Wyoming has received more than $25 million for mammogram machines and other medical equipment since 2010 from a national nonprofit that works to improve rural health care.
When the program started, the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust identified seven states that received the smallest amount of health care philanthropy. Wyoming, which has some of the most expensive medical care in America and has just 26 hospitals, was one of those states.
“To us, we want (patients) to have access to care in rural America,” said Shelley Stingley, a program director living in Sioux Falls. “We’re just as important as everywhere else.”
To that end, the trust’s rural health care program has doled out more than $300 million in grants since its inception. More than $10 million of Wyoming’s $25.5 million share has gone to better care in cancer treatment centers, Stingley said. That includes putting eight new digital mammography machines in towns like Torrington and Wheatland.
The program wanted women to be within 60 miles of a facility that could give them screenings, Stingley explained. Some of the machines were entirely new equipment to a facility, while others replaced a hospital’s aging tech.
Additionally, she said, the program sought to have cancer patients be with 90 miles of better radiation treatment. New machines were purchased in Cody, Sheridan and Rock Springs. New CT scanners were purchased for some hospitals, while 96 machines that perform chest compressions on people in the back of ambulances were brought in for $1.6 million.
The other states receiving money are:
North Dakota, $54.4 million;
South Dakota, $89 million;
Minnesota, $24.2 million.
Stingley said that the changes in funding per state vary by the state’s need and by population.
Other uses for the funding include utilizing e-care software, which allows…