(Riverton, WY) – The Riverton Medical District (RMD) was featured as an exclusive in the Sunday, April 11th publication of The Wall Street Journal.
The extensive article by Brian Spegele includes points of view from RMD organizers, LifePoint Health Inc., SageWest Health Care’s parent company, as well as Wyoming’s governor, senators, and state auditor among others.
Since the publication, RMD organizer Corte McGuffey’s phone has been ringing off the hook. People near and far have been reaching out to him and sharing their support, he noted. Members of the hospital community from around the country have also contacted him.
“We really thank the community for all of their support through this whole process, and really need everyone to keep coming together down this home stretch.”
RMD is about a month away from submitting an application for the USDA Community Facilities Program to fund a new hospital that has been in the works for over two years. After their presentation earlier this year, the USDA lowered their equity requirement from 20% to 10%.
They are very close to meeting that requirement which is just over $4M, however, they still need to raise a few hundred thousand dollars more, according to McGuffey. Another fundraising push is in the works before their application is turned in. Details have not been finalized yet.
In addition to the financials, the USDA requires community support. To show evidence of support, a letter-writing campaign has been underway and recently surpassed the 300 mark. They can be sent in until the application is submitted, McGuffey noted. Additional information about this campaign can be found on the RMD website and Facebook page.
County 10 also reached out to SageWest Health Care following the publication of the WSJ article on Sunday.
SageWest reiterated its mission for healthy communities, providing high-quality care to Fremont County as well as an appreciation for their dedicated staff and providers.
They disagree that critical services have been significantly cut and noted adding over 20 new clinicians in multiple fields. They are also “disappointed by ongoing and baseless assertions” that they are not meeting Fremont County’s healthcare needs.
Their complete statement to County 10 is provided below:
“SageWest Health Care is driven by a mission of Making Communities Healthier and committed to ensuring that everyone in Fremont County has access to high quality care close to home.
“We are proud of the work of our team. Our providers and staff members’ dedication to the people we serve shines every day, but has never been brighter than when caring for our community through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We also are proud to operate two full-service hospitals in Fremont County. We have 146 licensed beds across our Riverton and Lander campuses and both of these locations have 24/7/365 emergency rooms and offer inpatient services, primary care, intensive care, surgical services, therapy, imaging, respiratory and laboratory diagnostic services. They each have some unique service lines as well such as 3D mammography and infusion services in Riverton, and cardiac catheterization and OB/GYN in Lander.
“To suggest that critical services in our communities have been cut significantly since the formation of SageWest is inaccurate. SageWest has evolved as the needs of our communities evolve, with a constant emphasis on building services that give people access to more care locally. In the last 16 months alone, we’ve added more than 20 new clinicians in fields including emergency medicine, internal medicine, hospitalist medicine, general surgery, family practice, anesthesia, neurosurgery, pediatrics, midwifery, podiatry and dentistry. We continue to explore opportunities to expand services here.
“We are disappointed by ongoing and baseless assertions that SageWest is not meeting the healthcare needs of Fremont County. There are certainly gaps in care that exist in this region, as there are in many rural healthcare settings. However, there is no evidence that the proposed new hospital will solve many of the problems its proponents say that it will, and the risks it poses to our region should be concerning to everyone. It is our hope that these can be solved through constructive collaboration rather than the unnecessary addition of a new facility.”
The WSJ article can be read here.