Powerful Partnerships

Powerful Partnerships: Creative Collaboration Supports Quality Area Healthcare Photo

Powerful Partnerships: Creative Collaboration Supports Quality Area Healthcare

As rural communities across the country struggle to maintain access to quality healthcare, the power of partnerships has become clear. One such collaboration helped reduce costs for the Crook County Medical Services District (CCMSD) and will translate to improved patient services in Northeast Wyoming for years to come.

CCMSD was fortunate to receive a major grant to purchase a new 64-slice CT machine several years back. But there was one big obstacle: the facility needed substantial renovations to create a new space for the sophisticated machine.

CEO Nathan Hough approached Andy Miller, president of Sundance State Bank, to strategize about ways to access the $1 million required for the renovations. Miller invited Powder River Energy (PRECorp) to the discussion. “We realized there was an opportunity to partner with Powder River to pool our funds to help in this project and potentially lower the cost,” he says.

Ultimately, the three parties came up to a creative solution to the conundrum. CCMSD’s original loan for the project was refinanced into a blended loan with Sundance State Bank and PRECorp each contributing half of the funds for the project.

Previously, CCMSD was leasing a 32-slice CT machine. The new equipment and renovated space have vastly improved the hospital’s imaging capabilities. It also dramatically improved patient care and comfort since the leased machine was housed in a semi trailer in a parking lot that patients had to be wheeled to, sometimes in inclement weather.

The blended loan resulted in much much lower payments. “Financing through Sundance State Bank with PRECorp made the package deal affordable for the community,” says Hough. “The loan payment is now slightly less than the cost of leasing the previous CT scanner.”

The renovations were completed and the CT scanner was installed in March 2019. Hough says the hospital is “working the tar out of it” and he expects its usage will continue to grow, drawing people in from neighboring areas for the excellent level of diagnostic care it enables.

With this partnership, the bank helps manage the paperwork and payments while PRECorp’s participation enabled access to a significantly reduced interest rate. Funds for the PRECorp portion of the loan are available through an agreement between PRECorp and its wholesale power provider, Basin Electric, under a revolving loan fund program designed to assist with community and business development projects. Ninety percent of the total loan is guaranteed through the USDA Rural Development program.

Leveraging such resources helped to spread out the risk and reduce interest rates. By taking on partners in this project Miller says the local bank is in a better position to help CCMSD with future financing needs.

Miller says Sundance State Bank and PRECorp are both committed to the community and he was pleased to be able to collaborate on the project. “In coming together, we were in a better position to have a bigger positive impact on the community. I was happy we could do that. We’re blessed to have a co-op like Powder River within this community. And now people are going to be blessed with quality healthcare right here in Sundance.”

Powder River Energy Corporation (PRECorp) is known as northeastern Wyoming’s preferred energy provider. The nonprofit cooperative also works diligently with its member owners to improve the communities it serves. PRECorp has developed powerful partnerships with private, public and nonprofit organizations. These collaborative efforts aim to strengthen communities and create a more diverse economy.


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