WMC and Banner Health leaders confident a partnership will be good for Wyoming

Published: Jul. 28, 2020 at 6:54 PM CDT
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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Recently the quiet period between Wyoming Medical Center and Banner Health ended. WMC released a list of benefits a partnership will lead to including: “A commitment from Banner to invest a total of $100 million over the next 10 years in WMC, the WMC Foundation receiving more than $220 million to focus on health care in Natrona County, Banner’s purchase of land, buildings and equipment from the county and the elimination of approximately $50 million in debt the county has, the formation of a new Wyoming Advisory Board, WMC will keep its name and patients will continue to be able to receive care from the same physicians they do today.”

“It will provide Wyoming Medical Center an opportunity for further growth and enhancement. Growth for new clinical services, growth for additional volume and for us to be able to expand our specialty care across the entire state of Wyoming,” said WMC President and CEO, Michele Chulick.

“When you become part of a larger organization, there are opportunities that come along with that simply because of the size and scale that an organization like Banner, that’s nearly a $10 billion operator, that can bring to you,” said Banner Health Chief Strategy and Growth Officer, Scott Nordlund.

But the Natrona County Medical Society not only has felt left out of the discussions, it feels Banner will eliminate independent physicians and also drive up costs of health care.

“Big companies like Banner come in and they buy up a lot of practices in town and just choke out the little guys, and basically take over the community as far as health care goes,” said NCMS President, Eric Lawrence D.O.

“I think those independent practices will go away, they’ll be incorporated into Banner, I think there will be one choice in town and that eventually will be Banner,” said NCMS past president, Matt Mitchell.

Mitchell said the potential deal feels like a short term solution and will be bad in the long run.

Nordlund said Banner does not come into areas looking to eliminate jobs, it’s a growth company.

“We’re gonna be looking to grow what’s already here, we’re not gonna be looking to change things. We’re gonna be looking to partner with people who are in this community and we’re gonna be looking to continue the partnerships that are working well already for Wyoming Medical Center,” said Nordlund.

When it comes to health care prices, Nordlund said the size of Banner will be a positive for driving down prices, and there will continue to be partnerships and competition.

Chulick also said the potential partnership will be good for all Wyomingites.

“A big brother, a big partner is really a positive for us to be able to look at enhancing our already sophisticated clinical services, and taking it to the next level,” said Chulick.

For the NCMS, it just wants the community to know what’s going on and make sure they are in favor of it. The next step for the partnership would be approval of plans from WMC’s Board of Directors and also the Natrona County Commissioners.

Copyright 2020 Wyoming News Now. All rights reserved.

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