I have had the honor and privilege to live and work in Natrona County for the past 15 years. This was my first job after completing training and I hope to finish my career here. I chose to work here because of the opportunities to help build much-needed programs in stroke and epilepsy care. In collaboration with Wyoming Medical Center, these services have grown to be highly respected regional programs recognized for excellence on a national basis.
By now, most of you have heard that Wyoming Medical Center and Banner Health have shared the proposed details of how they can join together to expand and grow access to care in our community. As we look to the future, I believe that Banner Health is the right fit for our community. I especially appreciate Banner’s commitment to developing and building systems of care for rural areas, which perfectly aligns with what I’ve spent the last 15 years building. Our stroke and epilepsy programs are widely respected across the region, and I see patients from all over Wyoming and surrounding states seek care here in Casper. These important efforts will grow as part of Banner.
We’re fortunate to have a Level 3 epilepsy center available here in Casper, and I look forward to the opportunity to network with other Banner providers at their Level 4 epilepsy center in Phoenix. Opportunities like these will be invaluable for providers in all specialties.
In Wyoming, telehealth has so much additional potential opportunity to help ensure access to care for our rural neighbors, and has been a key initiative in my practice for a few years. Banner can help us improve this capability and expand access to the care we offer in Casper. In the last two years, Wyoming Medical Center has brought access to telestroke care to 10 Wyoming hospitals outside Casper. I’m proud of this accomplishment, and expect that this partnership will bring Banner’s current critical access hospitals in Worland, Torrington and Wheatland into our system of care. I’m confident that Banner’s commitment to financial support and IT infrastructure will only make this network stronger.
Banner also has much to gain with a partnership with Wyoming Medical Center. WMC has been a leader in the state and region in developing healthcare protocols for years. I was recently appointed to the American Heart Association National Stroke Board of Directors, where I will have an opportunity to work with the nation’s top neurologists to develop stroke care nationally. I’m proud of this appointment, and know that our providers across our nearly 50 specialties are a big part of Banner’s decision to pursue an affiliation with Wyoming Medical Center.
As Wyomingites, we care about and look out for one another. WMC has long done the same for the people of our region, through their nonprofit mission and commitment to providing care to all patients regardless of their ability to pay. Banner understands this and is committed to these same important values as a nonprofit itself. As part of Banner, WMC will continue to be the same caring, generous neighbor we have all come to know.
I’m very encouraged by the foresight of our local hospital board of directors and the leadership of WMC in regard to the proposed details in joining Banner Health. As a physician, I’m not only inspired by what the combined organization will bring in advancing medicine in our region – I am comforted to know that we will continue to have a top-notch health system today and for future generations.
Dr. David B. Wheeler is board certified in neurology, epilepsy and clinical neurophysiology. He is a Rhodes Scholar and the 2019 American Heart Association Physician of the Year. He serves on the boards for Wyoming Dementia Care and the American Heart Association (Southwest Affiliate), and was recently appointed to the AHA National Stroke Board of Directors. He is director of the Wyoming Epilepsy Center and medical director of the Wyoming Medical Center Primary Stroke Center.
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