Hospital keeps serving community |

Hospital keeps serving community

Gina Barker, The Park Record

When a group of locals first discussed building a hospital in Park City, what ultimately became the Park City Medical Center, some community members had their doubts. But as the hospital turned three years old this year and with Intensive Care Unit construction starting in December, the Park City Medical Center has won over locals and visitors alike.

"Before we did the initial feasibility studies, so many people would ask us, ‘Why would we want hospital here,’" said Vern Cooley, an Orthopedic Surgeon and early supporter of the hospital. "They would say there were world-class hospitals 30 minutes away in Salt Lake City, that the project would be a waste of land, money and resources, that another big building would create traffic.

"We did several studies to show individuals in community who were opposed (to the hospital) that a community hospital does not detract from a community, rather it adds value."

In its three years, the Park City Medical Center has admitted 27,664 emergency room patients, donated $6,378,361 in charity care, delivered more than 700 babies and served 219,214 out patients, said Amy Roberts, the public relations director for the hospital. And the popularity of the local hospital is only growing as more services are added.

"We started as this little scrap of dirt," Roberts said. "And it was controversial. We had to come in and prove ourselves, and I think we’ve been able to do that To see how much we’ve grown in three years, that feels very special."

Including original construction costs, the Park City Medical Center has invested $87,000,000 in facilities, services and equipment, providing medical care for locals and out-of-towners alike. In fact, over its three years the hospital has treated patients from 98 countries, from Germany to Japan, Roberts added.

Cooley said every year patients who injure themselves and need orthopedic care are surprised by the level of care in his clinic.

Last year, one patient with a serious knee injury was in town for the Sundance Film Festival to support his daughter, who helped produce a film in the festival, Cooley said. At first, he was debating whether or not he should fly home to New York or receive care in Salt Lake City.

"We were able to completely take care of him at the local hospital," he said, "which was so convenient. His daughter was able to stay and do her work and he was comfortable. There was no driving back and forth through the canyon. And when he got home, he called me to say thank you. He said we took a bad situation, and made it as good a situation as possible.

"And that is just a visitor standpoint, not even a local’s point of view."

When the hospital first opened on September 15, 2009, it offered a handful of important services, including an emergency room, labor and delivery, imaging such as x-ray and CT scanning, physical therapy and limited surgical services.

That was when the Park City Medical Center first opened.

In its three years, the hospital has added an improved breast health center, urology services, more options in general surgery and plastic surgery, pain management services, a complete, world-class orthopedics unit and even a wellness center.

"This hospital has one of the highest patient-satisfaction scores in the country," Roberts said. "Our patients respond with feedback telling us they enjoy their experience here."

"Patients are covered, quite literally, from head to toe."

On December 3rd, the Park City Medical Center is scheduled to begin construction of an Intensive Care Unit, a project the hospital has been raising funds for since it first opened. The $2 million ICU was fully funded this year and the first phase is expected to be completed between April and June 2013, with available services in July 2013.

Though funding is not yet underway, the hospital hopes to campaign to add cardiovascular services next.

"We like to say that we are Summit County’s hospital," Roberts said, "but we’re open to the world."