Editorial:

Affiliation with Billings Clinic a positive step

Posted 1/9/20

The announcement this week that Billings Clinic and Powell Valley Healthcare have signed an affiliation agreement was great news on a number of levels.

As the two healthcare providers have said of …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

E-mail
Password
Log in
Editorial:

Affiliation with Billings Clinic a positive step

Posted

The announcement this week that Billings Clinic and Powell Valley Healthcare have signed an affiliation agreement was great news on a number of levels.

As the two healthcare providers have said of the affiliation, it will bring a number of benefits to patients in the Big Horn Basin. Reduced costs of equipment, integration of medical records, community health programs, and professional development of boards and staff will all translate to a higher quality of care for those who rely on the services PVHC provides.

This improvement in the quality of care bucks a troubling trend among critical access hospitals, which rural communities depend on for their healthcare needs. This class of hospital is facing enormous financial pressures, which is resulting in many cases in diminished services and widespread closures. There are a number of reasons for this. The problem of rising healthcare costs is exacerbated in a rural setting where revenues are lower due to smaller populations. The average population ages in rural areas, including here in Wyoming, are usually higher than you see in metropolitan areas, which means there are generally greater demands for services. It’s also difficult to recruit qualified staff to rural areas, including specialists.

All of these issues and more have contributed to more than 100 critical access hospitals closing since 2010. Currently, about 46 percent of rural hospitals operate at a loss — a number that has increased in the past few years — and nearly 700 rural hospitals are financially vulnerable and at high risk of closure.

In this industry full of financial uncertainty, PVHC is pursuing partnerships and programs to not only continue providing quality healthcare services to us, but to enhance the services available to the Big Horn Basin.

Healthcare services are not only vital to maintaining a healthy population, they’re important for our economic future. People will not relocate to an area where healthcare services are scarce or nonexistent, which makes it hard for businesses to hire people and grow. Fewer employment opportunities also means fewer young people staying here after graduation.

With their new partnership, Powell Valley Healthcare and the Billings Clinic are helping to secure the future of our community.

Comments