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Wyoming Hospital Finances Hit Hard While Battling COVID-19

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Wyoming hospitals are facing financial uncertainty amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Most hospitals are following the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation to stop all non-essential services, like elective surgeries. 

But hospitals, especially small, rural ones, depend on non-elective surgery and other services to keep their doors open. And nationally, rural facilities in particular are struggling to keep afloat. 

Joel Johnson, Star Valley Health’s Vice President of Communications, said the Afton hospital is no exception. 

"That is a huge impact on critical access hospitals that are already working on a razor thin margin," he said. "We've had to look at anything and everything we can do to reduce costs. And that does include our senior leadership team, our frontline leadership team, [they] have all taken salary reductions."

That means many physicians on the frontline of battling a potential coronavirus surge are facing pay cuts. 

"Everybody's taking hour cuts to try to reduce costs or physicians are taking cuts in their salaries, just to keep the doors open, because we need to have the doors open when the surge comes," said Johnson. 

Bigger hospitals in the state like Wyoming Medical Center in Casper and Campbell County Health in Gillette are also reducing hours and pay from leadership positions to clinical staff. 

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Kamila Kudelska, at kkudelsk@uwyo.edu.

Kamila has worked for public radio stations in California, New York, France and Poland. Originally from New York City, she loves exploring new places. Kamila received her master in journalism from Columbia University. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring the surrounding areas with her two pups and husband.
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