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CCMH Welcomes New Physician

Welcome Dr. Bret Birrer

New ED physician Bret Birrer’s interest in emergency medicine began as an EMT Basic in college, but his career in healthcare started as a high school student in Jackson, WY.

"I volunteered at the hospital when I was in high school," said Dr. Birrer. "That lasted about a month before I was hired as a nurse aide. "

Dr. Birrer got permission from his teachers to take one day off a week to take a CNA class at the local community college. He then went on to attend paramedic training in Denver, and medical school at the University of Washington in Seattle as part of the WWAMI program. The WWAMI program is a partnership between the University of Washington and the states of Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho to provide access to medical education for students in those five states. Dr. Birrer’s residency program took him to the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson, where he worked in several emergency departments; a 61-bed level I trauma center with over 90,000 annual visits and a 21-bed ED in a county hospital with 30,000 annual visits.

"It’s okay if I don’t see another shooting or stabbing again," said Dr. Birrer. "I’ve used all the skills I learned taking care of penetrating trauma in residency to save someone’s life (here)."

The WWAMI program requires a commitment to work in the state after completion of medical school, and Dr. Birrer choose CCMH and Gillette. CCMH was unique in that our ED group requires that prospective recruits actually work in the ED before they are offered a contract.

"I knew what I was getting into," said Dr. Birrer.

He praised the care that CCMH provides, noting that patients may have to wait 6-8 hours for non-urgent care in communities like Tucson.

Dr. Birrer is ready to put down roots in Gillette. He is currently building a home with his significant other, Lindsey, and plans to enjoy the recreational opportunities available here.

"I’m glad to be up north again," he said.

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