Wyoming Medical Center continues to expand its patient care throughout the state, and is now Wyoming’s largest hospital.
A 35-bed facility when it opened in 1911, the hospital now has 249 beds on two campuses.
“With more than 1,300 employees, we are Casper’s second-largest employer and have more than 300 providers in 59 medical specialties,” Wyoming Medical Center public relations representative Kristy Bleizeffer said in an email. “As a nonprofit corporation, we invest all money back into serving the health of our community, providing more than $50 million in charity and uncompensated care each year.”
Last year, the Casper-based medical care provider purchased the assets of Mountain View Regional Hospital in Casper and now operates it as Wyoming Medical Center East Campus. It is a state-of-the-art neurosurgical and orthopedic surgical hospital.
Before that, it opened the McMurry West Tower in 2014, adding new public space, two new patient floors and an interfaith chapel. The following year, it opened a primary care clinic and an urgent care clinic – Mesa Primary Care and Immediate Care. WMC added a health and wellness center in 2017, which includes a 6,000-square-foot wellness center and a 1,000-square-foot group fitness room. The facility offers massage therapy, acupuncture, nutrition consultations, and health and wellness coaching.
Being Wyoming’s biggest hospital means WMC cares for people inside and outside Casper city limits. As a regional trauma and referral hospital, it covers 11 Wyoming counties and 19 communities, which totals more than 250,000 Wyoming residents. In 2018, WMC had 8,588 Wyoming inpatients who required overnight hospitalization. Of those, 2,404 lived somewhere other than Natrona County.
“Providing an exceptional patient and family experience is at the center of everything we do,” Bleizeffer said. “That includes providing services where people can access them – in Casper and across the state.”
One way WMC does this is through outreach clinics around Wyoming, where it provides care in specialties ranging from allergies to urology. The center leases space in several communities and sends physicians there on a regular basis to provide care. WMC also has three telehealth clinics that connect patients with their Casper-based specialists in real time via telehealth equipment.
WMC is known for its stroke care, and is the state’s first primary stroke center certified by the Joint Commission, a hospital accrediting organization. It treats more than 200 stroke patients each year from across the state.
“We are the only hospital that can do mechanical thrombectomy, a procedure in which interventional radiologists use specialized imaging equipment to pull blood clots from blocked vessels in the brain to stop a stroke,” Bleizeffer said. “This can greatly improve outcomes in some stroke patients. This is possible because we are Wyoming’s only hospital with 24-hour interventional radiology coverage.”
WMC’s TeleStroke Wyoming program provides 24-hour neurologist coverage to hospital emergency departments across the state, which ensures the same lifesaving stroke care to patients both inside and outside of WMC’s coverage area.
“Neurologist Dr. David B. Wheeler was named the American Heart Association’s 2019 physician of the year for his work to connect this system of care for stroke patients across the state,” Bleizeffer said.
Wheeler is the medical director of WMC’s Primary Stroke Center.
WMC offers several other services that line up with being the largest hospital in the state. It offers Wyoming’s only 24-hour intensivist coverage in its ICU and has a Level II neonatal intensive care unit for infants who need a higher level of care after birth. It also is getting ready to open a new interventional radiology suite this fall. According to Bleizeffer, this will expand the ability to perform mechanical thrombectomy and will allow WMC to treat cancerous tumors, traumatic injury and heart conditions. The suite will include the state’s only bi-plane fluoroscopy equipment, which is a digital X-ray machine with two rotating cameras that produce the most detailed 3-D images currently available to physicians.
Looking to the future, the hospital plans to continue to grow and advance Wyoming’s level of medical care.
“Health care is always changing, and Wyoming Medical Center has always adapted and evolved in order to provide the most up-to-date, evidence-based treatments available,” Bleizeffer said. “The more services we can offer patients from across the state, the less likely they will need to travel long distances to seek treatment out of state. Staying close to home for high-quality medical care is easier on patients and their families.”