Riverton Medical District receives $37m loan to build new hospital

Published: Apr. 11, 2022 at 5:36 PM CDT
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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - On April 11, the Riverton Medical District announced that they have been awarded a USDA Rural Development loan of $37 million dollars for the building of a new hospital. This is the largest award it has ever provided in Wyoming. The Riverton Medical District team is looking forward to creating a new, locally owned, and governed health care facility.

“We are absolutely thrilled about USDA’s positive response to our plans and we are extremely thankful for their confidence in the Riverton Medical District. With this terrific news, we will move forward with additional planning to provide excellent health care for our Riverton region. Special thanks to our supporters throughout the community, including the Eastern Shoshone Tribe for helping us secure the land. The District plans to keep the community updated as additional steps are accomplished,” said District Board Member Corte McGuffey.

According to District Board Member Vivian Watkins, the Eastern Shoshone Tribe donated four acres of land for the hospital to be built on, the medical district purchased an additional eight acres from the tribe, creating a total of 12 acres for the hospital to be built on.

The project began after Riverton community members noticed medical services were being moved out of the community hospital three and a half years ago. The group attempted to work with the hospital owner to bring services back, but was not successful. The group pivoted and decided the next best option was to open a new hospital that could offer the services the community needed.

“The members of the Riverton Medical District embarked on this important work over three years ago. We are grateful for the community members who have joined us to support this effort from the very beginning. It is only because of their unwavering confidence in us that we will have a community governed hospital that will bring medical security back to our area for generations to come,” said McGuffey.

According to Watkins, the current hospital is still open but provides limited medical services. One board member noted during the press conference that the last babies born in Riverton are now in elementary school.

“It makes it so hard on the families that have to jump in their car and take off as the helicopter heads to Casper. We have families out on the highway trying to get there to be with their loved ones, that’s just not acceptable care, at least not to us... It’s frightening to think about we have young mothers that are going through the canyon to Thermopolis or elsewhere, and if you have plenty of time and the weather is great and the roads are dry that might not be as frightening as it is at other times,” said Watkins.

The Riverton Medical District is working to build the hospital to serve patients and enhance health care services throughout the Riverton region. This includes plans for high-quality primary, acute, emergency, and specialty health care services, with a focus on being responsible community partners and providing local jobs in central Wyoming.

The low-interest USDA Community Facilities loan announcement adds to the recent news of the Riverton Medical District signing a Letter of Intent with Billings Clinic to be the clinical and managing partner for the new health care facility. Billings Clinic is a regional healthcare leader with an affiliation network featuring relationships with 17 healthcare facilities across Montana and Wyoming, including Basin, Lovell, Powel, and a clinic in Cody.

“Today is a big day for Fremont County residents. This citizen-led effort seeking access to quality health care has been inspiring. This loan is the largest Wyoming Rural Development award granted to date, and we are proud to partner with the Riverton Medical District to provide health care equity,” said State Director for USDA Rural Development Glenn Pauley.

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