Community Health

Talking It Through

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.

Partnering on Community-Wide Societal Issues to Improve Health

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.

Empowering Children Through Reading

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.

Making Good Progress in Reducing Opioids

Intermountain made opioid reduction a top priority, with an aggressive 2018 goal to reduce by 40 percent the number of tablets prescribed to patients with acute pain. By the end of the year, Intermountain had reduced opioid tablets by 3.8 million, a reduction of approximately 30 percent—short of the goal but still an incredible achievement. The dramatic drop was accomplished through a combination of techniques including better prescription volume controls, alternative forms of pain control, healthcare provider and public education, and safe prescription takeback programs.

  • 3.8 Million

    Opioid tablets reduced in 2018

  • 12%

    Decrease in opioid deaths (January '17-'18)

  • >10%

    Increase medically assisted treatment for opioid use disorders

  • 5,000

    Naloxone kits funded and distributed

  • >26,000 lbs

    Medication placed in Intermountain drop boxes since 2015

  • 30%

    Reduction in opioids prescribed for acute pain

Working Toward Zero as the Only Acceptable Number

When a new patient showed up unplanned at Intermountain’s new InstaCare clinic in Lehi expressing feelings of depression and thoughts of self-harm, the caregiver team acted quickly. It followed steps for which it had been trained and used tools it had been provided, including completing a Depression Self-Care Plan with the patient. Intermountain’s Zero Suicide initiative includes a commitment to preventing suicide by improving access to timely behavioral care, recognizing the role of each caregiver, and accepting zero as the only acceptable number.

Intermountain Gives Out Helmets at Snowbasin Resort

Intermountain McKay-Dee Hospital and Snowbasin Resort teamed up again in 2018 for Safety on the Mountain, an event that promotes safety and injury prevention for skiers and snowboarders by handing out a total of 175 free helmets.

Homespire: New Life Care Model for Seniors Launched

Intermountain Healthcare entered into a partnership in 2018 with Minneapolis-based Lifesprk to launch a new life care services model in the Salt Lake City area called Homespire. The service for seniors is designed to keep them healthy and living fuller, more independent lives while significantly reducing emergency room and hospital visits.

Prediabetes Prevention

Intermountain is implementing community-based screenings, brief interventions, education, and resources for treatment of prediabetes, one of the priorities identified through our latest Community Health Needs Assessments. This includes prediabetes education classes, diabetes prevention programs, and chronic disease self-management programs in collaboration with community partners. We offer a prediabetes screening tool and online prediabetes 101 videos for patients, among other prediabetes resources.

Helping to Clean Utah's Air

Intermountain took additional steps in 2018 to transition fleet vehicles to clean fuel, promote idle-free campuses, and educate about the impacts of air quality on health. In 2018, we replaced 18 vehicles with hybrid models. By 2025, 80 percent of all Intermountain vehicles will be hybrid, low-emission, or electric, including courier, Homecare, and pool vehicles. Intermountain also undertook an effort to replace all fluorescent lighting with LED lighting in our hospitals. The result was a reduction in emissions equal to approximately 1,600 vehicles on the road.