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Intermountain Healthcare’s entry into Southern Nevada a ‘game-changer’

Updated June 30, 2020 - 10:18 am

HealthCare Partners Nevada, a network of medical providers and clinics in Nevada, officially changes its name to Intermountain Healthcare this week, a year after its acquisition by the Utah-based regional health system.

The rebranding doesn’t signal any immediate changes in the patient experience, according to the company. Patients will have access to the same providers, locations and services as before. But for the long term, some expect Intermountain Healthcare’s entry into the community to be a game changer.

“I really do think they’re going to have a significant impact this decade,” said Dr. Michael Gardner, vice dean of clinical affairs for the UNLV School of Medicine. As a successful nonprofit with a reputation for quality care at an affordable price, “They have the ability to make investments for long-term change.”

The company has a reputation for innovation. For example, Intermountain “opened their own pharmaceutical company just so they could produce generic drugs to provide at a much lower cost to their patients, which is frankly amazing,” Gardner said.

He described Intermountain as “one of the premier health care organizations in the country,” along with Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, Kaiser Permanente and Geisinger Health System.

“Intermountain has got a national reputation for excellence,” agreed Doug Geinzer, who until several month ago served as CEO of Las Vegas HEALS, a coalition of medical and wellness industry professionals, organizations and institutions.

Where medical care in Las Vegas can be “highly fragmented,” Intermountain is known for an integrated system that provides greater continuity of care, said Geinzer, who now serves as a strategic adviser to Las Vegas HEALS.

Intermountain Healthcare is made up of 24 hospitals, 215 clinics and a medical group of 3,000 physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners, including its Nevada assets, the company’s 2019 community report said. With 42,000 employees, it is the largest employer in Utah.

It was formed in 1974 to operate a chain of hospitals owned by the Mormon church.

“I think that over time … we’re going to have more investment opportunity to grow and provide more services, and more opportunities to leverage the deep clinical expertise that exists in Utah,” said Mark Price, president of Nevada operations.

Intermountain is looking for gaps to fill in Southern Nevada’s health care delivery system. When it determined that there was no pediatric neurosurgeon in Southern Nevada, it partnered with Sunrise Hospital to provide one from its children’s hospital in Salt Lake City, said Rob Allen, Intermountain’s senior vice president and chief operating officer.

The company also fills gaps in areas other than health care delivery. When it saw that seniors weren’t leaving their houses to buy groceries during the pandemic, it partnered with other community organizations to arrange food delivery, the officials said.

Intermountain is known for having a robust telehealth program, which it has expanded during the pandemic.

“Intermountain in Utah had gone very, very deep into telehealth for a long period of time,” Price said. As telehealth ramped up in Nevada, the Utah team “helped us really think about what are the best ways to deploy it to a much larger population and get the most effectiveness out of using those services, and then also understand, what are the limitations?”

The company aims to increase service to to underserved areas of the community.

“As a country there are problems with health equity, and we want to be part of the solution in Southern Nevada,” Price said.

Last year, Intermountain entered into a founding sponsorship deal with the Raiders as the NFL team was relocating to Las Vegas. The deal gave it naming rights to the team’s headquarters and practice center in Henderson, The Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center, which opened last week. The deal also named Intermountain as the official health care partner of the Raiders and a founding sponsor of Allegiant Stadium.

“These are big commitments that we’re making,” Allen said. “We’re committed for the long haul.”

Contact Mary Hynes at mhynes@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0336. Follow @MaryHynes1 on Twitter.

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