Aging infrastructure and technology were taking their toll on the Hot Springs County Memorial Hospital, now known as Hot Springs Health, in Thermopolis, Wyoming. However, with local demand and tourists on their way to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, patient levels were increasing. Community leaders and hospital officials needed to find a way to fund a hospital upgrade and expansion. If not, the hospital would have to shut down.
Losing their hospital was not an option so the constituents of Hot Springs county passed a bill that instituted a one-percent special purpose tax to raise $16.4 million and establish a hospital district to make construction possible, but that wasn’t enough to save the medical facility.
Margie Molitor, CEO of Hot Springs Health, then reached out to US Department of Agriculture Rural Development and applied for funding through the agency’s Community Facilities loan and grant program which provides affordable funding to develop essential community facilities in rural areas.
Rural Development awarded a $21.3 million Community Facilities direct loan to the Hot Springs County Hospital District for the acute-care hospital project, the largest Community Facilities loan awarded in Wyoming to-date. The newly expanded hospital features a renovated clinic, pharmacy, imaging department, ambulance drop off, surgical rooms and sleep lab.
“The impact of construction on the community has been remarkable,” Molitor said. “It has strengthened our community relationship; this is their hospital, they made it possible and are proud of the results. It has positioned us for success into the future.”
USDA has funds available through the American Rescue Plan for more projects like Hot Springs Health. To learn more, visit: www.rd.usda.gov/erhc