Administrator not specific on what will be built on the site
MT. PLEASANT—In the course of making a report on Sanpete Valley Hospital’s service to Sanpete County, hospital administrator Aaron Wood confirmed that Intermountain Healthcare expects to acquire land in Ephraim this year.
There have been rumors for years that Intermountain Healthcare was planning to build a hospital with as many as 125 beds in Ephraim.
“Hopefully we will acquire a parcel before the end of this year. And we expect, in 2023, to decide what to do with that parcel of land,” Wood told the Sanpete County Commission on Tuesday, June 21. “It would make sense that we are going to build some sort of healthcare facility, but we are far from deciding what the best needs to be met in that part of the county would be.”
Wood told commissioners Sanpete Valley Hospital has been listed as a Top 20 Critical Access Hospital for 2021 by the Chartis Center for Rural Health.
The Intermountain Healthcare facility was listed in the top 100 in 2018, 2019, and 2020, according to the Sanpete Valley Hospital’s website. “There are about 1,500 critical access rural hospitals in the United States, so being in the top 20 is somewhere around the top 1.5%,” Wood said. “That award is based on how our patients score and rate us. It’s not us tooting our own horns—it’s our patients—so we are very proud to be a top 20 hospital.”
Intermountain Healthcare, based in Salt Lake City, is organized as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. That means that instead of reporting to shareholders, its business decisions are based on the needs of the community and its patients, according to the annual report. It provides a college tuition reimbursement plan for its staff. It also constantly engages in medical studies with the goal of improving care.
The report says Intermountain hospitals serve all patients regardless of race, religion, gender or ability to pay and base treatment on a physician’s clinical judgment, never on cost. In order for the Sanpete Valley Hospital to remain a nonprofit organization, the IRS requires it to give more to the community annually than the amount of its tax liability if it were a profit-making organization.
In 2021, Sanpete Valley calculated that its total gift to the community was more than $10 million. Approximately $9 million of that was identified as general “community benefit.” But more than $1 million was charity care. The hospital had 1,769 charity care cases in 2021. The hospital also engaged in more than $2 million in capital improvements in 2021.
Additional gifts to the community in 2021 include:
• $24,710 in community service and education
• $386,745 in cash donations to community organizations
• $55,430 in health professional education
• $7,511 in volunteer service
Intermountain’s goals for 2021-22 include:
- Improving mental well-being by reducing suicide
rates, reducing substance abuse
deaths and improving our ranking with Mental Health America.
- Preventing avoidable disease and injury by increasing immunization rates and reducing diabetes, high blood pressure and unintentional injuries.
- Improve air quality by helping to reduce the number of bad air days.
“By promoting firearm safety, reducing the number of opioid prescriptions in the community, and distributing naloxone (a medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose), we can reduce the rates of death by drugs, alcohol and suicide in the Mountain West,” Intermountain’s website says.
Since 2015, the organization has reduced the number of opioids prescribed by 9.5 million and have helped distribute more than 4,000 naloxone kits used to revive someone experiencing an overdose.
In addition, Intermountain has taught a course for clinicians on how to discuss safe storage of firearms with patients. And since 2019, the organization has distributed more than 30,000 free gun locks.
The organization’s Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) focuses on helping people with pre-diabetes prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes. According to a recent study, if someone with pre-diabetes loses 5 percent of their body weight within two years, he or she can decrease the chance of getting diabetes by 58 percent.
The DPP offers three programs to help patients lose weight, including the Weight to Health program, a medical nutritional therapy program, and a two-hour group class teaching patients about the signs and challenges of pre-diabetes.
To reduce its carbon footprint, Intermountain Healthcare has partnered with Rocky Mountain Power and its Wattsmart program to swap out fluorescent lighting with LED lighting in all its hospitals, while making additional adjustments to reduce their energy consumption.
Intermountain has also installed more than 80 electric vehicle charging stations throughout its facilities, its website says.