(Lander, Wyo.) – The Chief Executive Officer of the Lander and Riverton hospitals told the Lander Rotary Club today that the hospitals will be merging under a common name this spring and will operate as one hospital with two campuses. Steve Erixon said the hospitals have begun the collaborative process and, when complete, will eliminate duplication and increase efficiencies and standardization. He said that process would allow staff from each campus to “float” to the other hospital when their services are needed,” which he said would improve patient care.

Lander Regional Hospital

Lander Regional Hospital

The consolidation between the two campuses will mean the hospital will have one board of directors, one medical staff, one medical records department and one Chief Executive Officer, and so on. They will also operate under one license.

Erixon said the process to combine the two hospitals has started and would continue through the spring. He said the idea to have one hospital with two campuses is a product of the Affordable Care Act and the way medical services will be delivered in the future. Because the two hospitals are owned by Lifepoint and are so close together, the consolidation makes sense.

The CEO said the Lander campus is looking at a new PET/CT scanner as a local support for Rocky Mountain Oncology’s new cancer treatment center now under construction in Lander. “It will give them better images they need for their radiation treatments, and it will support another local facility,” he said. Erixon also announced that several new services are coming to the hospitals, including a return of Bariatric care in Riverton and a wound care center with a hyperbaric oxygen chamber to fight infections. He said each physician at the two hospitals are now using computerized order entries and he said two new physicians are coming to the Riverton campus this spring.

Riverton Memorial Hospital

Riverton Memorial Hospital

“We are actively recruiting physicians , especially primary care family docs for Riverton, which has seen an exodus in that category this past year. New people coming into town can’t find a doctor, and we’re working hard to bring some in, but it’s a 12 to 18 month process. We are looking for docs who want to come to this area, so we can keep them here,” he said. Specificially, Erixon said the two hospitals are recruiting for family medicine, internal medicine anesthesia and interventional pain physicians and a urologist.

Erixon said the two hospitals have a $25 million combined payroll which has a multiplier effect in the community of $140-million dollars. “We’re an integral part of the Fremont County economy,” he said.

In answer to one question, Erixon also indicated the hospitals have been examining a way to better serve the Dubois community, which is currently served by a medical clinic with physicians from Casper or Jackson. “Fremont County is our prime area to serve, and we want to serve the entire county community.”

He said other details of the merger would be released in the coming weeks and months, including the new name for the two hospitals.