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'We must be relentless ...'

I joined St. Luke’s in August of 1987.
By Dr. David C. Pate, News and Community
July 16, 2012

I’ve asked St. Luke’s Health System Chief Operating Officer Gary Fletcher to share his experience and thoughts about how we've evolved and what challenges we face going forward. His perspective is presented here. I’ve introduced Gary in a previous post, and you’ll be hearing more from him and other members of our executive team as our journey of transformation continues.

I’d worked in a large academic center and a small community hospital, and I was attracted to the mission of St. Luke’s, its provision of tertiary care serving the region and open access, and its very deliberate response to the needs of communities being served. I could see the collaborative spirit, the strong commitment, and the compassionate care, which was so apparent.

Since that time, St. Luke’s has changed in size, complexity, and scope of services. Hugely significant have been the formation of St. Luke’s Health System in 2006 with the addition of St. Luke’s Magic Valley, and the tremendous number of physicians that have joined through St. Luke’s clinics.

I am proud that, even though some things have changed tremendously, we have maintained the focus on good staff and compassionate care, and above all, doing the right things.

We have brought services to people in Meridian, Fruitland, Eagle, and most recently, Nampa, with the opening of the Nampa Emergency Department. We have been deliberate and steadfast in developing needed services and facilities, like St. Luke’s Children’s.

And I’m proud that we have been asked to partner with communities and physicians in caring for patients in Wood River, McCall, Jerome, and now, Mountain Home.

The relationships we have worked hard to develop with physicians and other providers, who have come together with us to collaborate in providing the highest quality and most efficient care for our patients, are also something I’m very proud of.

I think we are very well positioned for the future as long as we execute on clinical integration to coordinate care across the region, eliminate waste, streamline operations, and maximize our efforts toward patient-centered, team-based care. This is the course we must steer for a sustainable future, and we’ve made a very strong start. 

To these ends, I am working with our operational and physician leaders to be sure we are focused on our agreed-upon operational, financial, quality, safety, and service targets. If we don’t hit our targets, we won’t have the resources to invest in people, facilities, equipment, and services to continue our improvement.

Clinically integrated, coordinated care across the organization will improve performance, reduce variation, eliminate duplication, and provide seamless service with the patient at the center. This approach requires productive working relationships among all of our leaders and physicians at all of our sites and among all our medical executive committees and clinical leadership councils.

We know that we need to focus all of our efforts to transform St. Luke’s into the organization and delivery system it can be, driven by the Triple Aim, motivated by better health, higher quality, and lower cost, so that we are here to serve the people of the region in the future.

And we must be relentless in building the infrastructure, information, and coordinated care that ensure that we provide safe care, doing no harm to patients as they come to us in need.

 

About The Author

David C. Pate, M.D., J.D., is president and CEO of St. Luke's Health System, based in Boise, Idaho. Dr. Pate joined the System in 2009. He received his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center.