A regional hub for health care

The diversity and quality of health care options in Sheridan have turned the community into a regional health care hub.

Sheridan Memorial Hospital’s continued growth has expanded local offerings. Cecile Pattison, of SMH community relations said that growth is sustained, in part, by the strength of the community.

“We are in a desirable part of Wyoming, so we’re fortunate because that helps us attract a lot of different physicians and different specialties,” Pattison said. “And we are lucky in that way, because I’ve talked to other communities where it is harder for them to attract physicians to their area.”

Sheridan’s diverse roster of health care providers offers services in more than 20 specialties, Pattison said, which ultimately complement one another and benefit patients through more comprehensive local care options.

The philanthropy throughout Sheridan has also strengthened its medical offerings, Pattison said. The hospital’s Welch Cancer Center, for instance, is funded primarily through philanthropic donations.

Pattison said patients as far as 100 miles from Sheridan may rely on the community for their medical needs.

And SMH is in many ways central to Sheridan’s health care community. It offers services for every age bracket, starting with prenatal care. The hospital houses a women’s clinic staffed by five OBGYN physicians that Pattison said assist with the birth of about one baby each day.

In addition to traditional emergency and urgent care service, Pattison said the hospital sees a lot of patients seeking diabetes education and treatments throughout their lives in the community.

The hospital has also grown its internal medical practice. Pattison said SMH has recruited 12 internal medical providers that treat patients starting at 18 years old through the rest of their lives.

Because of Sheridan’s population, which skews older, Pattison said strong elder care is crucial for the community. The hospital primarily works with elders through case workers and case managers, who help connect them to elder care resources in the community.

Projections from the U.S. Census Bureau indicate that the proportion of elderly residents in Sheridan and the surrounding region will continue to grow. That growth can carry significant costs if elderly patients become reliant on expensive state- or community-funded treatments.

The Hub on Smith is central to Sheridan’s senior community and helps seniors stay healthy, active and socially connected and avoid expensive care, like admission into senior living facilities.

The Hub’s executive director, Carmen Rideout, said the center offers a number of home and community-based services focused on general wellness, such as exercise groups, nutritious community meals and social services. It also includes a licensed home-health care agency, Health at Home, which provides non-medical assistance to elderly residents, like housekeeping, laundry and everyday errands like shopping.

“That’s kind of what we’re all about, is staying healthy and connected as long as possible,” Rideout said. “We’re also a hub for information about [other resources that are available].”

Sheridan is also home to one of only two Veterans Affairs medical centers in the state.

Sheridan Veterans Affairs Health Care System public affairs officer Kristina Miller said the concentration of health care providers in the community allows the local VA to offer patients a broad range of services, as well.

“While we offer a lot of services at our VA, the VA could not provide the spectrum of care across the nation without community partnerships like we have here in Sheridan,” Miller said.

Sheridan’s VA Medical Center serves as the main campus of the Sheridan Veterans Affairs Health Care System, which has eight clinics located throughout the state. In the city of Sheridan, though, the VA can connect patients to numerous providers and specialists.

Through partnerships with organizations like The Hub on Smith, the Sheridan VA Health Care System can assist veterans through elder care, as well.

Community partnerships also enable the VA to assist veterans through services that go slightly beyond health care.

“We are always looking for more ways to partner with the community, especially through our employment services,” Miller said.

According to Miller, the Sheridan VA Health Care System is tied for fifth in the nation for employing veterans due largely to its partnerships with organizations and businesses in the Sheridan community.

“To me, that speaks to the support we get from the community,” Miller said.

That community support has helped Sheridan develop a variety of health care options that work off of one another to provide patients with comprehensive care options.

By |Feb. 15, 2019|

About the Author:

Michael Illiano joined The Sheridan Press as a government and politics reporter in February 2018. He is originally from New Jersey and graduated from Boston University. Email him at michael.illiano@thesheridanpress.com.

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