healthcare

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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.

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.

New division of an appropriations bill to be included in the final funding package
Congressional Research Service

A bill that would secure lifelong pension and healthcare benefits has been incorporated into the final funding package to keep the U.S. government open past Friday, December 20.

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.

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.

https://pxhere.com

With busy schedules, extra visitors and new toys, the holidays can introduce new hazards into an environment. According to the Nebraska Regional Poison Center, accidental poisonings increase over the holidays. 

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


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