health care

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Services agency sixty days to flush out the details of how to force hospitals to be up front with patients about the costs of their procedures. It's intended to help average Americans shop around the marketplace for cheaper rates. And Wyoming's junior Senator John Barrasso is fully on board.

Melodie Edwards

Gary and Celeste Havener live forty miles outside of Laramie in southeast Wyoming. They spend a lot of their time growing vegetables and riding horses across the prairie.

Campbell County Health

Campbell County Health was ranked as one of the top places to work in healthcare this year. The list was put together by Becker's Hospital Review, a leading healthcare industry publication.

wyomingmedicalcenter.org

The closing of an inpatient psychiatric unit in Lander has highlighted another issue in the state's mental healthcare system. That's the difficulty of transporting a mentally ill patient to and from a hospital.

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President Trump is now backing a lawsuit that would invalidate the entire Affordable Care Act, and that's promising to make health care a major election issue next year. Wyoming Republicans are fine with that, even though they have failed to repeal and replace when they controlled both chambers of Congress.

Kamila Kudelska

At the end of February, a major inpatient psychological unit in Wyoming closed its doors. The PineRidge Inpatient Behavioral Health Unit in Lander had shut down partly due to federal regulations. This has created a domino effect and the outpatient behavioral unit will also close its doors April 5. This leaves a mentally ill population without accessible critical care in northwest Wyoming. 

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The Laramie Downtown Clinic has been flooded with donations since the Washington Post published an article about it and its director Pete Gosar. The clinic offers free healthcare services to the public.

In the 2018 midterms voters in the deeply conservative states of Idaho and Utah went against their Republican controlled legislatures on healthcare. They both voted yes on initiatives to expand Medicaid under Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

But it didn’t end there. Republicans in both Capitols pushed back.


Wyoming State Legislature

The Wyoming Senate voted to restore $1.5 million it removed from the state breast and cervical cancer program. The cut was made earlier in the week after members of the Appropriations Committee complained that it allowed non-poor people to access the funds.

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When the government shuts down, it can't carry through on its historic commitments to Native American tribes. The Wind River Reservation's tribes signed treaties with the government in the late 1800s, giving up vast expanses of land in exchange for health care, police services and other basic needs like food. Eastern Shoshone councilor Leslie Shakespeare said, already some seasonal transportation employees had to be laid off because of the shutdown.

Last year, the Wyoming Supreme Court ruled that the state can't force air ambulance companies to charge the same rate as a ground ambulance. The cost of a ride in an ambulance is about $5000 while a helicopter ride can cost nine times more.

The number of uninsured children across the country has increased for the first time in more than a decade.


Bob Beck

A Wyoming legislative committee has quietly put together a series of bills that is looking at the high cost of health care in the state as well as making health care more accessible. At a recent meeting of the legislature's Health and Labor Committee, Senator Charles Scott stated that consumers pay a lot for health care in the state.

Wyoming legislature

A Wyoming Legislative Committee is moving forward with a plan to hire consultants to perform a comprehensive study of the costs associated with Hospital Care.  

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A plan to try to reduce health insurance premiums on the federal health care exchange was approved by a Wyoming legislative committee. 

Cloud Peak Energy

Cloud Peak Energy has announced it will review "strategic alternatives". Basically, that means the coal producer is open to major changes, including a potential sale of the company in order to improve its financial situation. The move was announced alongside bonuses to executives encouraging them to stay on.

healthcare.gov

The Wyoming legislature has a long history of exploring ways to get quality and affordable insurance to more citizens, but for a variety of reasons, nothing has really ever worked. The legislature has long opposed accepting federal dollars to expand Medicaid due to fears that the money would eventually dry up and the state would have a program it could no longer afford. But there is not an available state solution either.

USDA

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.

Market Summary of Cloud Peak Energy just after announcing its potential sale
Google Market Summary

Cloud Peak Energy, one of the largest coal producers in the country with two mines in Wyoming, announced today it will review strategic alternatives which include a potential sale of the company. The announcement comes after company stock shares hit a 52-week low today at $1.32. That’s nearly half of its value from this time last year.

Cloud Peak Energy logo
Cloud Peak Energy

One of Wyoming’s largest coal companies cut health care benefits for its retired workers. In its third quarter report released October 25, Cloud Peak Energy said the move will provide it with $19.4 million in net income. It was announced to employees in August. The report also recounted an approximately 15 percent reduction in coal shipments compared to Q3 last year. Coal has been costlier to remove from the ground due to additional overburden from digging deeper.

Thursday, November 1 is the first day of the six-week open enrollment for health insurance plans on the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. States in the Mountain West are seeing minor rate hikes — if any — this year.

Three states in the Mountain West have ballot initiatives this November focused on expanding access to Medicaid. Over time, these traditionally Republican states appear to have warmed to a program originally linked to the Affordable Care Act.

Denver is hosting one of the country's biggest nursing conferences. One issue on the agenda is the ongoing, nationwide nursing shortage.

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The nonprofit MoFi helps leverage new market tax credits to fund rural community projects in low-income areas around the Rocky Mountain region, and now they’re helping to open a 24-hour childcare center and expand a health clinic for the Northern Arapaho Tribe.

Idaho and Utah voters will decide whether to expand Medicaid at the ballot this November. Those voters might want to look at a report out this week that assessed how the expansion of the federal health care program played out. 

If you’re poor and you get really sick in Idaho, your health care options might be really different than say, if you live in Colorado or Montana.

 


Utah-based hospital system Intermountain Healthcare released new details today about its plan to start manufacturing its own generic drugs. Representatives said it’s a new approach to driving down drug prices.

Northern Arapaho Tribe

Legislators learned about innovations at the Northern Arapaho Tribe’s health clinic when they gathered in Fort Washakie for a tribal relations committee meeting this week. The tribe took over its health clinic from the federal government back in 2016 in hopes of addressing health disparities they struggle with among their members.

A recently published paper argues that more self-determination and frank discussions about structural racism could help improve access to health care for indigenous populations.

During the 2017 fiscal year, our region received a collective $10 million in grant funding through a federal program called Title X, the brunt of it going to state health departments to support family planning services, especially for low-income and underserved patients.

Now the Trump administration is proposing changes to the program, which has been around for almost 50 years.

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