Though she would be newcomer to the West Park Hospital District Board of Trustees, Catherine Schmidt has a wealth of health care knowledge from her 30 year as an anesthesiologist at West Park Hospital and Northern Wyoming Surgical Center.
Schmidt is running unopposed for a two-year seat on the board in the Nov. 6 election.
“I want to do what’s best for the people in the community and the employees at the hospital,” Schmidt said.
She said it’s her goal to have decision making power for the health community while being a spokesperson to the board as to what is happening on the ground floor of hospital life.
“I could be there for employees or people who want to say something, I could try to help them,” Schmidt offered.
This won’t be Schmidt’s first close-range experience with the hospital board, regularly attending meetings from 2013 to 2014, while chief of the West Park medical staff.
Growing up in a small Texas town where little health care existed, Schmidt is constantly impressed by the quality health care in Cody.
“This is a small town, we have it pretty good here,” Schmidt said.
To retain the small-town character Schmidt wants hospital expansion performed in a conservative manner.
“I don’t want it to grow in a way that forgets this is a small town and forgets the people here,” Schmidt said. “Not just as a number but as people.”
Nevertheless, she said she would like to see growth to the Cody Regional Health birthing center, with midwives and nurse practitioners added to its fold. West Park only employs two obstetric physicians currently.
“I think (we) could make this probably a center for the (Big Horn) Basin,” Schmidt said. “I think it’s important for this community to have that because you can’t always go that far away.”
Schmidt is a former patient of the birthing center, giving birth to her son there two weeks after moving to Cody in 1988.
“I just wanted to do something for the community that’s been so good to me and my family,” Schmidt said.
Her husband Frank Schmidt served on the hospital board until April, when he joined Cody Regional as an orthopedic surgeon. After becoming an employee, Frank Schmidt had to step down due to board rules.
Catherine Schmidt is not technically employed by the hospital, but by an outside therapeutic consulting organization.