Cedar City Hospital updates commissioners on contributions to community, coronavirus

Undated file photo of front of Cedar City Hospital | Photo courtesy of Cedar City Hospital, St. George News/Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — Cedar City Hospital Administrator Eric Packer updated the Iron County Commission on the hospital’s contributions to the community and not-for-profit status.

Packer said there are several standards the hospital must maintain in order to keep its not-for-profit property tax-exempt status, including providing benefits and charity to the community.

He said one of the requirements is that there is no private inurement.

“None of the earnings that we make comes back to any one individual, it all comes back to the communities that we serve,” he said.

The interior of Cedar City Hospital on an unspecified date in Cedar City, Utah. | Photo courtesy Intermountain Healthcare, St. George News

Packer added that the hospital must also be structured on a nonprofit basis and admit and provide care for members of the public without discrimination of race, gender or religion. Additionally, Packer said the hospital board considers the public’s interest.

“We have a great governing board,” Packer said. “We have 17 members of the board from some of our elected officials like Evan Vickers to community members to business owners to parents of young families. So just pretty good, diverse members of our board.”

Packer said the hospital provided over $5 million of charity services to indigent people, as well as community services like education.

“We do a lot of donating of time and our efforts to support different groups and donations of money where it’s appropriate for us to make those contributions,” Packer said.

Jordan Merrill also updated the commission on the most recent community-needs health assessment, and said the hospital will be focusing on mental health within the community.

“The highest needs are mental distress, and injury prevention and disease prevention as well as air quality,” Merrill said. “A lot of the monies and donations and efforts that we put back into the community are focused around those things that they told us are the greatest needs.”

Craig Bentley also provided information regarding updates to the hospital’s facilities, which currently include new clinics, a new imaging center and a new pharmacy and compounding area.

Eric Packer | Photo courtesy of Cedar City Hospital, St. George News

Packer said the hospital is in a good position to be able to handle cases of coronavirus.

“The message that we want to share with you today is that we’re prepared, we have a good plan,” he said. “We believe we’re ready to treat the patients of Iron County. Obviously there’s some challenges. We worry about having sufficient PPE if this really takes off.”

Packer said having enough personal protective equipment for caregivers is a concern.

“We’re not anticipating we’re going to see what’s happening in New York,” Packer said. “But we need to be prepared and have the tools we need to do our job and if we have the tools we can be safe in the way we deliver that care.”

Packer said the Cedar City Hospital has not experienced any in-patients with COVID-19, although there have been a few positive cases in the emergency room and there may be four to five instances of people exhibiting symptoms but are still being tested.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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