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Laura Seitz, KSL

Intermountain Healthcare breaks ground for second Primary Children's Hospital in Lehi

By Daedan Olander, KSL | Posted - Nov. 19, 2020 at 7:43 p.m.



LEHI — On Aug. 1, 2016, Jacob and Teri Partida rushed from their home in Utah County and headed toward Salt Lake City in a panic — making a 45-minute trip that felt like "the longest drive of all time."

They had just received word that their 4-year-old daughter, Brailey, had been in a serious lawn mowing accident at her grandmother's house and was being flown to Primary Children's Hospital for emergency care.

"We're here in Utah County, so a few minutes flight for her, but it was really about a 45-minute drive for us," Jacob Partida, Brailey's father, said in a news conference. "One of the longest drives of our lifetime."

While she lost her right leg in the accident, Brailey was able to return home after 29 days in the hospital. She is now 9 years old.

The Partidas, residents of Pleasant Grove, related their story Thursday as part of a virtual groundbreaking for an Intermountain Healthcare campus in Lehi.

The campus will hold Utah's second full-service Primary Children's Hospital — minus transplant and heart surgery capacities — as well as a three-story medical office.

Situated in the heart of Utah County, a rapidly growing area, Lehi was chosen specifically to provide quick access for the thousands of families that live there, like the Partidas.

"Having this new Primary Children's will be amazing, not only for us for follow-ups and things that she may need in the future, surgeries and revisions, but for other families that might be going through the same thing," Jacob Partida said. "You know, every time you see that helicopter of Life Flight, somebody's story begins."

Construction progresses on a second Intermountain Primary Children's Hospital campus in Lehi on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. The campus will address the health care needs of a rapidly growing population in Utah County and an increasing need for specialty pediatric care in the area. The planned 38-acre campus will open in 2023. (Photo: Laura Seitz, KSL)

The five-story hospital will be equipped with a medical surgical unit, pediatric and surgical newborn intensive care units, an in-patient behavioral health unit and an observation unit adjacent to the emergency department, said Lisa Paletta, administrator of the Lehi campus.

The hospital will have 66 available beds, and the medical office will house more than 140 patient care rooms.

The hospital will also offer trauma and special pediatric emergency services.

"Trauma and emergency services are so important that they are addressed in a timely manner," Paletta said. "So to be able to have these services closer to home, to be able to quickly meet the needs of the children that we serve and to be able to provide these services will be an essential element in helping kids like Brailey Partida heal and get the fast care that they need."

Additionally, hospital services will provide art, music and dance therapy, as well as the assistance of child life specialists to help patients and families come to terms with an altered reality and a new future.

The care Brailey received while recovering is one of the things her family remembers best — and is most grateful for.

"Her recovery plan was more like school, in a fun kind of way," Jacob Partida said, describing his daughter's recovery at Primary Children's Hospital. "She had art, she had physical therapy, she had music, she would go to (the) music studio. They did such a great job distracting her from what was really going on, which was the healing."

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"I can't say enough good things about this medical staff and the professional care that we received there."

Building the 38-acre campus, hospital and medical office will cost an estimated $335 million, Paletta said.

The second Primary Children's location is part of Intermountain's plan to build the nation's model health system for children, which it announced in January.

Intermountain has pledged $250 million to see the goal through.

Aside from opening the new campus, Intermountain plans to add an advanced fetal care center, an augmented Level 4 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and an expanded cancer treatment center.

Construction progresses on a second Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital campus in Lehi on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. The campus will address the health care needs of a rapidly growing population in Utah County and an increasing need for specialty pediatric care in the area. The planned 38-acre campus will open in 2023. (Photo: Laura Seitz, KSL)

It also hopes to extend its pediatric care network to offer better virtual services, as well as implement programs to help children with their mental and behavioral health.

Intermountain estimates the total cost will be around $500 million and hopes to raise the remainder through philanthropic support.

It already has one generous supporter.

After being told about plans for the new hospital, Utah businesswoman Gail Miller contributed $50 million — the largest single donation her family has ever made.

"One of our family's guiding principles is to go about doing good until there's too much good in the world, and this hospital is a perfect example of how we can continue to build on that aspiration," Miller said during the news conference.

Miller shared personal stories about the care her family has received at Primary Children's.

She related how, years ago, two surgeries at Primary Children's saved her son's life, and more recently, her grandson and great-grandson both needed specialized care after being born prematurely.

To honor the Miller family's donation, Intermountain has named the Lehi location the Larry H. and Gail Miller Family Campus.

The new Primary Children's Hospital is expected to be completed in 2023 and will open in early 2024.

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Daedan Olander

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