A labor of love – love for community, family, and employees

Corte McGuffey and his family moved back to Riverton in the fall of 2018. He had been away for a while and didn’t realize how badly hospital services were struggling in Fremont County. After attending a couple of Riverton Medical District’s first meetings, he knew he wanted to be a part of it all.

“I love Riverton and I love Fremont County, so there’s a pride factor in it, too. I had a medical background being a dentist, not so much in a hospital setting, but I understood enough to know we weren’t getting the hospital care we deserved. I’ve learned private equity-owned healthcare systems are all about the bottom line. They don’t care about what is best for a community. Profits and shareholder returns take priority over patient care, and that just wasn’t good enough. That’s when I jumped on board.”

The Riverton Medical District’s journey was a long and challenging one. It began as a concerned group of community members who were worried about the deterioration of critical hospital services in the area. After trying to work with existing hospital leadership to bring back these services without success, the group formed a non-profit and began working on a plan to build a new facility. Board Chair, Corte McGuffey, was one of the members who were passionate about this project. For Corte, it was all about medical security for his family, employees, and all the citizens of Fremont County.

Being a leader of two local businesses, BTI and the Big Horn Divide & Wyoming Railroad, with a combined total of almost 80 employees, Corte was concerned. Good medical care is one of the pillars of any successful community and something that gives families the security to stay in Fremont County.

“It’s hard enough to attract employees and get people to stay here,” stated Corte. “For the long-term success of our community, we had to do something.”

Over the last 3 years, the Riverton Medical District faced many obstacles, including a lack of funding and bureaucratic hurdles. However, they persevered and were eventually able to secure funding from the USDA, the State of Wyoming via American Rescue Plan Act funds, and other sources including donations made by many local businesses, community members, and the Eastern Shoshone Tribe. “It’s really amazing how people from all over Fremont County stepped up financially to make this happen. I’m proud that BTI and the Big Horn Divide & Wyoming Railroad could be a part of it,” Corte said.

On Nov. 16, 2022, the Wyoming Loan and Investment Board approved a $10 million grant from the State of Wyoming for the project. This funding completed the financial support required to build the new hospital. This allows the Riverton Medical District team to take the following steps toward creating a new locally owned and governed healthcare facility.

“That was huge. It was one of the happiest times so far working on this project. It was such a cool day. Chairman Sinclair from the Eastern Shoshone Tribe was there, as well as most of our board. My parents were there because they live in Cheyenne. We were all on pins and needles because we needed all 10 million. And we put so much work into that legislation and application.”

Another major step forward was when they signed a letter of intent to affiliate with the Billings Clinic, a highly respected hospital system based in Billings, MT. This affiliation provides the Riverton Medical District with access to expertise, resources, and support while maintaining local ownership and governance. They will help with the management of the new facility and help with the process of finding a CEO and recruiting physicians.

“I am so excited about our relationship with the Billings Clinic. Not only do we get the backing of an outstanding healthcare organization, but we also get to keep our local governance and ownership intact as well,” said Corte.

There will be at least two members from the Billings Clinic on the hospital board along with the eight current Riverton Medical District board members, which includes Corte as Chair along with Vice-Chair, Susan Goetzinger; Treasurer, Travis Koehn; Secretary, Cindy McDonald; and members, Vivian Watkins, Roger Gose, Eric Ridgway, and Mick Pryor.  “So many people have helped us get to this point, especially when we have come up against obstacles that seemed insurmountable. The support for this project has been tremendous,” Corte added. 

As a result of their hard work and perseverance, the Riverton Medical District hopes to break ground soon on the new hospital. “We are working with our architect, Erdman, and Billings Clinic partners to finalize our hospital plans. That should be done soon, and from there we will be able to take the project to bid. UDSA gives the green light for construction once the budget is confirmed,” Corte stated. The hospital will be located in the Eastern Shoshone Business Park, just north of Walmart. The entire project is estimated to take 18-24 months to complete.

The Riverton Medical District is excited about the future of the hospital and the services it will provide to the community. Board Chair, Corte McGuffey, is especially proud of this accomplishment and is looking forward to the positive impact it will have on the Riverton community.

“I want to thank the community for all the support we’ve received. We couldn’t have done it without everyone backing us, financially and otherwise. These are exciting times for Fremont County!” exclaimed Corte.

Ready to work for a company that cares about the community you live in?

Apply today! Simply stop by BTI at 642 South Federal Blvd. in Riverton or apply online at www.btiwyoming.com.

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