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Intermountain Healthcare has made it a part of their mission to find ways to create healthier communities and enhance access to everyone who needs it.
Here are four ways that Intermountain is working to make this happen:
1. Increasing access for vulnerable patients and communities
Through a community health needs assessment program, Intermountain Healthcare has identified "access to healthcare" as among the top needs in the community.
Intermountain is working to address this community need by enhancing access for patients to health services for low income and uninsured populations in communities served by Intermountain, often in collaboration with a variety of community partners and programs.
"I grew up without regular access to healthcare," said Shireen Ghorbani, community health director for Intermountain. "I remember the conversations we'd have over earaches or sore throats, not sure if we needed to go to the walk-in clinic or if we should wait and see. Those are not the kinds of conversations we want to have happening across our community, so we've invested to enhance access to care for anyone needing care."
2. Medical vouchers available to patients in need
Medical vouchers are able to help those who may face obstacles accessing healthcare services. This could be because of clinic availability, poverty, or other social determinants that get in the way. Medical voucher programs give the ability for families to get care needed immediately and help with long-term care, if needed.
Intermountain partners with dozens of community health clinics across the state where people can go in for basic check-ups and see a doctor. If further diagnostic testing, preventive care, or other services are recommended, Intermountain provides vouchers to help people overcome financial barriers to the care they need.
Last year, 19,633 medical vouchers were provided by Intermountain to 59 low-income clinics in Utah to help patients access imaging services, mammograms, and other care at Intermountain facilities, with a value of $16 million in care.
These vouchers to federally qualified health centers are for low-income, underserved families who are over 200% of the federal poverty level.
More information about where to locate a Federally Qualified Health Center that offers free or low-cost visits information can be found here.
3. School and mobile clinics funded to enhance patient access
Intermountain also provides funding and operations for multiple mobile screening, diagnostic, and primary care units. In addition, Intermountain operates a mobile mammography unit and primary care mobile clinic.
Intermountain also funds and operates two school clinics with Salt Lake City School District that provides children, as well as anyone in the surrounding community, the ability to use clinic services.
"The school and mobile clinics are able to reach vulnerable, underrepresented communities and groups," Ghorbani explained. "Addressing health needs, especially in a preventative, primary setting, creates healthier communities for all Utahns."
4. Behavioral Health Navigation Hotline serves everyone
Additionally, the Intermountain Healthcare Behavioral Health Navigation Line is available to all Utahns free of charge.
The Intermountain Navigation Hotliine was originally developed early in the COVID-19 pandemic as an emotional support line for caregivers and the public. Now, the established and growing Behavioral Health Network provides free mental health visits to under-represented communities.
Over the past several years, Intermountain has provided nearly 11,000 free mental health visits through the Navigation Line. Anyone can call the Intermountain Behavioral Health Navigation Line at (833) 442-2211, 8 am to 8 pm, seven days a week. Telehealth visits and additional resources can also be given through the navigation services here.
For more information on vouchers and community health initiatives, please visit intermountainhealthcare.org/communityhealth.