© 2024 Wyoming Public Media
800-729-5897 | 307-766-4240
Wyoming Public Media is a service of the University of Wyoming
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Transmission & Streaming Disruptions

Sheridan Memorial Hospital will have behavioral health and emergency triage facilities by 2026

Sheridan Memorial Hospital

Sheridan Memorial Hospital (SMH) has received funding that will create a dedicated triage space for their emergency department as well as providing resources for those with behavioral health needs locally. The funds are being provided by the State Loan and Investment Board (SLIB).

“The State Loan and Investment Board awarded $5.9 million to Sheridan Memorial Hospital for use in the project that we have which is a behavioral health unit, inpatient and behavioral health unit, and it's a $12.8 million total project,” said Mike McCafferty, CEO of Sheridan Memorial Hospital. “Also, the State Loan Investment Board awarded us $480,000 on a separate project that will be used in our emergency department for triaging patients. It'll be to change the upfront process by which we triage patients.”

Currently, patients requiring mental and behavioral health care that can’t be treated locally must be transferred to other communities in Wyoming. Usually this is patients held on a Title 25 or involuntary hold. The Wyoming Behavioral Institute in Casper and the Wyoming State Hospital in Evanston are able to receive these patients. Non-Title 25 patients are sent to Gillette, Laramie, Cheyenne, or to out-of-state facilities for treatment. One of the grants will allow for a unit to provide these services locally and must be completed by 2026 as a condition of the grant. The new unit will host eight adult and two adolescent beds.

“With regard to behavioral health, we currently have two rooms that would be considered appropriate for behavioral health patients,” McCafferty said. “However, we do not have an inpatient behavioral health unit and we don't have a wide array of treatment services for inpatient behavioral health patients. So, what this allows us to do is to put together the physical structure to accommodate the needs that we have in this region around behavioral health.”

Psychologists, psychiatrists, licensed social workers, clinical specialists, and psychiatric nurses will be hired to care for these patients. There is no money for these new staff in the grant. Sheridan County has also contributed $2.5 million to this project.

“We [will] also have a crisis stabilization unit and an urgent care for behavioral health as well as improving the clinical expertise and infrastructure within our facility to be able to support the services that we would provide within this facility,” he said. “So, there's really two things that we're trying to accomplish.”

The triage unit will provide better opportunities for hospital staff to care for those experiencing different medical conditions, something they’re lacking presently.

“Currently, when you come into the emergency department each patient comes in through a single door, they go into a waiting room and admission area, and what the triage project will allow us to do is to cordon off certain areas, for people with respiratory disease, people that maybe had a trauma situation, people who may have a laceration or other type of an injury, or behavioral health type patients, so we're able to triage those patients immediately and get them into separate areas to be able to expedite their care,” McCafferty said.

The triage unit will require the retrofitting of existing hospital facilities and is also set to be completed by 2026.

Hugh Cook is Wyoming Public Radio's Northeast Reporter, based in Gillette. A fourth-generation Northeast Wyoming native, Hugh joined Wyoming Public Media in October 2021 after studying and working abroad and in Washington, D.C. for the late Senator Mike Enzi.
Related Content