health care

Bob Beck


The Wyoming Legislature just wrapped up a session where $430 million was cut from the existing budget to make up for major losses of revenue connected with COVID-19.

Jimmy Emerson, DVM via CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Once again, the Wyoming legislature has rejected Medicaid expansion. Despite testimony providing overwhelming support for the measure and some federal aid to encourage more states to adopt the program, the Senate Labor and Health Committee voted three to two against the bill.

This is the second in a two-part series about the vaccine rollout in Indian Country. Part one looks at the success of the rollout on rural reservations.

 

 

This is the first in a two-part series about the vaccine rollout in Indian Country. Part two looks at the challenges of vaccinating our region's urban Native population. 

 

Wyoming Legislature

The Wyoming House of Representatives voted to send two bills dealing with abortion to the Senate.

One bill would outlaw abortions performed for discriminatory reasons, like the fetus having a disability or its race or gender.

Bob Beck

The Wyoming House of Representatives has given final approval to a bill that would expand Medicaid in the state and provide health care coverage to an estimated 25,000 people.

Taylar Dawn Stagner

Strengthening Our Generations is run by the Northern Arapaho Tribe and is part of Wind River Cares. Donna Trosper is supervisor for the group, which has been focusing on getting food, clothes, and other supplies to the transient community on the Wind River Indian Reservation, especially during the pandemic.

Wyoming Legislature

The Wyoming Senate has advanced a bill that would outlaw the use of chemically-induced abortions. It would make the use of medication that is used to remove a fetus from the uterus, typically in the early stages of pregnancy, illegal.

Wyoming Legislature

The Wyoming House Labor and Health Committee voted to advance several bills regarding abortion.

The first bill would not allow state or federal funds to go towards any public Wyoming university or community college student insurance plans that cover abortion procedures.

Kamila Kudelska

Early one morning, U.S. National Guard veteran Ron Loporto sat down on his exercise ball in front of a laptop to log into his telehealth session. He has been doing this weekly for the past month or so.

Peabody Energy's share price over the past year
Seeking Alpha

In a November federal filing, Peabody Energy reported it would no longer be paying into a certain healthcare benefit plan for retired miners who are on or eligible for Medicare or provide life insurance to retirees. That includes those in Wyoming.

Ivinson Memorial Hospital


Hospital capacity is one metric that has stayed relatively stable throughout the pandemic, but in the past month, that's changed as hospitals run out of space and staffing is stretched thinner.

Google Maps

Since the start of the pandemic nursing homes and long term care facilities have been on pins and needles. With some huge outbreaks in facilities across the state, leading to a number of deaths, that anxiety has skyrocketed.

Jonni Belden oversees The Legacy Living and Rehabilitation Center in Campbell County. She joined Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck to describe the challenges they've faced keeping their older residents safe and the impacts this is having on their staff. She started the conversation by discussing challenges faced by residents.

Creative Commons CC0

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Mark Gordon appointed a coronavirus task force. He's since broadened its focus to the cost of healthcare in our state. 

Made up of 40 different stakeholders, including representatives from the state Department of Family Services and the Board of Pharmacy, the goal of the group is to decrease healthcare costs in the state. The governor's health and human service policy advisor Jen Davis said past governors have created a similar task force in the past with no results. 

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.

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