Intermountain Healthcare announced Tuesday that it is shortening its name to Intermountain Health next year, a step it says is designed to highlight the organization's commitment to helping people stay healthy and providing world-class medical care.
Ephraim Crossing, a master-planned community in Ephraim, also announced on Tuesday that Intermountain Healthcare plans to build a new hospital in Ephraim, Sanpete County, where it has acquired 35 acres for a campus.
Intermountain, however, said it has no immediate plans for development. Organization officials said the land purchased will be used to enhance health care services for residents in the area and is part of its "ongoing commitment to serve patients with high-quality, affordable and accessible care," but did not commit to using the space for a hospital.
"Intermountain has been part of the Sanpete County community for more than 65 years. Rural health care is an integral part of our mission to help people live the healthiest lives possible. We are committed to growing as the area grows and supporting quality rural health in central Utah and beyond," a statement from the company said.
With the name change coming in 2023, the company says its mission will stay the same.
"The name change signals an increased emphasis on whole health-focused initiatives while staying true to Intermountain's rich foundation of providing extraordinary care for the communities it serves," the organization said in a prepared statement. "Intermountain's mission of 'helping people live the healthiest lives possible,' will not change, and the organization will continue to champion preventative care and wellness, addressing social determinants of health and health care innovations."
Meanwhile, the possibility of a hospital in Ephraim is fueling chatter about career opportunities in the community, as well as additional health care services for residents.
Ephraim officials say they are glad Intermountain purchased the property at the south side of the city, and it has been in the works for three years.
"We believe that a future hospital will be a tremendous advantage for Ephraim residents and students at Snow College," city officials said.
They expressed gratitude that Intermountain has confidence in the city's ability to develop infrastructure, as they sought support from Snow College for the "full-scale" facility in 2019.
Ephraim Mayor John Scott said bringing a hospital to Ephraim was one of his top priorities when he became mayor, as he feels strongly that local residents and Snow College students should not need to travel for health care.
"Right now this investment by Intermountain will be the largest rural health care investment that we are aware of, in the state of Utah and I hope it will employ hundreds of people," he said. "This is no small matter and I am grateful that the developers of Ephraim Crossing and Intermountain could reach a deal to bring about this magnificent opportunity.
Kevin Romney, managing partner at Camino Verde Group, which is developing Ephraim Crossing, said Ephraim is a growing rural community, and it has had economic upturns as companies relocate to the area.
"We welcome Intermountain Healthcare to Ephraim Crossing. Its reputation of providing the highest-quality health care will support our mission of promoting a healthy lifestyle for residents," Romney said.
Intermountain will serve as an anchor tenant in the new community, the development company said. Ephraim Crossing's remaining 105 acres will offer a variety of housing, entertainment, plus retail and office space, the company said. It anticipates that the community will be home to more than 700 families.