Partnership will elevate care for Wyoming children and families

By wyomingmedicalcenter Sep 19, 2019

In a demonstration, Jeanne Zenge, M.D., a neonatologist at Children's Hospital Colorado speaks with pediatric hospitalist Elizabeth Gilje, M.D., through the tele-neonatology equipment at Wyoming Medical Center.

As part of a Care Alliance announced in 2018, Wyoming Medical Center and Children’s Hospital Colorado (Children’s Colorado), along with support from the Olivia Caldwell Foundation, are excited to announce a first-of-its-kind partnership aimed at improving the health of Wyoming’s children.

Beginning in October, the Care Alliance will utilize a video-based tele-neonatology service that will enable real-time video consultation between medical experts at the NICU at Wyoming Medical Center and neonatal experts from Children’s Colorado, the only top 10 children’s hospital in the region. 

Children’s Colorado neonatologists will offer consultations around clinical decision-making, as well as guidance on stabilizing patients in need of transfer. The video-based tele-neonatology service supplements an existing 24/7 phone consultation partnership that has already been in place. Together, these services should allow more Wyoming babies and their families to stay close to home for care, which helps prevent expensive travel costs associated with transfers.

“We entered into the Care Alliance partnership with Children’s Colorado last year to expand access to pediatric care for Wyoming children and we’re so pleased with the progress we’ve made together,” said Michele Chulick, Wyoming Medical Center’s president and CEO. “The launch of the tele-neonatology service means that Wyoming residents can benefit further from the expertise available at Children’s Colorado without the need to travel hundreds of miles.”

In addition to the tele-neonatology service, starting in November 2019, pediatric specialty clinical outreach services will be offered at a single location in the McMurry building near the Wyoming Medical Center campus. This new, welcoming space will include a play area with a child-friendly aesthetic. The clinic will be co-located with the Olivia Caldwell Foundation, a local nonprofit with a mission to fund life-saving cancer research and other programs that improve the lives of children battling cancer and other serious diseases in Wyoming and the surrounding areas.

Nicki Shonka, M.S., R.N., C.P.N., of Children's Hospital Colorado leads WMC staffers through skills training stations on Wednesda at Wyoming Medical Center.

The Olivia Caldwell Foundation is a local nonprofit created in memory of Olivia Caldwell, a Children’s Colorado cancer patient who passed away in October 2013. The foundation has contributed funds to support Children’s Colorado neuro-oncologist Dr. Nick Foreman’s research into finding life-saving treatments for children with cancer. This year, the foundation has expanded their fundraising efforts to support pediatric healthcare in Casper and the surrounding region and will be providing funds to support pediatric specialty outreach clinics in the Casper region.

“The Olivia Caldwell Foundation is excited to broaden its mission to support local Wyoming children who are battling complicated medical conditions. The outreach clinic will make Casper a hub in the state for expert pediatric care,” said Katie Caldwell-Burchett, CEO and Founder of the Olivia Caldwell Foundation. “As a mother of two children who have experienced complicated medical conditions, this clinic will make a world of difference.”

The Care Alliance between Wyoming Medical Center and Children’s Colorado is also making great strides to elevate pediatric care close to home and streamline the coordination of care between the two organizations and affiliated pediatric providers. Over the last year, Children’s Colorado has provided education and training to the pediatric providers at Wyoming Medical Center, including simulation training to assist in caring for some of the smallest patients in the region. Additionally, the Care Alliance offers Wyoming-based providers expertise from Children’s Colorado literally at their fingertips through secure texting, electronic health record connectivity and the new tele-neonatology service.

“We are honored to partner with Wyoming Medical Center and The Olivia Caldwell Foundation,” said Michael Narkewicz, MD, Executive, Provider Strategic Partnerships and Pediatric Hepatologist, Children’s Colorado. “We believe all children should receive high-quality pediatric care, regardless of where they live, and believe this collaboration across our organizations benefits the families and children served by Wyoming Medical Center.”

About Wyoming Medical Center

Wyoming Medical Center is the state’s largest hospital with 249 beds, more than 45 medical specialties and 13 primary, specialty and immediate care clinics. As a regional trauma and referral center, we serve more 11 Wyoming counties with more than 250,000 people. We are Casper’s only full-service, nonprofit hospital with comprehensive heart, stroke and trauma care.

About Children’s Hospital Colorado

Children’s Hospital Colorado is one of the nation’s leading and most expansive pediatric healthcare systems with a mission to improve the health of children through patient care, education, research and advocacy. Founded in 1908 and recognized as a top ten children’s hospital by U.S. News & World Report, Children’s Colorado has established itself as a pioneer in the discovery of innovative and groundbreaking treatments that are shaping the future of pediatric healthcare worldwide. Children’s Colorado offers a full spectrum of family-centered care at its urgent, emergency and specialty care locations throughout Colorado, including its location on the Anschutz Medical Campus, and across the region. In 2019, Children’s Hospital Colorado, Colorado Springs, opened as the first pediatric-only hospital in southern Colorado. For more information, visit www.childrenscolorado.org.

About Olivia Caldwell Foundation

Olivia Caldwell Foundation is a leading nonprofit in the Casper area dedicated to funding pediatric cancer research and programs to improve the lives of children battling cancer and other serious diseases in Wyoming and surrounding areas. Since our inception in November 2013 we’ve given $325,000 to pediatric cancer research, plus an additional $13,000 in gift cards to pediatric cancer patients at Children’s Hospital Colorado. In 2019 Olivia Caldwell Foundation broadened our mission to serve local children battling complicated medical conditions through the support of the Children’s Colorado-CU School of Medicine Specialty Outreach Clinics for Children in Casper, Wyo. For more information please visit www.oliviacaldwellfoundation.org.