RIVERTON — After a year of diligent work on preparations for building a new full-service hospital, leaders of the Riverton Medical District say a key provision in the effort will be ensuring that the hospital is owned locally and controlled locally.
“We have a chance to change the trajectory of our community,” said Corte McGuffey of the hospital district leadership group in a community meeting Tuesday at Riverton Middle School.
After watching with dismay as national hospital corporate giant LifePoint opted to eliminate many services at its Riverton hospital and transfer many functions to the hospital it owned in Lander in recent years, the Riverton group formed last summer and has now spent 12 full months in a step-by-step process they now believe will lead to a new, independent hospital in Riverton, built from the ground up.
The Riverton Medical District initiative has drawn on local experts in management, finance, legal services and medicine, while also receiving help from cooperative hospital leaders from around Wyoming. Consultation at the national level also has taken place.
Vivian Watkins, a founding member of the local group, said an ownership structure is being put in place to ensure two key provisions mandated by the Riverton Medical District.
“First, our hospital will be entirely under local control,” she said at the Tuesday meeting.
“Also, it will be established in such a way that it can never be sold ” without local approval.
Central to that setup is the establishment of a local hospital trust which would own the new facility and be governed by a panel of local trustees – “not in Tennessee, but here,” Watkins said, referring to the out-of-state corporate management of Life Pointy, which since has sold the two Fremont County hospitals to a different corporate parent.
By Steve Peck
Riverton Ranger Via Wyoming News Exchange