Looking Ahead

September 10, 2020

By Tim N. Thornell
President & Chief Executive Officer
Cheyenne Regional Health System

Tim Thornell, President and CEO of the Cheyenne Regional Health System

Looking Ahead

By Tim N. Thornell
President & Chief Executive Officer
Cheyenne Regional Health System

So what does the future here at the Cheyenne Regional Health System look like?

COVID-19 will continue to be a risk
The novel coronavirus will be an ongoing risk for at least the next several months and possibly longer. At Cheyenne Regional, that means we will regularly assess our protocols and—based on the most current scientific evidence—do what’s needed to help ensure the health and safety of our patients, visitors, employees and providers. That may well mean continuing visitor restrictions, screening those entering our facilities, requiring the use of face masks, encouraging frequent handwashing and adhering to social distancing of six feet or more. No matter what, we are committed to doing what’s safest and best for our patients, visitors, employees and providers.

As part of our efforts to safeguard against the spread of COVID-19, I would like to thank and praise our employees and providers. Over these past few months, they’ve focused on caring for our patients, fully understanding the risk this might pose to their own well-being. Their compassion, steadfastness and strength of spirit have truly been an inspiration. Moving forward, I fully expect that they will continue to put service before self as they care for our community and that they will also continue to be role models for Cheyenne and Laramie County during these challenging times.

What else do I know about the coming days, weeks and months?

Our family caring for your family
That we are here to ensure the health and well-being of our community, as we have been for the past 153 years. Our mission is to care for you and your loved ones in the same way we would care for a family member—with compassion, selflessness, experience and innovation. Cheyenne Regional and its affiliated network of clinics are here for you, and we are committed to providing a safe environment for receiving care.

Recently we received a note from the mother of one of our patients that shows just how far “our family” will go to ensure the well-being of patients entrusted to our care. The mother has given permission for us to share the story, which specifically focuses on the compassionate treatment that was provided by one of our anesthesiologists, Dr. Landon Bluemel, to her two-year-old daughter:

Dr. Landon Bluemel

“[My daughter] absolutely loved him. He gave her two stuffed animals and played with her while talking to us. He played her favorite song for her when we said goodbye to her outside of the operating room. Because she was a COVID rule out she had to be intubated for her MRI. When we got to see her again she was sleeping. Finally after several days of being in pain and not able to sleep she was comfortable.”

Although Dr. Bluemel was not on call for the rest of that weekend, he gave the parents his phone number and told them to call if they needed him to care for their daughter again. As fate would have it, the child needed to be sedated twice more for additional tests and procedures, and Dr. Bluemel came in both times to help:

“My husband and I immediately burst into tears at the kindness of Dr. Bluemel…. I want to recognize him for his compassion as a human being, his kindness as a medical professional, his empathy as a father, and his camaraderie with my two-year-old daughter. I want to recognize his family for sharing him with us on a day that was theirs. I cannot thank Dr. Bluemel enough. I could write one of these every day for him. Thank you, Dr. Bluemel, for reminding us what true kindness looks like.”

This story is truly amazing, and just one of many inspiring examples of the kind of selfless care that our medical staff and employees provide to our patients each and every day.

CRMC will continue to provide quality-focused care locally
Looking ahead, I also believe that our hospital and health system will continue to provide the kind of high-quality care that has resulted in the following prestigious recognitions for 2020:

  • At the beginning of the year, the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services designated CRMC as a 5-star hospital. CRMC was one of only 407 hospitals in the nation to achieve this top-level quality rating and the only 5-star hospital in Wyoming.
  • CRMC was also recognized as one of the top 250 hospitals in the nation for 2020 by Healthgrades, a national quality review and ratings organization. That was in addition to our recognition by Healthgrades last fall as one of America’s 100 best hospitals for general surgery for 2020.
  • In the spring we received more wonderful news when CRMC achieved Magnet status. The American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet Recognition Program® distinguishes organizations that meet rigorous standards for nursing excellence. As of last spring, just 520 U.S. healthcare organizations out of more than 6,300 U.S. hospitals had achieved Magnet recognition. And, CRMC is the only Magnet hospital in Wyoming.
  • In July and August came more good news with the announcements that our heart failure, stroke and adult resuscitation programs had been recognized with gold-level awards from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.
  • On top of all this, our Medical Imaging Department has received American College of Radiology (ACR) accreditation for Nuclear Medicine and the operation of their PET/CT, MRI, ultrasound and CT technology. The department also received ACR accreditation as a Designated Lung Cancer Screening program. ACR accreditation is considered the gold standard for Medical Imaging programs, ensuring patients are receiving quality radiological care and diagnostic treatment.

I’d like to congratulate and thank the physicians, advanced practice providers, nurses, technologists, technicians, dietitians, therapists and many other Cheyenne Regional professionals for their ongoing commitment to our patients, to ensure they receive the kind of nationally recognized, researched-based care that results in saved lives, quicker recoveries, fewer hospital readmissions and improved quality of life.

As we look to the future, there is one more thing I know for sure: The citizens of our community, state and nation have been tested—beyond measure—and have responded with courage, innovation and resilience. And while we are not yet done with the challenges and risks posed by COVID-19, I firmly believe that we will come out on the other side of this global pandemic better—and stronger—than ever.