Oct 01 Wyoming Medical Center officially affiliates with Banner Health
The organizations aim to spend 15 months to complete full integration
Casper, Wyo. – With a goal of being stronger together, Banner Health and Wyoming Medical Center leaders will host an internal open house to welcome each other into a new affiliation, which is effective today. The transaction makes Wyoming Medical Center Banner’s flagship hospital in Wyoming.
Leaders from Banner Health including Banner Western Region President Margo Karsten join the WMC team for a welcome event today.
“I am so proud of the work Banner and WMC have done to bring us to this point,” Karsten said. “As we continue the journey, I want to learn more about what WMC does best, and our teams will share what Banner does best. We are in a wonderful position to take the best practices from both organizations so we absolutely can be better together.”
Oct. 1 also marked the first day for James Bleicher, M.D., in his interim CEO role after the retirement of former CEO Michele Chulick. Bleicher has been the Chief Clinical Officer at WMC for more than two years, and will continue to serve in both capacities.
“I can say with the utmost confidence that I say that our affiliation with Banner will be incredibly valuable to Natrona County and the people of Wyoming,” Bleicher said. “I’m looking forward to the next step of our journey.”
The transition is seamless for patients, with no changes to the hospital, its affiliated clinics, or billing systems planned at this time.
Karsten noted the date of Jan. 1, 2022, which is when Banner expects to fully integrate WMC into the health system. Much of the work beginning immediately involves information technology, licensing and other issues that don’t directly impact health care consumers and front-line employees.
”In this first discovery phase, the majority of systems, policies and processes will remain unchanged,” said Karsten. “Leaders from both organizations will collaborate and compare notes and get to know one another so we can grow stronger across the board.”
Banner, a non-profit healthcare system, and the WMC Board of Directors announced in August that it, along with the WMC Foundation Board, voted unanimously to approve WMC’s agreement with Banner. In addition, at a special meeting of the Board of Natrona County Commissioners and the County-appointed Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees, the County approved a separate $157 million sale of land, buildings and equipment associated with WMC to Banner.
“Banner is a non-profit committed to the communities they serve,” said Bleicher. “So all of us here at Wyoming Medical Center can continue to do what we do best – take care of people.”
WMC now becomes Banner’s flagship hospital in Wyoming and the health system’s regional referral center, expanding Banner’s existing Wyoming footprint that includes three rural hospitals in the state – Platte County Memorial Hospital in Wheatland, Community Hospital in Torrington and Washakie Medical Center in Worland.
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.
To keep up to date with the transaction, visit WMCForward.org.
About Wyoming Medical Center
Wyoming Medical Center is now owned by Banner Health, one of the nation’s largest health care systems with 29 hospitals in six states. WMC is Wyoming’s largest hospital with 249 beds on two campuses, more than 45 medical specialties and 14 primary, specialty and immediate care clinics. As a regional trauma and referral center, WMC serves 11 Wyoming counties with more than 250,000 people. It operates 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 29 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.