A hospital chain that gets it. Intermountain Health

I blogged recently about a friend who had severe pneumonia and a very high fever. He was treated at Valley View hospital here in Cedar City UT. They almost certainly saved his life. His original bill for the emergency room and three days in the hospital was $6,400, modest by many hospital standards. The hospital dropped the bill to $4,200 after realizing he and his wife don’t have insurance. But wait, there’s more.

Valley View is part of Intermountain Health, whose charter mandates they give aid to those in need by lowering the bill. My friends had financial reversals a while back, couldn’t afford insurance, and are working hard to get out of the hole. Intermountain doesn’t drop the bill just based on financial need, they also do it based on whether the person is deserving.

Our friends asked for more consideration and sent in their tax returns for the past few years. What happened was extraordinary. Intermountain lowered their entire bill to $350. My friend said he never gets speechless but this time he was.

In a similar vein, the Mormon Church has a private welfare system. If you are deemed deserving, they will take care of you. For example, I just learned of a Mormon here in Cedar City who needed a heart valve operation, and had no insurance. He wasn’t a particularly observant member but someone said, maybe you should ask your bishop. He did, the bishop said sure, and the church will pick up the bill. They also help in stopping foreclosures, provide assistance if say a breadwinner dies or is ill, and have gleaning days on their crop lands. On a specified day, if you need food, just take what you want. (BTW, the bishop doesn’t always say yes. Someone I know with a drug problem had burned one too many bridges and the bishop said no.)

Our friends are now volunteering for an organization that helps people confined to their homes because of medical problems. They are passing on what was given to them.


  • About six years ago I went through 6 weeks chemo and radiotherapy for bowel cancer, 6 weeks after the treatment I went in to have the cancer operation. A few hours before the operation I took pains in my chest, the operation was cancelled and a week later I was in another hospital and had a quadruple bypass. They gave me 8 weeks to recover from that and I was back in for the cancer operation, I was over 8 hours in the operating theatre and then home with a temporary bag. Three months later back in to hospital to have the bag removed and back to normal bowel precess, ( well not quite) . If there had to be a bill at the end of that long process I doubt if I could have gone through with the long and complicated process. Even the worry of the bill would have been detrimental to my health in those conditions. I doubt if we can call it a civilized society if the cost of your treatment determines whether you will go through with it or not. Care free at the point of need is the only civilized system, anything that deviates from that is putting profit before the lives of people.

    • Well put. And glad you’re still alive and well.

  • And still managing to do cycle runs of 60 and 80 miles, thanks to the skill and compassion of the staff at the National Health Service. I believe that the corporarte world would have dropped me as to expensive.

    • Wow, you are in good shape for a granddad – or anyone!

      If you don’t have insurance here or an amazing hospital like Valley View , then indeed, you might not get medical care at all if it’s something really major like heart valve surgery.

  • From my friend and physical therapist, Linda:

    “Yes, Mormons do know how to take care of their own. There seems to be a disconnect, though, that most Mormons are Republicans, the majority of which don’t seem interested in helping provide affordable health care to people.
    Glad that the hospital chain was so compassionate. “

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