Foundational to vibrant, stable, and healthy communities is the presence of anchor institutions— major not-for-profit or public enterprises rooted in the area. As purchasers, employers, and investors in the community, these institutions are economic engines that drive growth, improve quality of life, and affect community health. Hospitals are generally considered anchors, and they often work to address challenges facing the communities they serve.
With hospitals spread across a large geographic area, Intermountain Healthcare is such an anchor institution and we have worked to positively influence the health and well-being of the communities we serve. Historically, we’ve done this through periodic community health needs assessments and community-based clinical interventions. This longstanding commitment aligns with and supports our mission, and we recently have been dedicating even greater resources to community health and collaboration with local community partners.
In fact, the restructuring we initiated in 2017 and completed in 2018 —which organized our care services into specialty-based and community-based care groups—helps Intermountain focus more on “upstream” community health opportunities, including preventive care, wellness, and social determinants of health.
This section highlights several community health initiatives Intermountain launched or supported in 2018.
Addressing primary social determinants of health—housing instability, utility needs, food insecurity, interpersonal violence, and transportation needs, and others—can improve health and well-being, lower healthcare costs, and make healthcare more affordable.
In 2018, with help from former Utah Governor Mike Leavitt, Intermountain joined with several community partners to form the Utah Alliance for the Determinants of Health.
The Alliance is implementing a three-year, $12 million demonstration project with SelectHealth Medicaid members in Utah’s Washington and Weber counties to address social needs. In future years, findings from the demonstration can be scaled within Intermountain's communities, as well as nationally and globally.
Dr. Neal Davis knows that reading to children changes lives. As a pediatrician and medical director for Intermountain Medical Group’s Central Salt Lake Region, he has made it a regular part of his practice to read and share books with patients like brothers La’Mont and Carter Jimenez, featured in this video. Many Intermountain clinics are participating in a program that helps families get access to children’s books and teaches parents and caregivers how to engage in nurturing activities with their children.