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New Lehi hospital opens to ease travel burdens for Utah Co. families

LEHI, Utah (ABC4) — A new campus in Lehi for Primary Children’s Hospital is bringing pediatric care much closer to home for families in Utah County, and some of those families tell ABC4.com it’s a welcome addition to the community.
Over the last year, Marissa Kauffman and her family have had to make the drive from their home in Lehi to the Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City near the University of Utah. Kauffman’s mother, Tara, said those trips sometimes became a whole-day event.
Marissa said she is undergoing treatment for her liver. Her infusions for treatment can sometimes take multiple hours already on top of the hour’s drive from Lehi to Salt Lake City, depending on traffic. Tara Kauffman said the trip to the new campus in Lehi is only seven minutes and a nice burden off their shoulders.
Marrisa Kauffman, 14, receives an infusion treatment at Primary Children’s Hospital (Courtesy: Primary Children’s Hospital)
“She’s not having to miss so much school and it doesn’t take so long to get home after,” said Tara. “When she does her infusions, she is sometimes there anywhere from two hours to six hours so it’s nice to be close so we can come home after a long day a lot quicker.’
Miller Campus President Lisa Paletta said this is something Intermountain Health has been looking forward to for several years and they hope to ease the stress off more families like the Kauffmans.
“By the year 2028, we will have more kids in Utah County than we will have in Salt Lake County,” said Paletta. She said that even before that growth, Primary Children’s already had many patients making the drive from past the Point of the Mountain for care.
“To be able to reduce that burden and have care closer to home for those kids will really make a difference on the families,” said Paletta.
Paletta explained that families making the switch from the Salt Lake campus to the new Lehi campus will find the experience seamless. She said Primary Children’s Hospital views itself as “one hospital, two campuses” and has full integration among staff. Additionally, the new Lehi campus offers full services including surgical units, trauma care, and behavioral units.
“My greatest hope is that the community knows we are here,” said Paletta. “They can feel our hope and healing and love from our caregivers.”
To the cheers and applause of about 400 caregivers, Marissa and two other Primary Children’s patients, Kaylee Rasmussen, 11, and Kylee Jackson, 12, were welcomed as the hospital’s first guests.
“It was really cool,” said Marissa. “It was an experience and something that I was not used to. Being the first patient is something cool you could brag about.”
Marissa said she is grateful for Primary Children’s Hospital, the care she has received, and the welcome they gave to the new Miller Family Campus in Lehi.

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