In an hour-long presentation on April 4 to about 400 community and healthcare leaders at Intermountain Medical Center in Salt Lake City, Marc Harrison, MD, Intermountain Healthcare president and CEO, outlined how Utah is faring much better than most places in the U.S. for healthcare services at affordable costs.
Despite national healthcare challenges and uncertainty with possible health reforms looming, Intermountain is meeting the needs of the communities it serves in a strong and effective manner, said Dr. Harrison.
“I do know that these are challenging times, and I do know that Intermountain has tried very hard to play a responsible role as the world has changed,” Dr. Harrison said. “And we have actually worked hard around the Affordable Care Act to go-ahead and make sure that we do everything we can for those who are less fortunate.”
Utah’s strong economy and the lowest per-capita healthcare costs were highlighted by Dr. Harrison, and he presented many initiatives underway to help keep the state in this enviable position.
Dr. Harrison said there are challenges that need to be addressed, such as uncertainty in potential national health reforms. He cited the fact that in 20 of Utah’s 29 counties, Intermountain’s SelectHealth insurance plans are the only Affordable Care Act exchange option available, illustrating concerns about the present system.
Other highlights in the presentation included:
- Intermountain operates 21 hospitals in Utah and one in Idaho, 180 clinics, and provides health insurance to 852,000 people through SelectHealth.
- As Utah’s largest private employer with 39,000 caregivers, Intermountain directly and indirectly contributes to more than 143,000 jobs, accounting for 7.7 percent of all employment in the state and making up 6.6 percent of Utah’s GDP.
- $1.74 billion will be spent in the next five years on new Intermountain construction projects in Utah.
- A national study found that Intermountain is ranked as one of the top five healthcare models for innovation, along with the Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic.
- Providing efficient care and reducing costs resulted in reduced patient charges of more than $900 million in 2016.
- Charity care, provided to residents in the Intermountain region, totaled $419 million in 2016 and helped patients in nearly 249,000 cases. Community clinics operated by or supported by Intermountain cared for an additional 456,000 low-income patients.
- Clinical outcome measures are improving, and in many instances, lead the nation. For example, in the last five years in the Salt Lake Valley, 99.8 percent of Intermountain’s heart attack patients received lifesaving treatment to open a blocked artery in less than 90 minutes. No other hospital system in the nation has achieved this.
- Implementation of a mental health integration treatment model significantly improved health outcomes while reducing costs by three percent. This model was honored last week with an award as the nation’s top population health program.
- Intermountain’s telehealth services have helped care for 242,000 patients since 2013.
- Intermountain helped educate 2,762 nursing students at its facilities in 2016, providing nearly $36 million in education for health professionals from various disciplines.
- Intermountain was involved in 1,589 research studies during the past year and published 402 studies.
- Intermountain is taking the approach of “moving upstream” to improve health in the community. This includes the LiVe Well public service campaign, creating a healthy eating environment at medical facilities, and supporting community health initiatives.
- An environmental focus has resulted in 14 facilities receiving LEED certification, with eight more LEED-certified facilities in design. Conservation efforts have resulted in reductions of water use by 8.8 million gallons annually, a reduction in power usage by 2.2 million kilowatts annually, and 6.9 million pounds of recycling annually.