Parents can no longer take their children to the general pediatric outpatient clinic at Primary Children's Medical Center. It's closed.
Or rather, it has been moved next door - consolidated with the general pediatric outpatient clinic at the state-owned University of Utah Medical Center."When we were apart, it seemed reasonable to have both clinics because we were in different parts of town," said Bonnie Midget, a spokeswoman for Primary Children's, an Intermountain Health Care hospital. "But when we moved, the doctors wanted to have it in one place so they didn't have to spend a half day at Primary and a half day at the U."
Historically, both the U.'s general pediatric clinic and a similar one at Primary Children's have been staffed by the U.'s medical school pediatric faculty, Midget said.When Primary Children's moved to the U. medical campus earlier this year, hospital officials agreed the two clinics should be consolidated.
The decision was made despite possible antitrust concerns raised by the Utah attorney general's office and discussed by the physicians. Earlier this month, similar concerns surfaced when the U.'s 20-year-old neonatal transport team was disbanded and a new one formed at Primary Children's.
Midget said the closure of Primary's general pediatric clinic was reasonable.
"Our clinic was not large enough to hold all our general pediatrics, plus all of the U.'s, so we decided to have all the children treated" at the U., Midget said.
The bottom line: The general pediatric outpatient clinic is now at the U. Speciality clinics, such as renal and endocrinology, have been moved to Primary Children's.
But Midget said the payment system is still the same.
Children on "primary service" - those receiving financial assistance from Pennies by the Inch and other money raised by Primary Children's for charity care - still get it, even though they are treated at the U.
That money, Midget said, is still used to pay for immunizations and all diagnostic testing. The U. just bills Primary Children's for "primary service" children.
The clinic relocation "has not saved us or cost us any money," Midget said. "The net amount that comes from our charity care is the same. The only difference is that they are seeing the doctors at the U."