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SHERIDAN — Sheridan Memorial Hospital will add seven new physicians and one nurse practitioner to its ranks by mid-September. The new staff members have already been hired and passed through the credentialing process — a medical staff and hospital board review of their credentials to decide whether to grant the privileges they have requested — at the board session Wednesday or in June.
Two doctors — Luke Goddard and David Nickerson — were credentialed at the June 26 board meeting and were present at Wednesday’s rescheduled board meeting to give a few remarks and be welcomed by hospital board members. Incidently, both Goddard and Nickerson were born at SMH and expressed delight in being able to return to Wyoming to begin their practices. Goddard and Nickerson are serving as emergency medicine physicians in the emergency and urgent care departments.
The remaining seven staff members will arrive in August and September.
Dr. Rebecca Franklund was credentialed at the June board meeting. She has joined the Sheridan Women’s Clinic as an obstetrician/gynecologist with surgical privileges. Franklund will begin seeing new patients August 8.
Amy Rabon, women’s health nurse practitioner and certified nurse midwife, will also join the staff at Sheridan Women’s Clinic to assist primary physicians with patient care needs and non-physician surgical assistance. Rabon was approved at June’s board meeting.
Big Horn Mountain Medicine will be nearly doubling its staff with the addition of four new internists, who were approved at Wednesday’s board meeting after the board reconvened following executive session to discuss the credentials of prospective staff.
Dr. Jason Ackerman, who is from Wyoming, and his wife Dr. Julie Ackerman will begin seeing patients in September. Dr. Hannah Hall, who is also from Wyoming, will join the Big Horn Mountain Medicine staff in September, along with Dr. David Walker.
Chief Financial Officer Ed Johlman said that while the hospital continues to look for ways to cut costs and not increase hospital staff, hiring new physicians has been a key focus of CEO Mike McCafferty for three to four years.
Johlman said that the hospital has seen a decline in patient revenue due to fewer patients over the last year, but physicians often prescribe treatments that must be done at the hospital, so adding more doctors will hopefully increase patient revenue.
“Physicians drive patient service, always have and always will,” Johlman said. “As a result we will probably see greater levels of patients in the hospital as well.”
Johlman said physicians in Sheridan haven’t been able to keep up with patient demand, so McCafferty has worked hard to bring more primary care physicians to Sheridan.
In other business:
• The board unanimously voted to delegate Facilities Supervisor James Rader as safety officer for the hospital. Rader recently filled Rob Forrister’s position when Forrister took a position at Riverton Memorial Hospital.
• The board re-appointed Ron Mischke, Kevin Bailey, Gene Davis and Michael Strahan as officers on the board of trustees.
• Big Horn Health Network Director Lynn Custis updated the board on medical office space planning. At this time, Big Horn Mountain Medicine will expand into the old Free Clinic space on West Fifth Street, which is directly behind its current space on Burton Street. The hope is that Big Horn Mountain Medicine will eventually relocate into one location, but this expansion allows new physicians to join the team immediately.
• Hospital Foundation Executive Director Ada Kirven updated the board on the Foundation’s annual meeting Tuesday, noting that the Foundation was able to contribute its highest dollar amount ever raised in one year with a total of $6.4 million donated to a variety of hospital projects in fiscal year 2013.
• Dr. John Addlesperger noted that construction is progressing on the new urgent care department. Completion dates will be tied to the arrival of air control valves and inspections. Front desk and nursing staff have been hired and a service menu is being composed. The urgent care department is expected to open in September.