Memorial Hospital Benefits Local Economy While Expanding Services

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ROCK SPRINGS  – The Board of Trustees of Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County (MHSC) recently announced the results of an Annual Economic Impact Analysis, conducted by healthcare consulting firm Quorum Health Resources. The report concluded that MHSC had a $216M positive impact on the community in 2015.

“Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County is proud of the economic impact it is making in our community,” stated hospital Board Chair Joe Manatos. “But our mission is first and foremost to deliver superior regional health care services that improve the health and wellness of all people and communities we serve.”

MHSC has invested in expanding local access to health care services to its rural service area. The nearest hospital to MHSC is more than 100 miles away, so the hospital has added services that can be provided locally, and strategically developed relationships with leading tertiary medical systems to provide services that can’t be provided in a small community.

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The campus of MHSC has transformed in recent years to better meet to needs of the patients and their families. Since 2010, the hospital has spent $4,500,000 annually on capital improvements, which includes buildings and major equipment. In 2014, the new 4-story Medical Office Building and Physician Clinic was opened, which houses the hospital’s employed medical practice that provides; obstetrics & women’s health, family medicine, pediatrics, internal medicine, behavioral health, general surgery, otolaryngology (ear, nose, & throat), oral surgery, adult primary care, nephrology, critical care, addiction medicine, hematology/oncology, urology, sports medicine & orthopedics and pulmonology.

The Medical Office Building also features expanded services such as rehabilitation services (physical, occupational, and speech therapy), dialysis, and cardiopulmonary rehab. The anchor of this project is the new, full-service Cancer Treatment Center. This state-of-the-art center, designed by and affiliated with the Huntsman Cancer Institute, is the first of its kind in the Southwestern Wyoming region.

Some growth has been simple organic growth of services, such as cardiac rehabilitation and occupational medicine. Other growth has been a result of thoughtful and deliberate investments to better meet the healthcare needs of residents of Sweetwater County locally.

Since 2010, there has been a significant decline in local residents who have had to leave the area to receive inpatient care. This outmigration change is largely attributable to the strategic relationships established with other health systems, including Shriners, University of Utah and Huntsman. These clinical affiliations have allowed a broader array and higher acuity of patients able to receive care locally. Examples of the value of these relationships include:

  • As the first Shriners Hospital for Children affiliated hospital in the U.S., MUSC helped save a local family an 8-hour drive to Shriners for a pediatric orthopedic patient’s 15-minute follow-up appointment at MHSC, with the help of state of the art radiology image taken at MHSC and transmitted to the orthopedic surgeon at Shriners.
  • Since MHSC affiliated with Huntsman Cancer Institute, a local cancer patient no longer has to rent an apartment in Colorado Springs to receive radiation treatment five days a week for six weeks.
  • The MHSC relationship with the University of Utah has better positioned the hospital to recruit and retain physicians in notoriously hard to attract specialties such as otolaryngology, nephrology, and critical care. Tele-stroke, tele-burn, and tele-ICU services are also available at MHSC as a result of this clinical affiliation.
  • Other important relationships with outside organizations include working with Castle Rock Hospital District to provide primary care clinic in Green River; contracting with High Desert Rural Health Care District to manage clinic in Wamsutter; working with Eden Valley Health Center to provide primary care providers in Farson; and contracting with Sweetwater County Community Health Center to staff the federal primary care provider clinic.

MHSC has made significant advancements in being able to provide needed healthcare services close to home. This is particularly important during the difficult winter months, given the geographic isolation of Sweetwater County from larger cities. “Continued investment in providing local access to care is essential in today’s changing health care environment,” noted Board Chair Manatos.