SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (Good Things Utah) – Improving the mental well-being of residents, including suicide prevention, preventing avoidable disease and injury, and improving air quality, are just three of the major community initiatives that Intermountain Health is focusing on to enhance the health of communities it serves. As part of its report to the community, Intermountain publishes an annual guide outlining efforts to improve the health of communities through partnerships and collaborative programs that aim to support communities in need, especially those considered at-risk.
The Intermountain Health Community Health Impact Report, details the health system’s efforts to provide charity care for patients in need, address the social determinants of health, and support vital community health initiatives, including support of key community resources and advocacy groups to improve the health of communities in need. Intermountain’s community health work priorities include improving mental well-being, including suicide prevention, preventing avoidable disease and injury, and improving air quality. Intermountain has also prioritized efforts to address the social determinants – such as food insecurity and lack of affordable housing – and expand underrepresented and low-income families’ access to preventive health services.
“Intermountain works with many community partners, leaders, caregivers, and residents to improve community health across the areas that we serve,” said Mikelle Moore, Intermountain’s chief community health officer. “We strongly believe that by working together, we can make the world a healthier and safer place for all.”
Intermountain conducts Community Health Needs Assessments in communities, which help identify and focus on problems that need immediate resources and attention. One major priority, for example, is the need to address and curb high suicide rates in Utah. Utah was recently ranked ninth in the United States for the highest death by suicide rate in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics’ latest numbers.
In response, Intermountain has been working to build a coalition of advocacy groups to prevent suicide by firearms, including partnering with the Utah Shooting Sports Council, among others, to implement interventions to curb suicide rates. Because of this work, in 2021 alone, more than 8,700 free gun locks were distributed in Utah. Additionally, Intermountain has trained more than 33,000 providers and caregivers on suicide prevention tactics.
Intermountain was also able to provide more than 47,000 behavioral health visits last year for underinsured or uninsured community members, with each patient’s first five visits offered free of charge to patients in its Behavioral Health Network.
“Preventing suicide is complex, and I’m grateful to our team and community partners for working to destigmatize mental health, promote healthy behaviors, and ensure access to help for any and all who need it,” said Moore.
In addition to these community health needs, Intermountain has contributed to more than 200 local organizations to support their community-focused work.
Intermountain provided about $189 million in charity care assistance to patients and families unable to pay for their care, and provided more than 19,000 free care vouchers to low-income families for imaging, mammograms, preventative screenings, and other health services at Intermountain facilities.
For more information on all of Intermountain’s initiatives to improve community health see the Intermountain Community Health Impact Report.
Sponsored by Intermountain Health.