Just to give you a brief update,
work on the new
Medical Surgical and Intensive Care Units is on schedule and under budget. The new units will be located adjacent
to the new
Maternal Child Unit, above the Main Lobby. Construction is scheduled for completion in April,
and we’re planning to occupy the space sometime in May. We will
be planning an Open House for the community to show off the new space
after approvals are received from the
State of Wyoming.
Deanna Lassegard and
Amanda Opfer just received their
board certification in
Emergency Medicine. This means that all our emergency physicians have this certification,
demonstrating a significant commitment to their profession and their patients.
We also have a new provider at the
Don Tardif, PA-C, an experienced Advance Practice Provider, has made the move to
Wright from our
Walk-in Clinic in Gillette. I know the residents of southern Campbell County, Wyoming
will appreciate having him there. I also want to thank Dr.
Laine Russell for her years of committed service to the Wright Community.
Now I want to switch gears and talk about some national healthcare issues
that affect all of us, even in rural Campbell County. While in Washington
D.C. several months ago, I had an opportunity to meet with Senators
Barrasso. We discussed a variety of healthcare issues, but of particular note were
three important topics. The first was the issue of Surprise Billing, primarily
from Emergency Departments (ED). Across the country, there are many hospitals
where the ED and the emergency physicians are not aligned as they are
at CCH. In our organization, the facility and the physician group are
both integrated components of emergency medicine. The physicians are all
employed as a group, so all the insurances we take (Medicaid, Medicare,
Blue Cross, etc.) have both the facility and provider in the network.
Many organizations don’t have this advantage and the emergency physician
group will bill separately from the hospital, often putting the patient
in a precarious financial position if the physicians are not considered
“in network” by the insurance company. We agree with our senate
delegation that the best way to resolve this is to pay both the facility
and physicians as if they were in network.
The second issue we discussed was the aggressive nature taken by the
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in terms of the laws and regulations in hospitals and nursing homes.
The regulatory environment has become extremely antagonistic and punitive.
It was our request to our senate delegation to communicate our concerns
to CMS officials. Problems that CMS encounters in Florida, New Jersey,
or California do not necessarily translate into problems in Wyoming, and
we would like that difference understood.
Finally, we discussed the options for additional financing for rural community
hospitals that provide specialty services like
behavioral health or
dialysis. These services are not profitable, but we believe that they are part
of our mission to serve our community by providing a lifetime of care
with dedication, skill and compassion. CCH will be putting together a
funding proposal for their consideration. I complement our senators who
are always supportive and engaged with rural healthcare issues. They truly
do understand Wyoming’s unique challenges to providing care in all
of our communities.
Andy Fitzgerald, CEO