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Uncompensated care at local hospitals approaching $6 million annually

Uncompensated care at local hospitals approaching $6 million annually

The amount of uncompensated care provided by SageWest Health Care hospitals in both Lander and Riverton during the past year totaled $5.8 million. Uncompensated care is explained as services rendered but not paid for, usually to patients who cannot afford their bills. That was the report presented Wednesday by Chief Executive Officer Steve Erixon at a meeting of the Rotary Club of Lander. Erixon noted that the hospitals are continuing to react and deal with impacts from the Affordable Care Act and he said the lack of population in the state is really hurting individuals who are seeking insurance. “Wyoming has the most expensive premiums in the nation, and that was before WinHealth left the exchange,” he said. “Our low population combined with a huge geographical area makes insurance costly.” While the two SageWest hospitals serve primarily Fremont County, he said a portion of Hot Springs County is also in their service area. For the future, he said the hospital would like to expand it’s service area to other adjacent counties. Erixon also said the hospitals are waiting to hear the fate of Fremont County Emergency Medical Services, the county’s ambulance service. He said Guardian Flight is still in negotiations with the county to take over the ground ambulance system and combine that with its helicopter and single-wing aircraft stationed in Riverton and Lander, respectively. Some Interesting Facts: In a presentation on the impact of the local hospitals on the county, Erixon noted that between the two facilities, there are 440 employees with an annual payroll of $30.5 million. He said the hospitals paid $387,772 in taxes. The CEO said SageWest has made contributions to 25 different local organizations in the past year and, in 2014, a total of $2.9 million in capital improvements was reinvested back into the hospitals in the form of updated and new equipment. For 2016, Erixon said LifePoint Hospitals, the owner of SageWest, is planning to add 20 beds to the Pine Ridge Psychiatric Hospital inside its Lander facility and install a new MRI in Riverton, a total investment of some $16-million Erixon said SageWest is exploring possible partnership opportunities with the University of Colorado Medical Center in Aurora and/or the University of Utah Medical Center in Salt Lake City for special services. *Feature Photo: CEO Steve Erixon talked with Sheriff Skip Hornecker after Erixon's Wednesday presentation in Lander. Pitchengine Communities.* #county10 #news