WMC Celebrates Centennial
The Wyoming Medical Center celebrated its 100th anniversary in Casper Tuesday. A century of community care:
“That one-hundredth anniversary tells you that we’re dedicated to our community and caring for our community. We have gone through some lean years and some tough years and we’re heading into a new reform, and we’re still going to be here in a hundred years. That’s how much we care about our community.”
Wyoming Medical Center CEO Vickie Diamond listed some of WMC’s pioneering efforts in medicine during her address, bold advances in treatment such as open-heart cardiac surgeries, Wyoming’s first and still only air ambulance, and their robotic control surgery system.
Ms. Diamond also cited innovations looking forward like their Emergency Department renovation and safety protocols that have reduced procedural accidents by 70 percent.
Dr. John Bailey, who has had privileges at the hospital since 1978, reminisced but also said medical care is changing and that WMC will have to compete in this evolving health care landscape.
Health care changing:
“We project that we will not collect 44 million dollars in charity care and about 21 million dollars in bad debt here at Wyoming Medical Center. This care is paid for by what I call a hidden tax on the people who buy health care and buy health insurance and pay in cash for their health care. Local and out-of-state hospitals are working hard to get our paying patients.”
During its centennial celebration, WMC also recognized employees for decades-long careers, many at the ceremony with more than 30 years. Some have been at the hospital considerably longer, such as registered nurses Julie Cann-Taylor with 39 years, Rosalie Ressler with 41 years, and Mary Jo Johnson…
A 45-year nursing career:
“I started in the summer of 1965. When I started working here, they were just starting to build the center section of the hospital, and if you’re sick this is where you want to be; this is the most caring atmosphere of any place I’ve ever been.
Historian and Author Rebecca A. Hunt, who wrote “Wyoming Medical Center, a Centennial History,” went through the names given to the hospital during the past hundred years.
“Wyoming State Hospital, Casper; the Casper Hospital; Natrona County Hospital, Memorial Hospital of Natrona County; Wyoming Medical Center.”
The hospital opened two time capsules exposed during the different building phases, one from 1956 and the other from 1967.
The 1956 time capsule contained undiscovered items from a 1939 time capsule and included some possibly unauthorized items from an employee named Jens Olsen, who included a newspaper article about the 1939 begining of World War II, a poem, and pictures of his family.