Primary Children's Hospital

(801) 662-1000Map100 Mario Capecchi Dr.Salt Lake City, UT 84113

1911 - 1922:  Small Beginnings

The Primary Association of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints opened a children’s ward at the W S. Groves LDS Hospital. Primary children and teachers helped support the unit with bazaars, fairs, and “penny day.”

May 11, 1922:  Hospital Opened

The Primary Association opened the LDS Children’s Convalescent Hospital (named LDS Children’s Convalescent Home and Day Nursery for the first year) at 44 (later changed to 40) West North Temple. The hospital had 35 beds. Surgeries were performed at LDS Hospital, and then the children were transferred to the children’s hospital for convalescence. In 1922, Primary children began donating birthday pennies to support the hospital. An additional canvas once a year by Primary workers asked others to also donate their pennies.

February 12, 1952:  The Second Building

On February 12, 1952, the hospital moved to a new building at 320 Twelfth Avenue. During the 30 years on North Temple, the hospital had cared for 5,907 inpatients and 3,498 outpatients. Initially, there were 70 beds on Twelfth Avenue, which eventually increased to 170 beds.

1961:  Change to Acute Care

The hospital enlarged its mission from an orthopedic and chronic disease convalescent hospital to an acute care hospital on January 1, 1961.

1975:  Change of Ownership

In 1975, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints created an independent, nonprofit hospital corporation, Intermountain Healthcare, and transferred its hospitals to the new entity. Primary Children’s Medical Center was included in that divestiture by the LDS Church, and remains part of the Intermountain system today.

1977:  Medical School Affiliation Agreement

In 1977, Primary Children’s and the University of Utah Department of Pediatrics entered into a cooperative agreement in which Primary Children’s became the school’s pediatric teaching facility. This opened the way for many additional medical specialties to be offered.

April 23, 1990:  The Third Building

The hospital moved to its present home on the University campus on April 23, 1990. The hospital is licensed for 252 beds.

Increasing demand for children’s medical services has resulted in the addition of increased beds and services. The first year at the new hospital, a 30-bed Infant Unit was added. Additional beds were added to the Newborn Intensive Care Unit and Rehabilitation Unit in 1991.

1999: Further Expansion

In 1999 the hospital added ten beds to its Emergency Department, another eight beds in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit and a 26-bed Rapid Treatment Unit for children requiring a hospital stay of less than 24 hours.

Since the move to the new building Primary Children’s has added a number of services and clinics including heart, bone marrow and liver transplant services.

2004:  Level 1 Trauma Center

Primary Children’s Hospital received Level 1 Trauma Center, Pediatric, verification from the American College of Surgeons. This is the highest level of recognition for outstanding trauma service, and Primary Children's is the only hospital in its five-state service area to be verified as a Trauma 1 Center for children.

"Then and Now" Comparison

  • From May of 1922 to June of 1923, 83 children received care. In 2008, patient visits to the hospital totaled 216,044, including visits as inpatients, in outpatient clinics, or through the emergency room.
  • The 1924 list included cases of tubercular bone, infantile paralysis, and rickets, conditions rarely seen today.
  • In the 1930s, the average length of stay was 158 days. In 2012, the average was 4.6 days.
  • Primary Children’s service area includes the states of Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada and Montana. The area encompasses about 400,000 square miles.
  • Today’s Primary Children’s has the highest acuity level (a measure of complexity of condition combined with severity of illness) in the state of Utah.
  • In 1922, Primary Association children and teachers along with community members donated $12,403 for the hospital.  In 2012, Primary Children’s provided more than $12 million in care for which families were not charged.
  • Currently, the hospital offers more than 40 pediatric specialty clinics, and more than 60 medical specialties and sub-specialties.
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