Viewpoint: Thank Intermountain for Utah's lack of rural hospital closures

While rural hospital closures are a national crisis, Utah has largely escaped the trend, a board leader for Intermountain Healthcare wrote in an op-ed for The Salt Lake Tribune.

James "Cid" Seidelman, PhD, a professor of economics and former provost at Salt Lake City-based Westminster College, asked in his article: "What's different about Utah?"

Dr. Seidelman, who is also chair of the Salt Lake Hospitals Board for Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare, pointed to how Intermountain operates nine hospitals and 23 medical clinics in rural communities that provide local access to care residents would expect from a large health system.

He also noted that Intermountain's expansive telehealth network and charity care are key reasons why the health system has been able to maintain rural operations. Intermountain healthcare provided $17.6 million in charity care to 23,620 rural patients in 2018.

"[In] rural Utah there would be a dearth of hospitals and healthcare services without the commitment of nonprofits such as Intermountain Healthcare and other local community-supported hospitals," he wrote.

Read more here.

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