In his annual community report on Friday to 600 community and healthcare leaders in Salt Lake City, Dr. Harrison outlined how Utah is faring much better than most places in the U.S. for access to healthcare services at affordable costs.
This year alone, at least 11 rural U.S. hospitals have closed their doors. Major mergers between companies such as CVS Health and Aetna are becoming regular occurrences, and healthcare costs continue to rise at an alarming rate. Despite these national healthcare challenges and uncertainty, Dr. Harrison said Intermountain is changing its model of how they deliver care – to stay strong and stable for future generations.
Dr. Harrison highlighted Utah’s strong economy and the lower than average healthcare costs, and he presented many initiatives underway to help keep the state in this enviable position.
“Intermountain is proactively making changes to continue improving the health of the people we serve with the best, most affordable care,” said Dr. Harrison.
Other highlights in the presentation included:
- Intermountain will spend $1.2 billion in the next five years on new construction projects to enhance community access to care. These include new hospitals in Layton and Spanish Fork and expanded hospital services in St. George, along with new clinics in Layton, Lehi and Sandy.
- Through programs like the Zero Harm patient safety initiative, Intermountain has seen a significant improvement in infection rates since 2017.
- As evidence of a growing population and economy in the region, the number of patient days increased by two percent in 2018.
- Intermountain has redesigned itself to provide care where, when, and how people want it. 90 percent of Intermountain clinics now offer extended hours beyond 8-5. Since 2017, there have been 325,000 after-hours patient visits.
- With Intermountain having a financial risk for more than 40 percent of its patients, there is a strong focus on preventive care to keep people in the community healthy.
- Intermountain is making medical care more affordable in multiple ways:
- Intermountain joined with other non-profit healthcare systems to start a new not-for-profit generic drug company called Civica Rx to battle skyrocketing prices and shortages created by Big Pharma.
- Intermountain Connect Care offers a virtual visit with a healthcare provider for only $49.
- SelectHealth offers an insurance plan to employers with guaranteed annual increases of only 2.5 percent.
- Charity care for residents in the Intermountain region, has expanded to provide needed services at no cost, or low cost, to individuals and families earning up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
- Clinical outcome measures are improving, and in many instances, lead the nation. For example, recent improvements in services for premature babies have cut length of stays by two weeks, reduced mortality, and provided savings of approximately $1 million annually for parents.
- Intermountain’s telehealth services have helped care for 520,000 patients since 2013. More than 40 different services are available and being used by hospitals in seven western states.
- Intermountain is taking the approach of “moving upstream” to improve health in the community. This includes a multi-year $12 million partnership with local agencies to address determinants of health.
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