Worland hospital plans $23.4M expansion

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WORLAND – Washakie Medical Center will soon break ground on a $23.4 million expansion that will add 16 beds, a new surgical suite, a renovated emergency department and more.

The changes come soon after Washakie County – the owner of the hospital – negotiated a fresh 15-year lease with Banner Health to run the hospital. ANB Bank in Worland financed Washakie County with the $23.4 million bond to pay for the changes, and Banner will in turn help pay for the bond through lease payments for the updated facility. The hospital didn’t elaborate on how large the lease payments would be.

Jay Stallings, who has been CEO at the hospital for about a year now, called the expansion a “true collaboration” in a release, adding that the changes should enhance the ability for many Wyomingites to get access to health care close to home. The comment hints at an ongoing dilemma many hospitals face as people, especially those close to state boundaries, flow outside the state to get advanced medical care due to real or perceived gaps in local medical availability.

The hospital will break ground on the renovation Tuesday, June 16, and construction is expected to last about 20 months.

All told, the renovation and expansion will add the following, according to the release:

•    A new patient wing with 12 rooms and 16 beds, two labor and delivery rooms
•    A new surgical suite with two new operating rooms and an endoscopy suite
•    Expanded new lab and pharmacy
•    New respiratory therapy, chemotherapy and endoscopy areas
•    A renovated front entry with impacts to the admitting, business office, waiting room and gift shop

The hospital was built originally in 1962 and is operated by Banner Health. The company recently expanded its Wyoming footprint by acquiring the Wheatland Medical Clinic, effectively adding locations in Wheatland, Douglas and Guernsey after rebranding efforts.

For more on Banner’s growing footprint, watch for the 2015 MD Guide from Wyoming Business Report.

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