Wyoming Medical Center in Casper laid off 58 employees this week, and will not fill another 57 positions due to the state's declining energy-based economy. (courtesy Wyoming Medical Center)

Wyoming Medical Center laid off 58 employees today and announced it will not fill another 57 positions due to the region’s declining economy. The 9 percent reduction to Casper’s second-largest employer will trim an estimated $7.2 million in annual expenses.

Employees who were let go were notified this morning and offered a severance package that includes up to 60 days of pay.

Chief financial officer Yvonne Wigington said the hospital is simply serving more patients and getting paid less. Reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid continue to decrease. Seventy-one percent of patients rely on coverage that does not meet their full cost of service — a situation that will likely get worse as continuing layoffs in Wyoming’s energy sector leave more people without health coverage.

The hospital’s uncompensated care increased this fiscal year by $4 million, on track to total $55.1 million.

“We don’t, today, see that reimbursement from Medicare is going to increase, and we don’t see that we’re going to have a significant change in our economy for the better in the near future,” Wigington said.

At a press conference, CEO Vickie Diamond said hospital leadership had to take the painful action of laying off employees because of the “moral, ethical and legal” obligations as Natrona County’s only nonprofit hospital to provide care for all persons in the county.

“No patient care services are being cut,” Diamond said. “We are taking this action so we can remain healthy and strong for the years to come.”

Wyoming lawmakers this winter refused to expand Medicaid for the fourth year in a row — an action that would have added about $268 million for health care providers and patients statewide, according to the state’s top health experts. Diamond said if the Legislature had expanded Medicaid it might have added $2 million to the hospital’s fiscal year revenue.

Asked whether there’s anything Wyoming lawmakers could do to help the hospital’s fiscal situation in the near term, Diamond said probably not. “The horse is out of the barn.”

Dustin Bleizeffer is a Report for America Corps member covering energy and climate at WyoFile. He has worked as a coal miner, an oilfield mechanic, and for 25 years as a statewide reporter and editor primarily...

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  1. WY is full of republican votes who continually vote against their best interests. They continually believe the leaders that lie and steal to get what they want. Wy people have lost the in ate ability to think for oneself. Every single one, it seems, believes the lies that Obama killed coal, Obama sold our health out, etc.. All the while they have healthcare paid for by YOU. While you get nothing and have no choices, they get the best care. Of course, as I said, on OUR dime, man. If ANY of the incumbents get voted in Again, it will be time to move. That will mean the citizens haven’t learned a darn thing and probably never will. Tsk-Tsk 🙁

  2. Another state too stubborn/stupid to expand Medicaid because of Republican antipathy to the Affordable Care Act. I live in KS and our rural hospitals are suffering with some actually closing. Individuals with disabilities and the elderly are losing access to critical home based services — likely leading to more inappropriate institutionalization in nursing homes and other facilities. Those most in need suffer the most from the actions of partisan ideologues.

  3. Wyoming, is not the only state facing these layoffs in the Healthcare industry. Oklahoma Louisiana and my home state of Missouri are reconsidering adding The Federal Medicade expansion to their state programs as the rural hospitals are closing every week. This is because of a far right repulican mind set to kill every part of the ACA which as most won’t believe is working and the majority of those on it are pleased with it according to Gallop Poll. In the states I mention their state legislature are now willing to accept the expansion into their state and using Indiana and Kentucky as examples on how to implement it .Maybe Wyoming Repulicans can bite their tongues and admit they where wrong but their pride will not allow it.

  4. America is the only developed country on Earth that does not have national health care.
    America is the only country on Earth that has mainly For Profit health care ( even at so-called nonprofit health providers).
    Health care overall is spiraling out of control in America , moreso in Wyoming than most other states.

    These are not coincidences.