New Casper hospital rumors cause concern

2013-07-15T20:00:00Z 2013-08-16T23:49:51Z New Casper hospital rumors cause concernBy JOSHUA WOLFSON Star-Tribune staff writer Casper Star-Tribune Online

The addition of new, for-profit hospital in Casper could force cuts at Wyoming Medical Center that would ultimately cost lives, officials said.

Rumors of a third hospital, which have circulated for weeks, made their way Monday to the Natrona County Commission, which passed a resolution warning against “excess hospital development.” The vote came after top officials at WMC said revenue loss from a new hospital could

put their trauma and cardiac programs at risk.

“If we are not offering these procedures because we can’t afford to support the massive infrastructure of physicians and equipment and facilities, people are going to die,” said WMC Chief Medical

Officer Dr. Carol Solie. “It is that black and white.”

Medical center leaders met with commissioners for nearly an hour to share their concerns. Neither they nor the commission offered any firm details on the third hospital. But according to rumors discussed at the meeting, it would be a 10-bed specialty facility at least partially owned by a group of local physicians.

No one representing the hospital project spoke at the meeting. Physicians who are rumored to be involved in the venture have not responded to calls from reporters. Nor has anyone formally applied with the state for a license to open a new hospital in Casper, said Wyoming Department of Health spokeswoman Kim Deti.

The federal health reform law prohibits doctor-owned hospitals from treating Medicare and Medicaid patients. If the new hospital only treats people who can pay, Wyoming Medical Center stands to lose its more lucrative patients, while continuing to care for those with complications or who can’t afford to go anywhere else, said WMC President Vickie Diamond.

That, WMC officials say, could force cuts in services like trauma care, resulting in more patients who would be transferred to out-of-state hospitals.

“The delayed medical care would affect our patients’ recovery, quality of life and chance of survival,” Diamond told the commission.

Natrona County already has 214 beds at Wyoming Medical Center and the specialty Mountain View Regional Hospital, Diamond said. On a per-capita basis, Wyoming has more beds than 90 percent of the country.

Adding more beds would bring more excess and inefficiency to the local health care system, Diamond argued. The more medical services are available, she reasoned, the more they are utilized, whether or not they’re needed.

The resolution passed by commissioners did not refer to any specific proposal for a new hospital. It states new hospital developments raise concerns about excess supply and may cause economic harm to the county’s existing health care system.

Commissioner Bill McDowell said he asked someone else to write the resolution because his message would have been even

more direct.

“We don’t want you around,” he said in reference to a possible third hospital. “It’s a great risk to our community. I believe it is a huge risk not only financially, but a huge risk to the quality of care that we have in our community.”

Commissioners stressed that they support competition and the free market. But the county has an interest in Wyoming Medical Center remaining viable, noted Commissioner Rob Hendry. The county o

wns the medical center facility and relies on the nonprofit hospital to provide mandated care to those who cannot afford to pay, he said.

Contact Joshua Wolfson at 307-266-0582 or at Visit to read his blog. Follow him on Twitter @joshwolfson.

Copyright 2015 Casper Star-Tribune Online. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(15) Comments

  1. WYEMT
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    WYEMT - July 18, 2013 12:59 pm
    Well you know that if WMC would not be so money hungry (note: Non-profit Hospital) and by making sure that the admin. got bonuses and pay raises each year, but instead it took care of the patients and those making them that money they would not have to worry. A few years ago staff were told that NO ONE would be getting raises, and there would be other cut backs made due to WMC being fined (Fraud) and losing their sole provider status. But Admin still had catered in meals (Prime Rib) for meetings, went to lunch on the hospital, Admin. all got a pay raise, and admin and managers got bonuses a couple times during the year. While the front line employee got Nota, Nothing, but told that they weren’t working hard enough.
    Part of the reason that this new hospital is looking to come it and Mountain View hospital started is due to the admin at WMC and the way that they treated the doctors, staff and patients.
    Recently WMC lost a very good Neuro Surgeon and a Physician Assistance was all over the fact that they asked for a 5% pay raise and then dropped in down to 1% due to the increase in insurance. WMC said no, so now the State of Montana is getting this good Neuro Surgeon.
    WMC is worried because the doctors that are looking at opening this new hospital will no longer work for WMC or receive patients there. There is plenty of staff that would be willing to go to the new hospital, where they might have the opportunity to be treated like humans instead of slaves. Where they are not controlled by the HR department (no matter if you are a good employee, make HR mad and you will be fired in less than 6 months for some BS reason). It is well known around WMC that if you have worked there over 8 years you either have to kiss their rump or keep looking over your back. WMC would rather sacrifice knowledgeable and seasoned patient care to save a buck.
  2. SpongeBob_ParrotLoad
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    SpongeBob_ParrotLoad - July 16, 2013 11:19 pm
    Memo to the WMC publicity crew: Great job, scaring the poo out of those commissioners. They totally fell for it! "If we have to compete, people are GOING TO DIE." Genius! Let's keep the ball rolling and tell them if we can't get rid of that pesky indigent care requirement, even more people will die! Don't worry about the taxpayers getting wise to the ruse though because -- here's the best part -- THEY ELECTED THE COMMISSIONERS! I know! I know! I'm practically wetting my pants right now. They say laughter is the best medicine ... LOL ... I just can't stop ...
  3. lana2441
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    lana2441 - July 16, 2013 10:36 am
    Maybe Natrona County needs to get out of the hospital business as a whole. Privatize WMC and I am sure they will have better doctors, better care, and probably actually be profitable. WMC has had a sweet deal with the county for too long.
  4. Sassy
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    Sassy - July 16, 2013 7:52 am
    Natrona County needs to clean house immediately !

    I simply can not believe what the Commissioners have just done. They have hung a KEEP OUT sign at the county line.

    The citizens need to start a petition - remove these clowns at once!! They have cost the city and county jobs....
  5. rlschulz
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    rlschulz - July 16, 2013 7:28 am
    Yep, great system isn't it. And if you add a third surgical hospital, now you will probably have to pay some sort tax to help subsidize their care. Free enterprise stopped, when government got involved and said you have to treat everyone, regardless of their ability to pay.
  6. WyoJeff
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    WyoJeff - July 16, 2013 7:08 am
    “We don’t want you around,” he said in reference to a possible third hospital. “It’s a great risk to our community. I believe it is a huge risk not only financially, but a huge risk to the quality of care that we have in our community.”

    And now more choice is a bad thing?
  7. Sassy
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    Sassy - July 16, 2013 7:00 am
    Remember it is a 10 bed specialty hospital.......
  8. thehousemouse
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    thehousemouse - July 16, 2013 6:59 am
    i see a few problems with this approach. you can not monopolize an industry WMC. even though mcdowell is on the hospital board and its a favorite pet for him, to make a resolution to keep businesses out, who does he think he is? it would be like mini marts are told you cant locate here because we have 7-11's that need the people to stay in business. the nerve of this man knows no limits. "we support the free market rob" only if its in your interest to do so. you all just hung a sign on casper, dont come here if we have buddys or money invested with your competitor, cuz were gods and we decide who and what businesses will thrive in casper. nice attitude huh? tick tock said the clock, who will not make election this time?
  9. Sassy
    Report Abuse
    Sassy - July 16, 2013 6:57 am
    Well perhaps WMC should treat their Docs better, McDowell and Hendry you are a joke.
  10. Jeffrey
    Report Abuse
    Jeffrey - July 16, 2013 6:56 am
    And your point is??
  11. Jeffrey
    Report Abuse
    Jeffrey - July 16, 2013 6:54 am
    So, let me get this straight. Because I am a responsible hard working adult (who has health insurance), i must pay for all those who are not?????

    What happened to FREE ENTERPRISE??
  12. Micky
    Report Abuse
    Micky - July 16, 2013 5:01 am
    If another for profit hospital goes in, they would only take those strictly with good insurance that they will make sure pays them. Those who cannot afford insurance or are on medicare will be forced to hospitals that will except them. When you only have charity cases and people who need the medical help but don't have the means to get the care at one hospital, while those paying patients go somewhere else, your medical choices will slowly be eliminated and those who need the non-profits will have to go without altogether. No hospital can run without money and no hospital can stay in business on only those without insurance or strictly medicare. Take your pick.
  13. chuck64
    Report Abuse
    chuck64 - July 16, 2013 4:37 am
    total agree with you lostnsummr. I had a huge bill because I was ill and had no insurance at the time. We didn't qualify for a bill reduction or write off. I was told that if I was an illegal that they automatically write it off because they cannot get judgements against them. If another hospital goes in it means more competition and better care for patients. It means to keep all that money they get from the government they have to really help people more so they go to their ER. Let's face it mountain view doesn't want their ER and if you go their it SHOWS and at WMC you have a 6 hour or more wait to get a couple stitches.
  14. lostnsummr
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    lostnsummr - July 16, 2013 2:51 am
    I agree with this peraon. That would be a lot more legitimate if WMC didn't have that huge addition going up and I wasn't still paying them off from over ten years ago. They're ruthless, overpriced, greedy and heartless. I welcome the competition and hopefully some legitmate care. Personally Im tired of going out of state for quality care.
  15. sober21
    Report Abuse
    sober21 - July 15, 2013 11:15 pm
    Mr. McDowell you are truly a disappointment to the citizens of Natrona County. You cannot eliminate competition in business. You fail to mention that you are a member of the Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees and also a Commissioner. . Remember at the next election that you will have competition and the voters won't want you around either.
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