A large audience of Blue Mountain Hospital employees, administrators, Board members, community leaders and local residents, gathered at the hospital Monday afternoon to hear a special announcement from hospital CEO Jeremy Lyman.
"We've done a lot of things to find ways to better provide care and better services for our community. In an effort to continue to improve, we are pleased to announce that we have entered into a strategic affiliation with University of Utah Health Care," Lyman told the gathering.
"We're excited about what that means for our hospital and for the community," Lyman continued. "We will maintain our independence as an organization but we now have a partner with resources, with a track record of excellence and quality, with expertise and access to additional specialists and programs that our patients need. Through our affiliation with University of Utah Health Care, we hope to expand our services and bring programs here that were not previously available to our community. We are excited to make the affiliation official with this announcement."
In a press release issued Monday in conjunction with the afternoon news conference, Lyman stated,
"Health care is changing very rapidly, and one key to continued success for a rural health system like ours is finding the right partners. University of Utah Health Care has a national reputation as a provider of accessible, high-quality, coordin- ated, and cost effective care – all the qualities we're looking for in a partner."
The agreement sets the stage for Blue Mountain Hospital to provide enhanced access for its patients to medical specialties. These efforts may include expanded use of telehealth services, or satellite clinics staffed by University of Utah specialists, the press release continued.
The agreement also offers the opportunity for provi-ders at Blue Mountain to benefit from the work the University of Utah is doing around staff development and business efficiency, according to Lyman.
"Running a great hospital requires talented healers and talented business leaders. If we are not financially healthy, we can't serve the community. This partnership will allow us to take advantage of both the educational opportunities and operating efficiencies associated with a large, academic medical center."
David Entwistle (Pictured Above), CEO of University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics, said the partnership makes sense because both organizations share a commitment to providing high quality care.
"No one wants to leave their community when they get sick. We want to stay close to our family and close to those we know, and quite frankly, close to those health care providers we've worked with for years, So the opportunity that we have here is to say, what are the services that we may offer, that we may bring to this community, so patients can stay at their home?" Entwistle told the audience.
In the press release issued Monday, Entwistle said, "The goal of this partnership is to enhance Blue Mountain Hospital's ability to serve the residents of the region with high quality care and access to specialty care not currently available."
"Health care is changing today, and part of that change is the deeper partnerships and collaboration that's required across the providers of health care, so that we can serve our patients better," said Dr. Sean Mulvihill, CEO of the University of Utah Medical Group. "I think this partnership that we're celebrating today is really evidence of that. A commitment by both of these organizations to work together in more effective ways for their patients."
Mulvihill said Blue Mountain Hospital is serving the community well with high quality clinical care.
"Your patients know you, trust you, respect you and they're here wanting local health care," he told group.
He added that University of Utah Health Care is here to provide support for Blue Mountain Hospital team, and when necessary, the University of Utah will be ready to support the BMH team with "the depth of care only an academic medical center can provide." He explained that this partnership will make access to the extensive medical resources of University of Utah Health Care easier, and foster deeper integration in delivery of health care services for this community.
"We believe that as a teaching hospital it is part of our commitment to these communities that we serve, to help with that teaching mission. To teach future providers who might come into this community to practice nursing, medicine, physical therapy and alike, and to be a resource when patient care exceeds the capability of the local facility.
"Let me personally thank Jeremy (Lyman) for his leadership in pushing this partnership forward. I think it's a tremendous vision, and we're looking forward to working with him as this relationship deepens," Mulvihill stressed. "I also want to thank the community board members and especially the support of the regional nations, the Navajo and Ute tribes, who have been such great supporters for this hospital. I look forward to getting to know you better and to work with you on behalf of your citizens."
He concluded his comments with this observation. "Henry Ford once said, 'coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success.' I'm confident this partnership will position both our organizations for success in this rapidly changing health care environment."
To end his remarks Monday, Lyman recognized the presence of hospital board members, staff and physicians, members of the volunteer staff, and members of the BMH Foundation Board.
"Most importantly we have members of our community here, without whose support we could not operate," he stated. "We're excited to work with University of Utah Health Care. We think they have a lot to offer us as an organization and a lot to offer our patients and our community."
Both organizations have emphasized the affiliation does not change ownership, local control and governance, or restrict patient choice in providers
About Blue Mountain Hospital
Located in Blanding, Utah, Blue Mountain Hospital, Inc. is an independent private non-profit corporation. Both Utah Navajo Health System and the Ute Tribe appoint board members to the hospital board of directors. After five years of operation, the hospital has grown and expanded services to meet the needs of the residents and visitors of San Juan County.
Blue Mountain Hospital provides Emergency Services, Radiology, Lab, General Surgery, Labor & Delivery, and General Hospital Services. The hospital also operates an eight-chair dialysis center, which is fairly unique for an independent rural hospital, and an in-house pharmacy that features the latest technology in medication dispensing.
About University of Utah Health Care
University of Utah Health Care is the Intermountain West's only academic health care system, providing leading-edge and compassionate medicine for the people of Utah and a referral area encompassing five states and more than 10 percent of the continental United States. The health system includes four hospitals – University of Utah Hospital; the University of Utah Orthopedic Center; University Neuropsychiatric Institute; and Huntsman Cancer Hospital – with more than 1,000 physicians offering care in more than 200 medical specialties. The system has been ranked among the top 10 academic health systems in the country for the past four years in the University HealthSystem Consortium's rigorous Quality and Accountability Study.