CASPER, Wyo. — The Wyoming Medical Center said on Thursday, Aug. 13 that the sale of Natrona County’s hospital assets to Banner Health
The WMC Board of Directors and WMC Foundation Board voted unanimously to approve the agreement with Banner on Wednesday. The Natrona County Commissioners and Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees voted on Thursday to approve the sale of the hospital land, buildings and equipment to Banner for $157 million.
The WMC says these actions will allow WMC to join Banner Health, which also operates Platte County Memorial Hospital in Wheatland, Community Hospital in Torrington and Washakie Medical Center in Worland.
“This is an important milestone for our community, and we are excited to bring together two market-leading and highly respected health care organizations to provide even stronger regional, high-quality health care to the people of Natrona County and the State of Wyoming,” WMC Board Chair Jessica Oden said in the release. “Banner is simply a natural fit, is committed to ensuring WMC’s future success and is the right partner for our hospital and Natrona County.”
The WMC say that Banner will:
-Preserve and further WMC’s non-profit mission, allowing the hospital to continue caring for all patients, regardless of ability to pay.
-Expand and grow health care access and advance medical care in the community, region and state.
-Keep and expand the delivery of medical services in rural areas in Wyoming
-Maintain WMC’s Level II trauma center status in perpetuity
-Invest $100 million in capital over the next 10 years dedicated to WMC facilities, technology,programs, people and operations. This commitment is above and beyond intended upgrades to IT infrastructure and other capital investmentsWMC
“As an organization with Western roots, it is a privilege for us to be able to take care of more people in Wyoming and improve the overall health of the communities we serve,” Banner Health Chief Strategy and Growth Officer Scott Nordlund said in the release. “As a non-profit health care provider, our mission is to make health care easier so life can be better, and we are looking forward to expanding access to high-quality health care close to home for the people of Natrona County and Wyoming.”
The agreement will make the WMC Foundation “one of the largest independent, non-profit foundations in Wyoming.”
“The WMC Foundation will receive more than $220 million in projected initial funding to focus on health care in Natrona County and provide significant annual support specifically to WMC for its facilities and technology, as well as other charitable efforts,” the WMC says. “The WMC Foundation will receive regular reports from Banner to ensure commitments by Banner are adhered to and fulfilled.”
“Banner’s purchase of the hospital’s land, buildings and equipment from the County will give the County the opportunity to provide one-time funding support of $40 million to the WMC Foundation and secure approximately $117 million that can be invested for the County’s future.”
The agreement will also allow the county to eliminate $50 million in debt, according to the release.
“We have every confidence that WMC joining Banner will be incredibly valuable to Natrona County and the people of Wyoming,” WMC President and CEO Michele Chulick said in the release. “We look forward to doing more for the people we serve. Importantly, patients will continue to have access to all the services and physicians they know today.”
The WMC said Banner is committed to retaining all WMC staff “with substantially the same base salaries, job duties, titles and responsibilities for at least one year.”
“Beyond that year, Banner and WMC leaders will determine job mapping and titles to align with Banner’s best practices,” the WMC adds. “Employees will not need to re-apply for their jobs. WMC will also continue to maintain an open medical staff, allowing physicians to choose how they affiliate and preserving existing privileges.”
“WMC and Banner will now work to come together over the coming weeks and months, including completing the standard required regulatory processes. The anticipated timeframe to formally close the transaction is sometime this fall.”