When the dust settled on Thursday's groundbreaking for Columbia/HCA's new hospital, it not only represented the realization of city leaders' goal of a full-service hospital but also the assertion that Columbia/HCA hopes to become the leading health-care provider in the state.
"We are positioning ourselves to be the health-care system in Utah," said Kent Wallace, president of Columbia/HCA's Utah division."This hospital is unique in many ways. Its design will carry us to the 21st century."
Wallace said the facility at 800 North between 600 and 800 East will accommodate an increased number of outpatient procedures. The design includes hospital rooms that are able to "swing" from one use to another. For example, when any of the six beds in the intensive care unit are not in use, they can be used as observation rooms for outpatient surgery or extra emergency room beds.
The "swing" option, plus the fact that all patient-care staff will be cross-trained, will aid in cost-efficient care by conserving space, personnel and environmental resources.
"The dramas of people's lives play out in these buildings," said Gov. Mike Leavitt.
The dream of a full-service hospital in Orem began more than 20 years ago. But when Intermountain Health Care scaled back on the original plans for Orem Community Hospital, frustrated city officials started looking for new options.
"This is a gratifying day for the city of Orem," Mayor Stella Welsh said.
"It (the hospital) will benefit Orem and bring a choice in health care not currently available in Utah County. It will bring a hospital that the Orem community was promised and never came to fruition. It offers a choice, and competition is good."
The hospital is expected to admit its first patients in January of 1997. It will initially employ 225 people, increasing to 450 by 1999. The 225,000-square-foot building will include 58 beds, a Level II emergency center, critical- and intensive-care units, a birthing center, a 24-bed medical/surgical unit and complete inpatient and outpatient surgical services.
The new facility will be the fifth hospital and the second for-profit hospital owned by HCA in the county; Mountain View Hospital in Payson is the other. The other three are not-for-profit and are owned by Intermountain Health Care, including Utah Valley Regional Medical Center.
HCA also operates St. Mark's Hospital, Ogden Regional Medical Center, Lakeview Hospital, Brigham City Community Hospital, Ashley Valley Medical Center in Vernal, Castleview Hospital in Price and several clinics. It has 317 hospitals nationwide.
"This is an important day for Utah County," said Larry Dursteler, CEO of IHC's Utah County hospitals. "The new facility will have very little effect on IHC's focus in Utah County. Competition is a way of life. We welcome Columbia and any other provider of quality health care. Now we're a two-hospital town."
Rick Scott, president of Columbia/HCA, said, "You will get a facility of the future. We look forward to expanding in the state."