PROVO, UTAH — It’s a new era for Utah Valley Hospital — an era that includes Primary Children’s Network.
Utah Valley Hospital announced Tuesday that it has joined the Primary Children’s Network. The Primary Children’s Network is the expansion of Primary Children’s Hospital across the state of Utah to better serve pediatric patients. Primary Children’s Hospital already established one partnering hospital in Riverton and now the second Utah partnership is with Utah Valley Hospital in Provo.
“We are partnered all together with Primary Children’s to provide children’s hospital level care within the scope of our respective hospitals,” said Dr. Russell Osguthorpe, pediatric infectious physician and the pediatric medical director at Utah Valley Hospital.
The partnership was created out of a need for more pediatric care in Utah County. Salt Lake is only 45 miles away from Provo where Utah Valley Hospital is located, but that hour commute can be rough on a family when a child needs consistent medical attention. Not to mention that Utah County has a lot of children.
While the announcement was officially made Tuesday morning, the transformation didn’t happen over night. Throughout the past five years, Utah Valley Hospital has been taking steps to prepare to join the Primary Children’s Network.
“In essence the only thing that is changing this spring is the name,” said Dr. David Skarda, pediatric surgeon at Utah Valley Hospital. “There will now be an external manifestation of what’s been going on at Utah Valley Hospital for nearly five years.”
This has meant hiring approximately 20 sub-specialists for the Utah Valley Hospital staff.
“And over that five year period we have grown the kinds of doctors that work in our valley,” said Dr. Osguthorpe. “Instead of adult physicians taking care of children, we now have many pediatric sub-specialty physicians taking care of children with very complex healthcare needs.”
“And over that five year period we have grown the kinds of doctors that work in our valley. Instead of adult physicians taking care of children, we now have many pediatric sub-specialty physicians taking care of children with very complex healthcare needs.” —Dr. Russell Osguthorpe, pediatric medical director at Utah Valley Hospital
Additional doctors and specialists doesn’t mean the quality has changed, if anything, it has meant an increase with a staff that can now manage 90+ percent of pediatric health care needs.
In order to get the Primary Children’s stamp and join the Primary Children Network, Utah Valley Hospital had to go through an intense and detailed gap analysis. For years, the staff at Primary Children’s Hospital helped Utah Valley Hospital analyze every aspect of the hospital to see what needed to be added — such as child sized medical equipment — in order to cover all children’s medical needs at the hospital.
“Children’s hospitals around the country have struggled for many years trying to extend their expertise to cities and areas that have lots of children where there are not children’s hospitals,” Dr. Osguthorpe said. “It’s been a big problem all over the country and over the last 10 years many hospitals, Primary Children’s included, have done exactly what we are doing here by extending a branch of its hospital into a local affiliated hospital.”
But the work isn’t done yet. Over the next two years the whole West Building will be getting a facelift in order to help children feel more comfortable from the moment they walk into the hospital.
“The whole West Building will be getting some of that facelift so we can help even from the minute the kid walks through the door to have them feel like they’re in a children’s environment and not an adult hospital — which is very important to Primary Children’s,” Dr. Osguthorpe said. … “It shows a great deal of care and commitment for our hospital leadership.”
This care and commitment to quality children’s care is something Dr. Osguthorpe and his fellow doctors and nurses take seriously. He noted the sign above the entryway at Primary Children’s Hospital that reads, “The child first and always.”
“When we see that, we want to do everything right by that child that we’re caring for,” Dr. Osguthorpe said. “I think that what Primary Children’s is doing at Utah Valley is just an extension of that idea. What they are saying is the child of Utah Valley is so important to Primary Children’s that they want to bring the same level of service that Salt Lake children have had for decades to the children of Utah Valley. Primary Children’s Hospital and Utah Valley Hospital have worked to make that possible.”
Utah Valley Hospital becoming part of the Primary Children’s Network is what Dr. Osguthorpe refers to as “the cherry on top.”
“It’s just the cherry on top of a whole lot of work by a whole lot of people: administrators, nurses, doctors at both Utah Valley and Primary Children’s who’ve worked countless hours to upgrade and improve our medical care that we provide to children,” Dr. Osguthrope said.
Learn more about the Utah Valley Primary Children’s Network at utahvalleyhospital.org/primary.