Wyoming Critical Access Hospital Network Helps Rural Hospitals

The Wyoming Critical Access Hospital Network helps rural hospitals share resources and improve their services.

By
Pamela Coyle
On Sunday, September 11, 2011 - 18:55

Much like Wyoming's economic development, the quality of the state's health care continues to improve. The Wyoming Critical Access Hospital Network helps rural hospitals share resources and improve their services.

An affiliate of the Wyoming Hospital Association, the network provides peer support and helps with grant proposals and critical-access status.

Of Wyoming’s 26 acute-care hospitals, 14 – each with up to 25 beds – have been designated since 2001 as critical access by the federal government, which entitles them to higher reimbursements.

Peter Birkholz, CEO of North Big Horn Hospital in Lovell and president of the network, says the designation is important as a source of operating and capital funds.

North Big Horn, for example, is able to provide a range of health services under one roof, including CT, radiology, laboratory, occupational therapy and skilled nursing.

The Wyoming Health Resources Network works to address the recruitment needs of hospitals. Started in 1995, WHRN is a clearinghouse for recruiting MDs and other health-care professionals.

The network sources candi­dates, handling initial screenings and directing candidates to available opportunities, says Pennie Hunt, executive director.

The network has helped place more than 160 physicians.

“We have the pulse of the medical arena in Wyoming and are much like the Match.com for health professionals,” she says.