Hospitals in Wyoming Create Web of Care Options
Wyoming may not have a lot of people compared to other states, but its hospital population puts more densely populated areas to shame.
High-quality facilities can be found throughout the state, which has 26 acute-care hospitals, many owned by counties or special districts.
Wyoming Hospitals Are a Top Supporter in State
The state’s hospitals are a major force in Wyoming's economic development. A 2006 hospital association study found the health-care sector accounted for more than 10 percent of all employment in Wyoming, contributed $445 million to the economy through payroll and benefits, and generated an overall impact of $1.45 billion.
In addition, organizations such as the Wyoming Hospital Association, Wyoming Health Resources Network and Wyoming Critical Access Hospital Network work to tie various facilities together and promote initiatives that strengthen the entire system.
“We work to make sure the hospitals are able to operate and provide good quality care for our citizens and are always exploring new initiatives to help make that happen,” says Dan Perdue, president of the Wyoming Hospital Association.
Quality Care for Patients
One initiative under way is creation of a patient safety organization for the state that would work with the Rocky Mountain Patient Safety Organization in Colorado to prevent hospital errors and minimize the damage if and when they do occur.
“Patient safety and quality is an issue we want to be involved in, so it’s something we’re trying to coalesce around,” Perdue says.
Wyoming hospitals admissions numbered more than 52,000 in 2007, up 20 percent from a decade earlier.
Access to quality care is not confined to the major population centers. The 14 mainly rural hospitals that are part of the Wyoming Critical Access Hospital Network provide treatment close to home for local residents.
Wyoming Critical Access Hospital Network
The network, an affiliate of the hospital association, is run in partnership with the Wyoming Office of Rural Health and practitioners affiliated with the Wyoming Health Resources Network, which has worked since 1995 to connect health-care professionals with hospitals, clinics and facilities in the state, says Pennie Hunt, executive director.
The network was created when state officials, educators, the hospital association and groups representing doctors and nurses banded together to help rural communities with the sometimes difficult task of recruiting physicians and other health providers. The network participated in the placement of more than 160 health-care providers, including physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners in 22 of the 23 Wyoming counties.
Support such as that at every level for facilities and practitioners makes Wyoming a very attractive place to start or relocate a practice, Perdue says.
“I’ve been here 18 years and have always been impressed with the collegiality that exists among the facilities in this state,” he says. “I think that’s due in part to our limited resources; we really do need to rely on each other to get the job done. People here are always willing to exchange information and provide the best quality care for our citizens, and that really shows.”