Rep. Paul Ray questions Intermountain ICU beds reaching capacity
Editorial note: It became clear early Thursday there was a serious problem with KSL NewsRadio’s online story on Rep. Ray. The reporter who worked on this story for broadcast Wednesday did obtain the audio and report the details of the story independently. However, a digital producer who published the story online appears to have plagiarized portions of the version posted by the Salt Lake Tribune. It was a clear violation of KSL’s standards and ethics and the matter has been addressed with the seriousness it deserves. Our updated story includes only KSL’s original on-air reporting. We apologize to the Tribune and remain committed to good journalism, ethically sourced and reported.
SALT LAKE CITY — A state lawmaker, while encouraging vaccines as a method to prevent the spread of COVID-19, suggested Intermountain’s business practices, not the unvaccinated, should bear the blame for crowded ICU beds in Utah hospitals.
During an interim legislative committee hearing on Wednesday exploring how to fight the president’s vaccine mandate for businesses with more than 100 employees, Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, issued a sharp condemnation of Intermountain.
“IHC says they’re out of space. They’re not out of space, they’re out of employees,” Ray said at a Health and Human Services Committee hearing on Utah’s Capitol Hill. “They chased their doctors away. They chased their nurses away. They made it hell for their employees.”
Ray asserted Intermountain’s changing business model, not the pandemic or unvaccinated Utahns, should bear the blame for overcrowded ICU beds. As to reports of Primary Children’s Hospital reaching capacity for ICU beds, he suggested other illnesses filled the unit.
“They had two COVID patients. The rest were trauma and RSV,” he claimed. “Let’s get some honesty here.”
In an email statement, a spokesman for Intermountain Healthcare disputed Ray’s claims. Jess Gomez wrote:
This characterization is not accurate. All health systems in Utah and nationally have been deeply impacted by the COVID pandemic and the ongoing surge of new cases and hospitalizations caused by community transmission of the delta variant. Intermountain Healthcare also continues to experience very high patient volumes for COVID and non-COVID patient care. Our caregivers and leaders are working extremely hard to provide the best care possible during this extraordinary time.
You can listen to the full committee hearing here.
Utah reported 570 state residents in the hospital on Wednesday as the result of COVID-19.
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