SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The local Shriners Hospital for Children branch, located in Salt Lake City’s Avenues neighborhood, has informed employees and patients of a collaboration of services that will move some specialized surgeries to Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital.
Dawn Wright, the director of marketing and communications for Shriner’s Hospital for Children, said this collaboration will give Shriner’s surgical patients access to pediatric specialists, laboratory services, respiratory therapists, intensive care, and emergency services at Primary Children’s Hospital.
Employees were informed of the changes, which will go into effect on Sept. 1, in a hospital-wide chat setting last week. The upcoming partnership was later clarified and further explained in a follow up email that was obtained by ABC4.
“There is a real desire to enhance some of our onsite services for kids because they’re so in demand and so unique,” Wright said.
According to the letter received by ABC4, the partnership will allow a physician who is treating a child patient at the Shriners facility to perform surgery at Primary Children’s Hospital.
“Our families don’t have to do anything different, they still come through Shriner’s Hospital for their care. You know everything from intake and that first appointment, you know, to graduating to when they become adults, none of that changes,” Wright said.
The letter states that this will allow staff at Shriners to “expand and enhance our specialty services to serve more children.” All other services will remain on-site at Shriners Hospital.
“Healthcare is changing and we’re changing with it to ensure that we have efficiencies in place that we are meeting the needs of the community,” Wright said.
Additionally, the partnership will not affect Shriner’s mission of providing healthcare services to children regardless of the family’s ability to pay.
“Children will be eligible for financial assistance through Intermountain Health Care and through Shriner’s Hospital for Children. And our children that aren’t insured or underinsured, they do not need to worry,” Wright said.
The move, however, was not without some negative response. Several employees reached out to ABC4 to express their displeasure at the situation which will affect their employment, although another email sent to the staff asked those aware of the partnership to not communicate directly with the media.
In response to the reaction from affected hospital employees, Shriners officials assured ABC4 that they have been working to provide job placement services for those being let go.
It is currently unknown how many employees’ job statuses will be affected by the partnership, but hospital officials say the change will impact two departments.