Before he retired, Rich was an electrician by trade, but then moved into management at ExxonMobil. Rich said he did a lot of the same things he’d be doing on the board, including budgeting, setting priorities, and bringing set goals to fruition. 

Since resources are always limited in health care, making good decisions on how to use what resources PVHC has is of utmost importance, Rich said.

“There are decisions to be made, and I think choosing the right people to make those decisions is pretty important,” Rich said. 

He previously served on the board of directors of a pregnancy resource center in Sweetwater County. He added that, since he’s retired, he would have plenty of time to dedicate to a position on the PVHC boards. 

Rich’s family moved to Powell when he was 14 and he graduated from Powell High School. His work in the oil industry took him away, but he returned to Powell to retire. 

“So I wasn’t born and raised, but I still have very strong ties to the community,” Rich said. 

The selected applicant will serve on both the Powell Valley Healthcare Board of Directors, as well as the Powell Hospital District, which oversees PVHC facilities. The person selected will serve until Dec. 31. The remaining two years of the term will be open to candidates — including the board member appointed to replace Stearns — in November’s general election. The filing period for that term opens in August.

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