SALT LAKE CITY — One of Utah’s largest healthcare systems, MountainStar Healthcare, announced Thursday that it is adding more Utah facilities to its network as it works toward its goal of bringing affordable care to more Utah families.
MountainStar Healthcare President Greg Angle said the healthcare system is committed to investing in Utah and providing quality healthcare at a good price.
The company, which is part of HCA Healthcare’s vast international network, currently has eight Utah hospitals between Logan and Payson, as well as multiple emergency care and emergency room locations.
“We’re adding points of access, improving continuity of care, and bringing the knowledge and best practices from HCA Healthcare’s 35 million annual patient interactions to the communities we live in and love,” said Angle.
The initiative to expand MountainStar’s options in Utah includes:
- A new emergency department in Syracuse, which will be MountainStar’s 14th in the state after adding two in Herriman and Lehi in October.
- Operating room expansions at Brigham City Community Hospital in Box Elder County and Mountain View Hospital in Payson.
- Two emergency care centers in West Point and American Fork, adding nine CareNow centers in the past two years.
- Two Envision Imaging locations have been added to the Draper and Bountiful facilities.
- The previously announced expansions of St. Mark’s Hospital and Lone Peak Hospital are nearing completion.
- Two HCA Healthcare Centers for Clinical Advancement in Ogden and Draper will help train Utah nurses and clinicians.
“What excites us most is not just any investment, but the combination and comprehensive nature of what we have been able to do over the last few years by expanding our network. So it’s really the culmination of a lot of work, some big investment, and a commitment to meeting the growing demand for healthcare services in Utah,” Angle said.
Angle said they are fortunate to have so many people in Utah who come to them for care. He said continuing to meet with a GP can help people stay healthy and have resources to help them find appropriate care when needed.
“We want people to be actively involved in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and staying connected to our network and the healthcare system,” Angle said.
He said the system recognizes that Utah’s population is increasing, not just in Salt Lake County but along the Wasatch Front, and the increasing density can make it harder for families to find the health care they need. In response, MountainStar is trying to bring health care closer to where families live.
Angle said having an emergency room close by can be crucial because patients do better when the travel time to the emergency room is reduced.
“By saving time, we save lives — we improve outcomes,” Angle said.
He said nearby emergency rooms can also be more cost-effective for patients who don’t necessarily need a hospital. A more local clinic can provide the care they need while being more affordable and accessible.
dr Filip Roos, chief medical officer at MountainStar Healthcare, said in a statement that sometimes every second counts and having an emergency room nearby can make a big difference.
“By having these freestanding emergency centers in communities throughout northern Utah, we can better serve families who would otherwise have to travel further afield for this type of care,” Roos said.
He said the hospital upgrade, which brings the latest surgical technologies to community hospitals, can reduce recovery times and improve outcomes.
“By increasing our capabilities on the north and south ends of the Wasatch Front, we ensure more Utahns come close to the cutting-edge technology and quality care we are known for,” Roos said.
MountainStar is expanding at a time of shortages in the healthcare workforce, which can be challenging. Angle said they’re taking steps to address the large vacancies and turnover rates among healthcare workers — and focusing on retention by creating an environment where staff are happy by listening to what nurses, doctors and Employees need to maintain energy and enthusiasm.
Jen Wagenaar, MountainStar’s Chief Nursing Executive, said these centers come at a time when there is a high need for training for clinicians.
“We’ve worked with leaders here in Utah to bring more passionate people into nursing careers. This is our way of showing ourselves to further the pipeline of future nurses and technicians at Mountain West,” she said.
Wagenaar said the centers will have realistic simulation equipment and will provide an authentic learning experience.
Angle said nursing schools could not produce enough people to fill the positions, so they are working to improve the availability of training and access to programs.
“It’s not just about having the geography right and making sure we have the bricks and mortar, it’s about making sure we have the people in the right places in Utah so people know the Health care is accessible to them, and so on it’s inexpensive,” Angle said.
Unlike many healthcare systems in the United States, MountainStar and its parent company, HCA Healthcare, pay taxes as a for-profit healthcare system. He said they are a “good corporate citizen” and support other needs in the state in addition to providing jobs for many Utahns.
“We continue to care for everyone who needs our services and have provided more than $30 million in unpaid care over the past year,” said Angle. “That’s why we’re proud of the community benefits and our continued investment in Utah.”