Northern Wyoming News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Tracie Mitchell
Staff Writer 

Washakie Medical Center raises the bar in services offered


October 10, 2018

WORLAND – When Banner Health Washakie Medical Center decided to change the hospital from the inside out they also decided to upgrade their services offered with the newest state-of-the-art technology and equipment.

Banner Health Washakie Medical Center CEO Jay Stallings stated that one of the benefits of Banner Health partnering with the county is that the hospital can afford the newest and best equipment available. He stated that normally small rural hospitals cannot afford the expenses of such equipment.

One of the first pieces of equipment to be upgraded in 2015 was the mammogram technology called breast tomosynthesis. This new technology creates a 3D image of the breast which detects breast cancer in its earliest stages by allowing the breast to be examined one layer at a time. According to the information pamphlet, breast tomosynthesis uses high-powered computing to convert digital breast images into a stack of very thin layers or ‘slices’ – building what is essentially a ‘3-dimensional mammogram.’

During the hospitals $25 million transformation a new state-of-the-art lab was created which has given the hospital the ability to do microbiology. One of the benefits of being able to do microbiology is being able to do high sensitivity Troponin for early heart attack detection.

Banner Health Washakie Medical Center chief nursing officer LeGay Parks stated that the new technology allows the hospital to be able to detect the early signs of a heart attack much quicker than past technology, something that many other small rural hospitals are not able to do. “We can now treat people quicker, save more heart muscle and save more people’s lives,” she said.

Completing the cancer department allows the hospital to offer full service cancer treatments with the exception of radiation oncology. Dr. Sameh Abuerreish has signed on with the hospital, something Stallings stated the hospital has never had before, “a highly thought of and highly respected cancer doctor.” Stallings added that being able to drive a few minutes to the hospital and home again after a treatment instead of a couple hours will help make a cancer patient’s suffering less and save on the pocketbook.

The hospital now offers procalcitonin which is sepsis detection. Podiatry, which is the treatment of feet, wellness labs every week day instead of the just on Wednesdays, aromatherapy, aesthetics such as chemical peels, Botox and those type of cosmetic procedures, cardiac and pulmonary rehab. Stress testing, Holter monitors (monitoring the heart) and home sleep studies have been re-established.


With all the new technology and their determination to be the best that they can be along with making sure that everyone is treated with kindness and respect, the hospital has been earning many recognitions in the state and nationally. “We are acknowledged within Banner for doing many things first and best. So there is always a little friendly competition in ensuring that we are meeting the criteria for clinical excellence and we are acknowledged for doing that quite often,” Stallings said.

The hospital was recognized in March as one of the top 100 critical access hospitals in the nation by the Chartis Center for Rural Health. “It’s a pretty big deal. There were only 24 states where those [critical access] hospitals were acknowledged. There were two facilities recognized in the state of Wyoming, one over in Star Valley and the one here in Worland. There are 1,334 critical access hospitals in the United States and to be recognized out of those 1,334 to be in the top 100, that’s something that I am incredibly pleased about and most importantly to acknowledge the great caregivers that we have here. I think it speaks a lot for Washakie County, for the leadership of the board of trustees, the commissioners collectively with the leadership of Banner on the operations that we provide every day. It’s just nice to have it recognized, so I am incredibly pleased about that,” Stallings said.

The hospital has received the Mountain Pacific Quality Award for the last three years and Dr. Diane Norton was recognized in an article for Women for Wyoming.

Kyle Cameron, who works for the Wyoming Department of Health in quality, has nominated the hospital for the National Rural Health Day 2018 Community Star. Stallings stated that Cameron goes to all the rural hospitals in Wyoming and that the “hospital is humbled and pleased to think that she would nominate them.”


Finding quality nurses and doctors to come and work at a rural hospital has proved a challenge but the hospital has met the challenge by changing their infrastructure. “We have changed our culture so much. In 2015 we had to use 54 percent travelers because we didn’t have enough full time RN [registered nursing) staff that were at the bedside taking care of patients. So over the last three years we have changed our culture to become a place where people want to come work, because they know that our quality measures are good, our team is very cohesive and it’s a good and rewarding team to work in. So we have filled all of our bedside RN positions, we don’t have any openings whatsoever right now,” Parks said. “That was a huge accomplishment,” she added.


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