Wyoming's Thriving Hospitals Offer More Care Options for Residents

Health-care services in Wyoming are as vast as the state itself. Spread over 98,000 square miles, Wyoming's 27 hospitals house 2,600-plus acute care beds, contribute more than $445 million to the state's economy annually and employ nearly 9,000 people.

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On Thursday, June 20, 2013 - 08:59

Health-care services in Wyoming are as vast as the state itself. Spread over 98,000 scenic square miles, Wyoming's 27 hospitals house 2,600-plus acute-care beds, contribute more than $445 million annually to the state's economy and employ nearly 9,000 people.

Cheyenne Regional Medical Center ranks among Wyoming's largest acute-care facilities. Comprehensive services include a state-of-the-art cancer center, the Wyoming Heart & Vascular Institute, a medical and surgical weight loss center, and surgical services. The 217-bed hospital also was recognized for its urology program by US News & World Report in its Best Hospitals ranking.

Miles from Wyoming's capital city, the state's rural hospitals play an equally critical role in caring for the sprawling population. With roughly 6,000 residents, Douglas is home to Memorial Hospital of Converse County. The facility receives more than 31,000 patient visits a year and some 6,000 emergency room visits. Services also include a birthing center, intensive care unit, wellness center and a growing list of tech-savvy treatments. MHCC now houses state-of-the-art digital surgery suites and entrepreneurial specialists in the fields of radiology and orthopaedic surgery.

"Our difference lies in the advanced, diverse medical services that are not always found in the rural health- care delivery system," says Larry E. Schrage, interim MHCC CEO. "This diversity is the baseline for advancing our medical practices to do even more for the convenience and accessibility of the patients we serve."

Wyoming's Critical Access Hospitals

Accessibility is key in Wyoming. In 2011, the National Rural Health Association named MHCC and five other Wyoming hospitals among the Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals in America. Critical Access Hospitals provide essential services to a community and are reimbursed by Medicare on a "reasonable cost basis" for services provided to Medicare patients.

MHCC also is among the 16 hospitals belonging to the Wyoming Critical Access Hospital Network, an affiliate of the Wyoming Hospital Association. Funded by the federal Office of Rural Health Policy, the WCAHN helps member hospitals coordinate resources, promote operational efficiencies and improve health services through advocacy, education and communication.

Dan Perdue, president of the Wyoming Hospital Association, says the absence of managed care, advances in telemedicine and strong legislative advocacy also help leverage the state's promising health industry.

"Wyoming might have some smaller hospitals than those in larger states, but they're just as good as those found elsewhere in the country," Perdue says. "They rank very high in terms of quality measurements and low-cost health care, and provide a full array of services."