Hot Springs County Hospital in Thermopolis and Westward Heights Care Center in Lander received a combined $25.5 million loan from the United States Department of Agriculture. The hospitals will be using the funds to modernize and expand their facilities.
Under the Trump administration, the United States Department of Agriculture wants to improve rural healthcare. Chad Rupe, the Wyoming officer for the Department of Agriculture, said this means rural hospitals can have more services so that an individual does not have to drive an hour or longer to receive medical attention.
“There’s a big shift in the ability to provide more services close to home,” Rupe said. “So those facilities need to be prepared to offer those service for their clients so they can get specialty care, primary, and urgent care at those facilities.”
Rupe said community support of the institution is vital in the process of loan consideration.
“If they’re [the community] willing to support the institution by having their medical services provided by those facilities then that shows the ability over the long-term of that institution to cash flow their debt,” said Rupe.
A major expansion and renovation is in store for Hot Springs Memorial Hospital, which will add operating rooms and a new emergency room. The other hospital, Westward Height is primarily an elder care center that will expand its capacity. Both projects hope to be complete by 2020.