Madison Memorial Hospital in Rexburg officially announced its partnership with the University of Utah Medical Group in a public ceremony this morning.
“We've agreed to play together in the sandbox,” said Rachel Gonzales, CEO of Madison Memorial. “At Madison Memorial, we're not too proud to say that we need some help."
Under the agreement, both hospitals will share expertise and equipment, meaning Madison Memorial patients with rare conditions will have access to the right specialists and treatment plans.
Last month, 23-year-old BYU-Idaho student Bryan Fox was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer. Essentially, he had a tumor in his collarbone.
"Normal primary practice physicians could not determine what it is,” said Fox.
Fox said he's already benefited from the hospitals working together. As soon as Madison Memorial realized he had the tumor, they sent him straight to Utah where he received revolutionary care.
"That's a very expensive technology that requires highly-trained individuals to administer and it requires a critical mass of patients every year,” said Dr. Sean Mulvihill with the University of Utah Medical Group.
Going forward, patients with tumors will be able to get much of their treatment locally, and only travel to Utah for specialized treatments.
"That's a short treatment just over a one or two-day period of time, and then return to their local community for follow-up care,” said Mulvihill.
Fox's wife, Maurien Larson, said the couple could do without the constant road trips.
"We're both in school so having to travel down to Utah means taking off of classes, trying to work with teachers or even not going for a semester,” Larson said.
Both hospitals will continue to be run separately under this agreement.