ROCK SPRINGS — Sweetwater County Commissioners and officials from Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County (MHSC) announced Tuesday that the existing affiliation between Salt Lake City-based University of Utah Health and MHSC will continue to extend the resources of a premier academic medical center to residents of Rock Springs and the surrounding communities.
The agreement, initially signed in September 2012, formalized a long tradition of collaboration between MHSC and U of U Health.
The agreement allows MHSC to provide improved patient access to specialty care not currently available at the facility, so patients can avoid the burden of traveling while dealing with health care crises.
Approximately 150 residents of Sweetwater County receive cardiology care from U of U Health’s cardiologists each month, many of whom would have to seek cardiology care elsewhere if it weren’t for the affiliation agreement.
The agreement also offers MHSC educational opportunities and professional training for clinical staff.
“Thirty-four people from MHSC have received 346 hours of education from the University of Utah in the past 10 months,” said Tad Morley, Executive Director of U of U Health’s Outreach and Network Development Department.
Officials on both sides are optimistic that the collaboration will continue to benefit both sides because both organizations share a commitment to providing high quality care to their patients. “This is a partnership,” Morley said.
Students from the University of Utah receive professional training on-site at MHSC, providing students with an opportunity to learn more about rural health care and gain exposure to rural health systems throughout the Mountain West.
Commissioner John Kolb, who serves as the liaison to the Hospital Board, said he believes the affiliation is good for the hospital.
“It’s always been my opinion that collaboration between resources is the best way to go,” said Kolb.
The affiliation agreement was unanimously approved by the Commissioners.
Both organizations emphasize the affiliation does not change ownership, local control and governance, or restrict patient choice in providers.