LDS and Primary Children’s Hospitals to Merge

“LDS and Primary Children’s Hospitals to Merge,” Ensign, Feb. 1974, 71

LDS and Primary Children’s Hospitals to Merge

The Latter-day Saints Hospital and the Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City are to be merged under one administration.

“However,” says Dr. James O. Mason, commissioner of the Church Health Services Corporation, “we are determined to maintain the separate identity of the Primary Children’s Hospital. Primary birthday pennies will be as greatly needed as ever.

“Thousands of inpatients and outpatients require Primary Hospital services. This merger will enable us to render the greatest service for each Primary birthday penny because the hospitals will be able to share benefits and lower operating costs.”

The two hospitals, four blocks apart on the “Avenues” northeast of Temple Square, may eventually share emergency rooms and ambulatory care. Some remodeling at both hospitals also may be required.

Integration of the hospitals reflects a national trend of declining occupancy in children’s hospitals, reflecting the emphasis being placed on preventive medicine, greater use of antibiotics, more treatment of illness at home, and the decline of polio.

The LDS Hospital opened in 1913 as the Dr. W. H. Groves Latter-day Saints Hospital, named after the donor who left an estate valued at $50,000 toward the establishment of a hospital to bear his name. The Primary Children’s Hospital opened its doors at its present location in 1952. Prior to that time it had been located on North Temple Street directly north of Temple Square, where it opened in 1922. Both hospitals were guided by a Board of Trustees with the Presiding Bishopric as chairman and vice-chairmen.

Today the Presiding Bishopric functions as chairman and vice-chairmen of the board of trustees for the Health Services Corporation which operates the 14 Latter-day Saint hospitals.

Administrator of the integrated LDS Hospital and the Primary Children’s Hospital will be David B. Wirthlin, present administrator of LDS Hospital. Thomas R. Harris, Primary Children’s Hospital administrator, will serve as associate administrator with responsibility for Primary Children’s medical center.

Total integration of the two hospitals is expected to take two years.