health care

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.

Public Domain

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.

Creative Commons CC0

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. 

Pixabay Creative Commons

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.

Flickr Creative Commons

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.

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