Intermountain Healthcare recently unveiled its plan to build the nation’s model health system for children by devoting $500 million or more to pediatric-specific projects, programs, and facilities that serve the Intermountain West—an effort that has inspired a $50 million gift from Utah businesswoman, civic leader, and philanthropist Gail Miller and the Miller family.
The plan to build a model health system for children is made possible through the unique combination of the premiere free-standing Primary Children’s Hospital, the strength of Intermountain Healthcare’s network of 160 clinics and 24 hospitals, and pediatric specialty expertise from University of Utah Health.
The new model will expand the Primary Children’s care network, which serves children in a 400,000 square-mile area in Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Nevada, and Alaska.
By bringing together coordinated teams of specialized pediatric caregivers from multiple Intermountain facilities and Primary Children’s pediatric partners at University of Utah Health, Intermountain’s plan to build the nation’s model health system for children will feature advancements in pediatric health research, innovation and technology.
“This effort comes at a critical time, as the number of children served by Intermountain Healthcare continues to rapidly grow, and their needs continue to change and become more complex,” said Katy Welkie, RN, MBA, CEO of Primary Children’s Hospital and vice president of Intermountain’s Children’s Health.
“To address the growing need for health issues facing children, we must create a new model of pediatric care that will cater to the unique challenges that we see across our large geographic area,” Welkie said.
Intermountain Healthcare has committed to funding half of the $500 million or more needed to complete the plan, and has commissioned Intermountain Foundation to seek the remaining funding through philanthropic support. This represents the largest commitment to the care and health of the region’s children since Primary Children’s was envisioned in the early 1900s.
Intermountain’s plan to build the nation’s model health system for children includes three components and associated projects, programs, and facilities:
1. Strengthen Primary Children’s Hospital
- An advanced fetal care center will offer in-utero treatments including groundbreaking fetal surgery for the first time in the Intermountain West.
- An enlarged and enhanced Level 4 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) will give highly vulnerable newborns the highest accredited level of specialty care.
- An expanded cancer treatment center will provide children with revolutionary treatments in an ideal healing environment.
- Breakthroughs in pediatric research with University of Utah Health at the new Primary Children’s Center for Personalized Medicine will help children with previously untreatable diseases to thrive.
2. Extend excellence in pediatric care across the Intermountain West
- A second Primary Children’s Hospital campus will be constructed in Lehi to address the growing population in Utah County, and a corresponding need for specialty pediatric care. The new five-story, 66-bed Primary Children’s Hospital campus will provide trauma and emergency services, behavioral health, intensive care, and surgical and clinic services found nowhere else in Utah County.
- An expanded pediatric care network will extend the expertise of Primary Children’s Hospital throughout the Intermountain West, bringing specialty care closer to families outside the Wasatch Front through nationally-recognized telemedicine technologies, digital health services, and pediatric emergency clinicians in rural areas.
3. Innovatively target emerging children’s health needs
- Additional mental and behavioral health services for children and teens will be added to address an urgent need with new locations, call centers, telehealth and response capabilities, and collaborations with community organizations.
- Teen-to-adult transition programs will help children with serious conditions such as diabetes and cystic fibrosis access seamless care as they grow to adulthood.
- A coordinated Healthy Kids program will provide interventions to children experiencing traumatic events to decrease their risk for health issues later in life. This program includes partnerships with school and community groups throughout Utah.
Intermountain Healthcare’s plan to build the nation’s model health system for children inspired a $50 million gift to the Intermountain Foundation from Gail Miller and the Miller family—the largest single gift the Miller family has given to any organization.
Gail Miller is owner and board chair of Larry H. Miller Group of Companies, which includes the Utah Jazz, and chair of the Intermountain Healthcare Board of Trustees. The Millers’ gift will serve as the groundwork for establishing Utah as the home of the nation’s healthiest pediatric population.
“The time to enhance the health of our children, families, and communities at all levels is now,” said Marc Harrison, MD, president and CEO of Intermountain Healthcare, who is also a pediatric critical care physician.
“We are humbled and honored that the Miller family has provided this transformative gift to help Intermountain achieve the best care for children anywhere,” Dr. Harrison added. “We will steward this precious gift for the sole good of our children and hope that it will inspire others to join us and help bring to this once-in-a-generation opportunity to life.”
“Intermountain Healthcare’s plan is impactful and innovative, and will improve our collective health through a finite focus on children,” said Miller. “Our family is committed to enriching lives and doing good in our communities. We understand from personal experience how important it is to have the highest quality healthcare available to address the needs of children. Our family absolutely recognized the need to be involved in this historic model health system.”