Wyoming Medical Center Approves Agreement with Banner Health

Board of Natrona County Commissioners Unanimously Approves Separate County Agreement with Banner Health

Casper, Wyo. – After 15 months of exploring options for Wyoming Medical Center’s (WMC) future, including seven months of due diligence with Banner Health, the WMC Board of Directors announced today that it, along with the WMC Foundation Board, has voted unanimously to approve WMC’s agreement with Banner Health. In addition, at a special meeting of the Board of Natrona County Commissioners and the County-appointed Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees, the County unanimously approved a separate agreement to sell the land, buildings and equipment associated with WMC to Banner Health for $157 million. Together, these actions pave the way for WMC to join Banner Health, becoming the health system’s flagship hospital in Wyoming.

“This is an important milestone for our community, and we are excited to bring together two market-leading and highly respected health care organizations to provide even stronger regional, high-quality health care to the people of Natrona County and the State of Wyoming,” said Jessica Oden, Chair of the WMC Board of Directors. “Banner is simply a natural fit, is committed to ensuring WMC’s future success and is the right partner for our hospital and Natrona County.”

WMC will move forward to join Banner Health and become the health system’s regional referral center, expanding Banner’s Wyoming footprint with three additional rural hospitals in the state – Platte County Memorial Hospital in Wheatland, Community Hospital in Torrington and Washakie Medical Center in Worland.

“As an organization with Western roots, it is a privilege for us to be able to take care of more people in Wyoming and improve the overall health of the communities we serve,” said Scott Nordlund, chief strategy and growth officer for Banner Health. “As a non-profit health care provider, our mission is to make health care easier so life can be better, and we are looking forward to expanding access to high-quality health care close to home for the people of Natrona County and Wyoming.”

In order to ensure WMC’s future as Wyoming’s flagship hospital, Banner will:

  • Preserve and further WMC’s non-profit mission, allowing the hospital to continue caring for all patients, regardless of ability to pay.
  • Expand and grow health care access and advance medical care in the community, region and state.
  • Keep and expand the delivery of medical services in rural areas in Wyoming.
  • Maintain WMC’s Level II trauma center status in perpetuity.
  • Invest $100 million in capital 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.

The approved agreements for WMC to join Banner will result in one of the largest independent, non-profit foundations in Wyoming. The WMC 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 its facilities and technology, as well as other charitable efforts. The WMC Foundation will receive regular reports from Banner to ensure commitments by Banner are adhered to and fulfilled.

Banner’s purchase of the hospital’s land, buildings and equipment from the County will give the County the opportunity to provide one-time funding support of $40 million to the WMC Foundation and secure approximately $117 million that can be invested for the County’s future. WMC joining Banner will also eliminate approximately $50 million in County debt.

“Working with Banner to advance the health and wellness of our region is an exciting step forward for local health care,” added Michele Chulick, WMC President and CEO. “We have every confidence that WMC joining Banner will be incredibly valuable to Natrona County and the people of Wyoming. We look forward to doing more for the people we serve.”

Importantly, patients will continue to have access to all the services and physicians they know today. In addition, Banner is committed to retaining all WMC staff with substantially the same base salaries, job duties, titles and responsibilities for at least one year. Beyond that year, Banner and WMC leaders will determine job mapping and titles to align with Banner’s best practices. Employees will not need to re-apply for their jobs. WMC will also continue to maintain an open medical staff, allowing physicians to choose how they affiliate and preserving existing privileges.

WMC and Banner will now work to come together over the coming weeks and months, including completing the standard required regulatory processes. The anticipated timeframe to formally close the transaction is sometime this fall. To learn more, visit WMCForward.org.

About Wyoming Medical Center

Wyoming Medical Center is the state’s largest hospital with 249 beds, more than 45 medical specialties and 13 primary, specialty and immediate care clinics. As a regional trauma and referral center, we serve 11 Wyoming counties with more than 250,000 people. We are Casper’s only full-service, non-profit hospitals with comprehensive heart, stroke and trauma care. For more information, visit wyomingmedicalcenter.org. In connection with the agreements with Banner Health and Natrona County, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP is serving as the exclusive strategic advisor and legal counsel to WMC and J.P. Morgan is serving as exclusive financial advisor to WMC.

About Banner Health

Headquartered in Arizona, Banner Health is one of the largest non-profit healthcare systems in the country. The system owns and operates 28 acute-care hospitals, Banner Health Network, Banner – University Medicine, academic and employed physician groups, long-term care centers, outpatient surgery centers and an array of other services; including Banner Urgent Care, family clinics, home care and hospice services, pharmacies and a nursing registry. Banner Health is in six states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming. For more information, visit BannerHealth.com. In connection with the agreements with Wyoming Medical Center and Natrona County, Citi is serving as exclusive financial advisor to Banner Health.