An official with Cheyenne Regional Medical Center says CRMC has narrowed down the field of potential healthcare affiliates to three front-range healthcare providers.

Phyllis Sherard is the hospital's Chief Strategy Officer and Vice-President for Population Health. She says the current field of contenders for affiliation now includes Centura Health, HCA Healthone, and UC Health.

Sherard says the next step in the process will include visits to the three healthcare providers to look at things such as how their culture would fit with CRMC, what kind of improvements the three companies have made in recent years, and a wide range of other considerations.

Sherard says it's important to understand that an affiliation is not a sale or a merger because CRMC will continue to be owned by Laramie County, but she says the affiliation will allow the Cheyenne hospital to take advantage of the resources of a larger healthcare system without sacrificing community control of the local hospital.

Sherard says the CRMC assessment team will report back on their findings to the hospital board, with the evaluation process possibly taking several months. But she says the CRMC board could announce a decision sometime this fall.

Once that happens a contract has to be drawn up and agreed to, which Sherard says could mean an affiliation agreement goes into effect in the first part of 2018.