Cedar City, Panguitch hospitals named among the top rural facilities in the nation

ST. GEORGE — Not letting St. George Regional Hospital take all of the limelight, two hospitals in the rural areas of Southern Utah have each been named among the top rural hospitals in the county.

Undated photo of a caregiver working with a patient at Cedar City Hospital. Cedar City, Utah | Photo courtesy of Cedar City Hospital, St. George News

The data-driven analysis by the Chartis Center for Rural Health, a health care advisory group, named Cedar City Hospital as one of the top 100 rural and community hospitals in the nation and tapped Garfield Memorial Hospital in Panguitch in its top 100 critical access hospitalsBoth facilities are operated by Intermountain Healthcare, which is also the operator of St. George Regional Hospital

“Despite the challenges and instability we see each day across the rural health safety net, the Top 100 program continues to illuminate strategies and innovation for delivering higher quality care and better outcomes within rural communities,” Michael Topchik, national leader for the Chartis Center, said in a statement.

The top 100 hospitals aren’t ranked and, according to the Chartis Center, are based on public data and 36 independent indicators including market share, quality, outcomes, patient perspective, cost, charge and financial efficiency. Cedar City Hospital received the same honor in 2017 for the shortlist of top American rural hospitals. But to Eric Packer, Cedar City Hospital’s administrator, that doesn’t lessen the 2021 honor. 

Undated photo of Garfield Memorial Hospital in Panguitch, Utah | Photo courtesy of Intermountain Healthcare, St. George News

“This is a huge accomplishment, and it can be attributed to every single person that works here,” Packer said. “It’s often been said that our hospital is special, and it really is. Our workers care about you personally, and it’s gratifying when national health care quality organizations see that.”

Garfield Memorial was honored for elite status among critical care hospitals, which are facilities designated by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to provide critical care in rural areas that are more than 35 miles from another hospital.

Alberto Vasquez, Garfield Memorial’s administrator, said it’s not the facility or the equipment that earned the Panguitch hospital its honor, but the people who work there.

“Garfield’s caregivers are dedicated and compassionate individuals who provide outstanding care to their communities,” Vasquez said. “I’m so proud to be associated with this outstanding group of caregivers.”

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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