Behind-the-scenes work sheds light on latest RMD update

(Riverton, Wyoming) – The Riverton Medical District (RMD) Community Meeting drew a crowd of over 75 community members last night, May 31. In addition to hearing from RMD board members Corte McGuffey and Vivian Watkins, representatives from Billings Clinic and the USDA Wyoming office addressed attendees.

Last night’s updates followed the April 11 news that RMD had secured the USDA’s $37 million low-interest community facilities loan for the construction of the hospital. The big question – what’s next?

Watkins was the first to speak and shared a key takeaway: “The USDA is not lending you $37 million without looking at this project inside, out, inside out, inside out. ‘towards. They have looked at this hospital project over and over again.

Lorraine Werner, Director of Wyoming Community Programs at USDA, and Glenn Pauley, Wyoming State Director at USDA, were the first two guest speakers. They thought about the process.

Werner echoed Watkins’ sentiments on the government’s thoroughness when it comes to lending money.

“Borrowing money from the government is not an easy task, and in some cases it is downright difficult.”

The updates came from the Billings Clinic’s chief medical officer, Clint Seger, MD, and the Billings Clinic’s vice president of regional operations, Nicole Hobbs.

There’s a lot of work to not only build a hospital, but to get it up and running from day one, Hobbs said.

Since announcing the intention to affiliate with the Billings Clinic just over a year ago, the management affiliation agreement has been finalized. They are now looking at what the hospital will look like on day one – nurses, doctors, registration staff, policies and procedures, building and implementing an electronic health records system and making sure they are following all the regulatory requirements.

Billings Clinic Vice President of Facility Services Mitch Goplen provided an update on the approximately 60,000 square foot facility that is expected to take 18 months to build.

“You have my commitment that we will build a world-class facility here that enables employees to provide the best patient care they can provide, without the facility being a burden on them.”

They are currently planning the concept and adjacencies to understand how all patients and staff will flow and move through the facility. In the coming months, they plan to hire a construction manager at risk and will at the same time work with the USDA for design approval, which must take place before moving forward.

McGuffey concluded the evening’s meeting by saying that the groundbreaking will take place as soon as possible.

“And believe me, when that happens everyone will know because we’re going to have a big party and everyone will be invited to the party.”

He went on to say that they plan to apply for grants in the coming months; they also collect pledges. Governance documents are being organized as they will be owned and governed locally. They are also working on developing a foundation that will be the fundraising arm of the hospital.

The meeting was streamed live and can be viewed below.

To read all County 10 coverage from the Riverton Medical District, click here.

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