Changing Healthcare in Natrona County


K2's Ophelia Young, oyoung@k2tv.com: 

Casper's two hospitals are working toward changes they hope will be better for the community, but they're running into some government obstructions.



Wyoming Medical Center and Mountain View Regional Hospital are trying to bring all ER patients to one facility to improve medical services, and to help WMC retain their sole community provider status.  But WMC lost that title yesterday, and Mountain View's application toward closing down their ER department has been put on hold. 

As a full service hospital serving rural communities, WMC has received extra funding from the government for being a sole community provider.  But as recently-built Mountain View Regional Hospital began attracting more patients, WMC lost the title and the money. 

Mountain View didn't think it was fair so they tried to help.  Mountain View is a surgically-focused hospital, and WMC offers the full-scope of services.  Mountain View says they transfer many of their ER patients to WMC due to a higher level of care at WMC, so they decided to consider closing down their ER department, to help WMC gain more patients, and work towards regaining their sole provider status.

Mountain View also believes, one community ER room is best for Casper patients.  With a letter of support from WMC, they asked the state for permission to close down their ER.  The state said, laws won't allow it.  The State Attorney General said he's reviewing those statues. 

Meanwhile, WMC not only found out they had lost their sole provider status, they also received more bad news--They owe the government 16 million dollars because they need to reimburse funds from as far back as January 2010. 

If Mountain View's request to close down their ER is granted, WMC says the 600 extra visits per month should not affect the quality of their services. 

For now, both hospitals wait.  WMC is submitting an appeal, arguing that they need the funds because they are the only full-service hospital in town.  Mountain View is waiting for the state to review and change their laws.