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Riverton, Lander health care facilities to merge

Jan 28, 2014 - By Kelli Ameling, Staff Writer

In order to keep roughly 100 years of combined service in the county, Western Family Care of Riverton and Lander Medical Clinic of Lander are merging.

According to Ryan Hedges, the chief executive officer for both clinics, the merger will be official Feb. 1 though the two health care facilities already have been sharing resources.

Lander Medical Clinic has been in business for about 60 years, and Western Family Care has been serving the county for about 40 years.

"We are trying to keep a vital part of our community going," Hedges said.

He said Riverton is seeing a loss in primary health care physicians, while Lander is in better shape.

"(Health care) is a need for the county," Hedges said. "This is a way to keep both places up and going."

Both buildings will stay open, and Hedges said a name change might come later on, but both clinics will try to maintain what they have.

"We will try to stay with the status quo as much as possible," he said.

Hospital merger

Hedges noted both Lander Regional and Riverton Memorial hospitals also are "unifying" to serve the medical needs of the county.

According to CEO Steve Erixon, the Lander and Riverton hospitals are collaborating to combine services.

Starting May 1, the hospitals will be under one license with two campuses.

Erixon said this means there will be one board, one medical care staff and one system to serve Fremont County.

"This is something we have been working on for about a year," Erixon said, and noted the two hospitals should have been collaborating before.

Because of the changing face of health care, Erixon said this collaboration was important for the people it serves because it will allow the hospitals to share resources.

Erixon said the hospitals have been owned by the same company, LifePoint, for years. However, the collaboration will bring the two under one system.

Patients won't notice much of a difference, he said, because most of the changes will be information technology-related.

Erixon said patients will be able to have one record between both hospitals, so if they visit the hospital in Lander, their information will be available if they have to go to Riverton.

"I think, what this means for the county, is better and more efficient health care," Erixon said.

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