About a year ago Davis Hospital and Medical Center was purchased by Boston-based Steward Healthcare Group, along with four other IASIS hospitals along the Wasatch Front. Purchases like these are sometimes met with concern by the local community, who worry that a detached corporate office won’t be mindful of local needs and quality of service will decrease.
According to Davis Hospital Business Development Director Diane Townsend, however, the change in ownership has been a positive one.
“The great thing about Steward is that it’s a physician owned and directed company. The man who started it was a cardiovascular surgeon,” Townsend said. “So it’s neat that it’s physician owned, because they have a better understanding of the purpose of medicine which is to take care of the patient.”
Steward has grown exponentially in the last 10 years, going from just a handful of hospitals to 18 and then ballooning to 36. While there was some aligning of job titles after the buyout, it hasn’t interfered with business as usual at Davis Hospital. The overall care is still strong and has even improved in many ways, Townsend explained.
This is helped in part by Steward Healthcare’s ability to maintain a healthy balance between oversight and listening to the input of local leadership. While the main office has influence and provides direction, it allows its branches to care for patients and interact with communities based on local understanding.
“They [Steward] have expanded before. They really understand healthcare. Being physician led, they understand that our goal is to have healthy people,” Townsend said.
One way Davis Hospital is able to accomplish this is a focus on the latest equipment and technology.
“This is really the hidden gem of Davis Hospital,” said Townsend. “We do a lot to keep up with advancements in technology. We’re not flashy about it, we don’t toot our horn as much as we should.”
This focus on technology has led to higher efficiency and increased quality of care. According to Townsend, Davis ranks better than average in heart attack intervention time. While the Utah average is about 60 minutes, Davis comes in at 44.
Additionally, proximity is important. Many people don’t realize that quality care is available in their own neighborhoods. Davis is able to handle many complex medical issues without having to ship patients out to other hospitals. This is crucial in situations where speedy care is crucial, especially heart attacks.
“Time is essential. The more time it takes for medical intervention, the more the muscle is damaged and the patient is harmed. Every minute is muscle,” Townsend said.
Davis Hospital has two emergency rooms, one in the main Layton building and a second in their Weber County expansion in Roy. The Roy branch, opened about five years ago, has been invaluable to the community as it provides the same doctors and quality of care as the Layton branch, Townsend said.
This proximity helps with other issues as well. Davis has a quality cancer-care program that eliminates the need for a long drives through rush-hour traffic.
“If you’re going through 6 weeks of chemotherapy, you don’t want to have to spend all that time in a car,” Townsend said. “People don’t realize the drag of driving all the way to Salt Lake for treatment.”
It appears that, in the year since the partnership with Steward Healthcare Group began, Davis Hospital has been able to continue providing personalized local care combined with the latest in technological advancement. Hopefully this successful partnership will continue to benefit residents for years to come.