When the only hospital in a small central Wyoming city stopped delivering babies and cut back on surgeries, local residents sought to start their own. The fight that ensued now stretches to Washington, and is shining an uncomfortable light on one of the country’s biggest hospital chains and its private-equity owner.
LifePoint Health Inc., backed by Apollo Global Management Inc., controls the only hospital in working-class Riverton, Wyo. After LifePoint merged Riverton’s hospital with another facility it owns in the city of Lander, 30 miles away, it began consolidating the hospitals’ services.
With many in Riverton worried that cutbacks would hurt the city’s future and some concerned over Lander’s care, local business and community leaders launched an effort to build a new hospital instead. They say they have secured several million dollars in donations for the effort, including land for the proposed hospital from the Eastern Shoshone Native American tribe.
Today, the group is one step away from achieving its goal of securing $40 million of low-interest loans from the Agriculture Department. LifePoint is trying to scupper the efforts by lobbying the Biden administration and Wyoming’s senators to oppose the project.
The CEO of LifePoint’s Wyoming hospitals, John Ferrelli, said in a statement the company opposed the new hospital because it “will not fill gaps in care.” He said the two hospitals’ merger sought to use scale to better serve patients and coordinate care, adding that both markets are currently being well served.