health care

Nate Hegyi, rural reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau, is embarking on a 900-mile cycling trip crisscrossing the continental divide in August and September, interviewing and listening to Americans ahead of the 2020 election. You can follow Nate on social media, an online blog and this “Where Is He Now?” map.

Gorodenkoff / Shutterstock

Daniel Bear lives in Kenilworth, Utah, a small community of around 200 people between Salt Lake City and Moab. Earlier this year, Bear suffered a woodworking accident that involved his hand and a tablesaw. It was messy.

Mike Gatewood and Erin McDaniel

As COVID-19 puts stress on the country's healthcare system, Wyoming medical workers are heading to overwhelmed places with high amounts of cases to help out. Sheridan VA Health System nurses are being sent on two-week stints to veteran and community facilities. LPNs Mike Gatewood and Erin McDaniel, who work at VA satellite clinics in the state, speak about the toll COVID-19 took at a nursing home for veterans in Maryland.

Wyoming Department of Health

The Wyoming Children's Health Insurance Program, also known as Kid Care CHIP, will transition from a private insurance company to the processes in place already for Wyoming Medicaid. 

This means it will be taken over by the Wyoming Department of Health. In the past, a private insurance company administered the program. 

Montana VA Health Care System

A new partnership will allow veterans enrolled in the Montana and Sheridan VA Health Care Systems will provide veterans access to an onsite VA nurse  when they are hospitalized at the Billings Clinic and St. Vincent Healthcare.

The nurses will be connected with veterans once they are admitted to the hospitals and help to arrange things like follow-up appointments and physical therapy during their hospitalization and after discharge.


Dr. Bret Frey is an emergency room physician in Reno, Nevada, and he likens working in health care right now to fighting in a war. 

"I always thought that there was a good chance that World War III would happen in some form in my lifetime, I just didn't appreciate it was going to come in the form of a virus," Frey says.

Catherine Wheeler

Gillette Reproductive Health is located in a nondescript building surrounded by many other doctors offices, pharmacies and the hospital. Not many people in the community know it's there or what exactly they do.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the nation to figure out something it's tried to do for years: increase access to telehealth.

That’s true across the nation and in rural Western states like Idaho. 


Hospital finances around the nation have been hit hard during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes Wyoming hospitals as they had to stop providing the non-essential services that make up a huge percentage of their revenue for a period of time. Wyoming Public Radio's Kamila Kudelska spoke with the president of the Wyoming Hospital Association Eric Boley on the situation in our state.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wyoming

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wyoming is waiving out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 treatment for its members.

As hospitals continue to fill up with COVID-19 patients, one major health care provider in the Mountain West announced it’s cutting pay for some of its medical staff.

U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Jacob Sippel

As the coronavirus continues to spread throughout the United States, we hear a lot about the shortage of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds. But there's another critical shortage, especially in rural areas, of health care providers.

Cooper McKim; Stitches website

On March 12, Amy Surdam and her husband Dr. Dan Surdam waged war on COVID-19. The two Wyoming residents own Stitches Acute Care - a clinic in Laramie, Cheyenne and Wellington, Colorado. The clinics have transformed into a testing and treatment center for the global pandemic at a local level as well as an information hub for the whole state. Amy and Dan Surdam tell the story of how their world has changed in just a week.

Alissa Eckert, MS, Dan Higgins, MAMS


The official recommendation for people who might have COVID-19 - the coronavirus you've been hearing about - is to stay home. But that's easier said than done for many in the state.

Catherine Wheeler

The auditorium at the Sheridan VA Health Care System is a space for veterans to come, shoot pool, play board games, or just hang out.

But on Tuesday, March 3, it was serving as an art gallery. The VA is hosting its annual Creative Arts Festival that allows veterans from across the state to submit a wide range of artistic creations.

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

State officials say there are no known cases of coronavirus in Wyoming, but they have plans in place to try and minimize an outbreak.

Rural hospital closures are becoming more common, and that’s leading to longer response times for ambulances to reach the scene of an emergency, according to a recent study.

The Colorado legislature is considering a new bill that would require private health insurance companies in the state to cover in vitro fertilization – or IVF – for patients struggling with infertility. It would become the most comprehensive coverage for infertility in the Mountain West. 

American Heart Association

The Wyoming Legislature will be addressing a number of issues surrounding health care when it convenes next week. One will be Medicaid expansion and another is the return of an effort to give optometrists the ability to perform certain eye surgeries.

Some believe that should be left up to Ophthalmologists who specialize in such things. Doctor David Wheeler is the President of the Wyoming Medical Society joins Bob Beck to discuss views on those bills.

Survey: Americans Agree Health Care System Needs Fixing

Feb 7, 2020
Bigstock

Americans are divided on lots of issues. But a new national survey finds that people across the political spectrum agree on at least one thing: Our health care system needs fixing.

The "Hidden Common Ground" survey from Public Agenda, USA Today and Ipsos found that 92 percent of Americans say changes are needed.

And a majority of Americans want "either major changes or a complete overhaul of the system," says Chris Jackson, vice president of the market research firm, Ipsos.

Nearly 40 hospitals in the Mountain West are being penalized for having high rates of infections, patient injuries or other complications from hospital stays. That’s according to data released last week from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.


Public Domain

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services rejected a proposal that would have lowered air ambulance cost for Wyomingites.

Willow Belden

In a rural state like Wyoming, state health care providers are no longer newcomers to utilizing telehealth to help bridge distances. But Cody Regional Health is experimenting using remote technology for an opioid treatment that is generally underutilized in the nation.

Raif via Flickr

After three years of discussion, Powell Valley Healthcare, a critical access hospital, will become an affiliate of Billings Clinic in Montana.

Cooper McKim

U.S. senators have introduced a bipartisan bill that promises to protect the pensions for 92,000 retired coal miners and secure 13,000 miners' healthcare benefits.

Catherine Wheeler

Gillette Reproductive Health is like any other doctor's office. There are people waiting, a TV is playing, and there are stacks of magazines.

WY Insurance Department
The State of Wyoming Insurance Department

Former Blackjewel miners can now obtain a retroactive health insurance plan from the federal government. That means if a worker applies now for federal health insurance, it can count towards treatment starting September 1.

On August 31, Blackjewel terminated health insurance plans for hundreds of furloughed coal miners after filing for bankruptcy earlier this summer.

University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing was recently gifted $1 million by the McMurry Foundation to support mental health education and outreach.

Image: Martin Kraft (photo.martinkraft.com) License: CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The lack of mental health care services is the most important health problem impacting the Bighorn Basin region. That's according to a recent community survey conducted by health care organizations in the area. This is the first year Powell Valley Healthcare, Cody Regional Healthcare, Heritage health Center and Park County Public health are joining forces to complete the Community Health Needs Assessment.

Catherine Wheeler

The Teton County Family Planning Clinic has decided to drop out of a federal grant program.

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