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Medical Care

A provider walks down a hall at the Wyoming Medical Center in 2017 in Casper. Officials announced Friday they would partner with a Colorado pediatric hospital to bring more specialized care to Casper.

Wyoming Medical Center will partner with a Colorado pediatric hospital to bring more specialized pediatric care to Casper, WMC announced, the latest in a recent spate of moves by the state’s largest hospital.

Children’s Hospital Colorado, the ninth-best such pediatric facility in the nation according to one report, will join WMC to provide better pediatric care to Casper-area residents, according to a WMC press release. The partnership will include in-person and telemedicine specialty care and bettering neonatal and pediatric care in Casper via training, education and “clinical practice guidelines.”

It’s unclear the full extent of what will be offered by the deal, by whom and how. A WMC spokeswoman was unable to provide more details Friday, and a Children’s Hospital spokeswoman did not return a message.

A press conference to officially announce the partnership is set for Tuesday.

It’s likely that Casper patients will have newfound access to pediatric specialists, long a deficiency in the health care market here.

“Expanding access to specialized pediatric services and coordinating care close to home means that our physicians and staff, along with Wyoming residents, can benefit from the expertise available at Children’s Colorado without the need to travel hundreds of miles,” WMC CEO Michele Chulick said in a statement Friday.

Anne Ladd, the executive director of the Wyoming Business Coalition on Health, said the partnership was good news for the hospitals and for Casper patients.

“It’s a stress reducer for parents to be able to get it closer to home,” she said.

She noted that it would save out-of-pocket costs, mainly travel, that would otherwise be incurred by families having to go out-of-state for pediatric specialty care.

Ladd said she was unsure how the partnership would affect costs and who would bear any increase in costs. But she cautiously speculated that increasing the case load for hyper-specialized providers might actually lower costs, as the relatively low number of cases those specialists may see in just one market — like Aurora — would force them to drive costs up. Moving into Wyoming, then, may help alleviate that.

Ladd said the Colorado hospital had “excellent reputation,” though its lack of presence in the Leapfrog survey — a national report on hospital quality that her group champions in Wyoming — meant she lacked data to speak further about Children’s Hospital’s quality.

The announcement is the most recent in a busy few months for the hospital, which is entering its second year under the leadership of Chulick. In April, the hospital announced it was buying Mountain View Regional for at least $37 million, after the smaller facility had siphoned off some business from WMC.

Follow education reporter Seth Klamann on Twitter @SethKlamann

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Education and Health Reporter

Seth Klamann joined the Star-Tribune in 2016 and covers education and health. A 2015 graduate of the University of Missouri and proud Kansas City native, Seth worked for newspapers in Milwaukee and Omaha before coming to Casper.

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