Jan 2, 2014 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff WriterPredictions of Riverton having fewer doctors to care for its residents have proved true recently as more physicians leave their positions at area clinics.
The shortage prompted Cedars Health to expand its Wyoming network to Riverton to avoid interruption of patient care and medical services, said Ziad Skaf, the general manager of all Cedars Health clinics in Wyoming.
"Our plan is to provide accessibility and affordable quality care," Skaf said, adding that Cedars Health's contracts with major insurance companies helps provide that affordability.
The new office opened at 716 College View Drive on the west side of town near Central Wyoming College's Health and Science Center.
Cedars Health family nurse practitioner Rhonda Mclaughlin heads the Riverton office. Before the new clinic opened, Mclaughlin worked in Rock Springs while living in Riverton.
Skaf said he began to hear news of departing physicians in April 2012, with four primary care physicians leaving in one year. As a result, careful planning enabled Skaf and his team to open new clinics in Riverton, Casper and Rock Springs.
A shortage also is taking place at other health care provider networks in the state. Changes in the Affordable Care Act means providers are getting paid less for certain services while patients are paying more. For this reason, many physicians in the country are choosing to work for larger practices.
Patients with Medicare were reported to receive more benefits under the ACA reform. Several health care providers, including the Riverton Memorial Hospital, reported that a majority of their patients are on Medicaid or Medicare.
Cedars Health has six clinics in the state. If patients in Rawlins, Cheyenne or Sheridan need care, they can receive it in any of the clinics, with or without an appointment.
Cedars Health's urgent care services are offered on a walk-in basis and help treat issues that don't require emergency room attention. Patients with respiratory infections, minor burns, bites, cuts, sprains, sinus infections or coughs and colds can stop in for medical help.
Primary care is offered through a family nurse practitioner, and the services include well woman exams, well child care, physicals, immunizations, men's health care, check-ups and behavioral health care.
The business accepts all types of insurance and has a low flat rate for uninsured patients that also can be offered with a payment plan. Worker's compensation also is accepted.
The clinic offers occupational medicine, and testing comes with OccMed services such as drug and alcohol testing, spirometry, audiometry, vision screening, lab testing, hair follicle testing and wellness programs.
The new office opened Oct. 28 and has exam rooms equipped to offer in-office procedures and pediatric to geriatric services. The clinic maintains health records electronically and continues to expand its clinic and office space.
An open house is scheduled for January.
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