Update on Our Process and What We’ve Heard

Over the course of the last almost three weeks, our physicians, employees and Natrona County residents have had the opportunity to hear about the details of Wyoming Medical Center’s proposed agreement with Banner Health and to share their input on the future of health care in our region.

In all of our discussions about how joining Banner will benefit the future of local health care here in Natrona County and Wyoming, it has been important to underscore to our community that the volunteer members who serve on the WMC Board have been clear from the beginning that we would only move forward to join another health system if we could find the right organization – one that respects our history and values, understand the importance of local health care and local input and is committed to ensuring WMC’s long-term success.

By now, people are hopefully familiar with the commitments Banner is making to WMC and our community:

  • Preserving and furthering WMC’s nonprofit mission, allowing the hospital to continue its calling to care for all patients, regardless of ability to pay.
  • Expanding and growing healthcare access and advancing medical care in the community, region and state.
  • Keeping and expanding the delivery of medical services in rural areas here in Wyoming.
  • A commitment to maintain WMC as a Level II trauma center in perpetuity.
  • $100 million in capital investment over the next 10 years dedicated to WMC facilities, technology, programs, people and operations. This commitment is above and beyond intended upgrades to IT infrastructure and other capital investments.
  • One of the largest independent, nonprofit foundations in Wyoming. The foundation will receive more than $220 million in projected initial funding to focus on health care in Natrona County and provide significant annual support specifically to WMC for our facilities and technology, as well as other charitable efforts.

As we have shared the many exciting benefits of joining Banner, it has been equally important for us to listen, and we appreciate the comments and dialogue over the last few weeks, including at the recent County-hosted community forums.

If there is an overarching element to what we’ve heard, it is that ensuring the best possible future for WMC is critical for our community. The WMC Board of Directors could not agree more. In fact, that is ultimately what led us to explore whether we could find the right organization to help secure an even stronger and sustainable future for WMC and for local healthcare right here in Natrona County.

Along our journey we have deeply explored the questions we heard over the last weeks. They are very important topics and we are fortunate to have found the right partner in Banner Health to help us answer them with every confidence that WMC’s future will be even brighter as Banner’s Wyoming flagship hospital.

 

How will this impact employees?

WMC’s employees are vital to advancing care in Wyoming. Banner recognizes this and intends to not only maintain but grow our services. To that end, Banner commits to retain all staff with substantially the same base salaries, job duties, titles or responsibilities for at least one year. Beyond that year, Banner and WMC leaders will work together to determine job mapping and titles for all of our current positions to align with Banner’s best practices. Employees will not need to re-apply for their jobs.

How will this impact physicians?  

Our physicians play a critical role in delivering care and maintaining a strong local physician community is of the utmost importance. We would maintain an open medical staff, allowing physicians to choose how they affiliate and preserving existing privileges. Current contracts with independent physicians would continue just as they are today, and together with Banner our physicians would be able to develop and share best practices and strengthen clinical programs and key services close to home – right here in Wyoming.

What impact will this have on local care?

There is no higher focus than ensuring those we serve can receive the care they need right here in Natrona County. We would keep the excellent services WMC provides as well as expand additional ones here in Wyoming to minimize our community members having to travel outside of the state for care – even for those in more rural areas.

How will this impact the cost of care? 

We recognize that health care can be expensive, and a key focus will be working to find ways to lower the cost of care. Once we’ve come together, we would work closely with local employers, insurance companies and government payors to continue providing excellent, cost-effective care to our region. Together, our physicians would be able to develop and share best practices, enhance clinical programs and key services close to home, as well as retain and attract the best and brightest physicians here in our region. All of these efforts will help us to strengthen local healthcare with a keen focus on its cost to patients.

We’re pleased to say that it’s never been more clear that Banner is the right partner for WMC, for this community and for the State of Wyoming. Thank you for your engagement in our healthcare future. In the coming weeks, the WMC Board of Directors and the Board of Natrona County Commissioners will each need to approve agreements with Banner for WMC to join Banner’s nationally recognized health system. We are committed to doing the right thing for our community, advancing the health and wellness of our region and ensuring high-quality healthcare access for years to come