Intermountain Healthcare abandons regional approach to care

Intermountain Healthcare will overhaul its internal structure based on geographic administrative regions in favor of a new system that will respond to how patients actually use the organization’s healthcare services.

Beginning Dec. 1, the Salt Lake City-based nonprofit system’s new structure will operate under the direction of the system’s executive leadership team and will focus on community care and specialty care to allow the organization’s caregivers and leaders at its 22 hospitals and 180 clinics to provide faster, more direct care to patients.

The community care group aims to keep people well through prevention and excellent primary care. For example, the organization said in an announcement, the group will focus on helping patients manage chronic diseases like diabetes and outpatient treatments for relatively minor medical needs. The specialty care group will focus on specialist and hospital inpatient care to ensure patients receive appropriate, timely care.

RELATED: Intermountain cuts costs, improves care by integrating mental health into primary care

“The new alignment will create more value for those Intermountain serves, including the underserved to whom charity care is provided in times of need,” the system announced.

The system was previously organized around central, north, south and southwest regions. It’s unclear how many positions will be eliminated under the new structure, but the Deseret News in Utah reported that most of the organization’s 39,000 employees will see little or no change from the new structure.

RELATED: Intermountain CEO: Digital health doesn’t have to conflict with human touch

The newspaper reports that executive team told employees in an internal memo that the new structure will allow the system to provide more affordable, efficient care regardless of how people are insured and how they pay for care.

The new structure will be organized under what the system calls “One Intermountain” to emphasize care delivery that involves the entire organization, Deseret News reported.

In the announcement, Intermountain said the change is part of the system’s ongoing innovation efforts, such as its moves to create an insurance company and form a medical group with about 1,500 employed physicians. The restructure, it said, is meant to provide more consistent, excellent patient experiences.