Intermountain Healthcare considers 5-year plan for proposed hospital in Hurricane

ST. GEORGE — Dixie Regional Medical Center has announced intentions to build a new hospital in Hurricane, providing the growing community with much-needed emergency services.

Hospital Administrator Mitch Cloward publicly announced that they have included a proposal to build the hospital in their five-year plan at a Hurricane City Council meeting Thursday night. 

DRMC administrators will know whether their proposal has been approved by Intermountain Healthcare’s capital committee by the end of this month. 

If their plans are approved, the hospital will be built as an add-on to the Hurricane Valley Clinic, where the hospital already owns 28 acres of land. 

“When we first purchased the land, we knew at some point Hurricane would be large enough for a hospital,” Communications Director Terri Draper said. 

If approved, they will break ground on the hospital sometime within the next five years. 

The Hurricane Valley Clinic, Hurricane, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Intermountain Healthcare, St. George News

In addition to the clinic’s current walk-in clinic, physical therapy, imaging and laboratory services, the hospital will initially include an emergency department, general medical beds and an expansion of imaging and laboratory services. 

For now, the majority of patients needing advanced services such as open-heart surgery and infant delivery will still be admitted to DRMC. As Hurricane’s population and its medical needs grow, the hospital will have room to expand services. 

“We see this as an evolution,” Cloward told St. George News. “When we built the clinic, we decided what the community needed then. And we decided that we would continue to watch the demographics, the statistics, and listen to what’s happening here and then continue to advance health care in a stepwise fashion that made sense. We believe this is the next step.”

The hospital started working with the Hurricane City Council in December to determine the community’s needs before writing their proposal, which was officially submitted last month. 

Hurricane Mayor John Bramall said that at the rate the town is growing, the time has come for a hospital of their own. 

Dixie Regional Medical Center Administrator Mitch Cloward speaks about a proposal to build a hospital in Hurricane during a City Council meeting, Hurricane, Utah, Aug. 15, 2019 | Photo by Mikayla Shoup, St. George News

“In 1976 when IHC did the Dixie Regional Medical Center, St. George had about 25,000 people. And we currently have 20,000 in Hurricane,” Bramall said. 

Not only do the growing number of residents need additional health care services, but the town’s proximity to Zion National Park, which sees around 4.5 million visitors per year, adds to the community’s need for 24-hour trauma and emergency services.

The benefits to the community are expected to go beyond that of health care. Intermountain Healthcare is Washington County’s largest private employer, according to the Department of Workforce Services

Intermountain currently employs over 4,000 caregivers in St. George, Cloward said, and DRMC alone pays $520,000 annually in property taxes and has contributed around $300 million to Washington County’s economy through expansion projects since 2016.

If the Hurricane hospital project is approved, DRMC will then be able to determine the cost of the project, the number of jobs it would provide and the economic benefit it would have for the city. 

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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