SALT LAKE CITY — After a year of unprecedented changes in health care, Intermountain Healthcare’s president and CEO, Dr. Marc Harrison, says Intermountain is making the right moves to be well-positioned for the future.
Recently, in his annual community report to 600 community and health care leaders in Salt Lake City, Harrison outlined how Utah is faring much better than most places in the U.S. for access to health care services at affordable costs.
This year alone, at least 11 rural U.S. hospitals have closed their doors, Harrison said. Major mergers between companies such as CVS Health and Aetna are becoming regular occurrences, and health care costs continue to rise at an alarming rate. Despite these national health care challenges and uncertainty, Harrison said Intermountain is changing its model of how they deliver care – to stay strong and stable for future generations.
Harrison highlighted Utah’s strong economy and the lower than average health care costs, and he presented many initiatives underway to help keep the state in this enviable position.
“Intermountain is proactively making changes to continue improving the health of the people we serve with the best, most affordable care,” Harrison said.
Other highlights in the presentation included:
- Intermountain will spend $1.2 billion in the next five years on new construction projects to enhance community access to care. These include new hospitals in Layton and Spanish Fork and expanded hospital services in St. George, along with new clinics in Layton, Lehi and Sandy.
- Through programs like the Zero Harm patient safety initiative, Intermountain has seen a significant improvement in infection rates since 2017.
- As evidence of a growing population and economy in the region, the number of patient days increased by 2 percent in 2018.
- Intermountain has redesigned itself to provide care where, when and how people want it. Approximately 90 percent of Intermountain clinics now offer extended hours beyond 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Since 2017, there have been 325,000 after-hours patient visits.
- With Intermountain having a financial risk for more than 40 percent of its patients, there is a strong focus on preventive care to keep people in the community healthy.
- Intermountain is making medical care more affordable in multiple ways:
- Intermountain joined with other not-for-profit health care systems to start a new not-for-profit generic drug company called Civica Rx to battle skyrocketing prices and shortages created by Big Pharma.
- Intermountain Connect Care offers a virtual visit with a health care provider for only $49.
- SelectHealth offers an insurance plan to employers with guaranteed annual increases of only 2.5 percent.
- Charity care for residents in the Intermountain region has expanded to provide needed services at no or low cost to individuals and families earning up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
- Clinical outcome measures are improving and, in many instances, lead the nation. For example, recent improvements in services for premature babies have cut length of stays by two weeks, reduced mortality and provided savings of approximately $1 million annually for parents.
- Intermountain’s telehealth services have helped care for 520,000 patients since 2013. More than 40 different services are available and being used by hospitals in seven western states.
- Intermountain is taking the approach of “moving upstream” to improve health in the community. This includes a multiyear $12 million partnership with local agencies to address determinants of health.
Intermountain Healthcare is a Utah-based not-for-profit system of 23 hospitals, 170 clinics, a Medical Group with about 2,300 employed physicians and advanced practice clinicians, a health plans group called SelectHealth and other medical services. Intermountain is widely recognized as a leader in transforming health care through high quality and sustainable costs. For more information, visit the Intermountain Healthcare website.
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