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NC Commissioners Pass Resolution Addressing Excess Hospital Development

Anthony Pollreisz, K2 Radio

Natrona County commissioners unanimously passed a resolution Monday night formally expressing concern about additional hospital development amid rumors of a third hospital possibly opening in Casper.

In the resolution, commissioners assert that a third hospital would significantly and negatively alter the quality of medical service provided by Wyoming Medical Center.

Bill McDowell is a chairperson for the Natrona County Board of County Commissioners. He says, though the resolution doesn’t disallow future hospital development, it clearly outlines its support of the county’s current healthcare providers.

“I have no regulatory authority, but, because it does have such an effect on our key asset, which is Wyoming Medical Center, I’ve got to step up and say, ‘Hey, guys, this really doesn’t make sense,’” McDowell said. “Hopefully, the citizens of Casper will also say that it really doesn’t make sense for us.”

Vickie Diamond, Wyoming Medical Center’s president and CEO, says a third hospital would impair healthcare throughout Natrona County. She says a third hospital may also cause WMC to lose its level II trauma center if revenues dip further.

“The danger is that we won’t have the breadth and depth of services we provide now, so we won’t be able to have trauma care and maybe some of the sophisticated cardiac care that we have,” Diamond said. “You’d have to go out of the county for those kind of services.”

Diamond says, because medical economics run counter to economics in the free market, an additional hospital entering Natrona County wouldn’t bring healthcare costs down.

Diamond says there are 214 beds spread across both Wyoming Medical Center and Diamond’s competition, Mountain View Regional Hospital.

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