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St. Luke’s Health System and SelectHealth Innovate with Breakthrough Strategic Alliance

By Dr. David C. Pate, News and Community
September 4, 2012


St. Luke’s Health System will transform healthcare by aligning with physicians and other providers to deliver integrated, seamless, and patient-centered quality care across all St. Luke’s settings.

That’s St. Luke’s vision, and today, I’m excited to share news of a significant milestone in attainment of our vision and our Triple Aim: better health, better care, and lower cost.

We’ve got an innovative new partner in SelectHealth, an insurance company based in Utah that shares our vision and our values, and has pledged to work with us toward achieving those much-needed goals.

SelectHealth, a Salt Lake City-based not-for-profit health insurance company that serves more than 500,000 members in Utah and southern Idaho, is committed to helping its members stay healthy, offering superior service, and facilitating access to high-quality care. We believe our new relationship will help us align incentives for participating health care providers and their patients, and will help SelectHealth and its members achieve long-term improvements in health.

SelectHealth is a subsidiary of Intermountain Healthcare, and while I’m aware of rumors that we’re merging with Intermountain Healthcare, I can assure you that this is not true. Our alliance is one of collaboration with SelectHealth, an insurance company that has been a part of a provider organization for decades, and is not a merger of the two health systems or any other parts of our organizations.

Our new alliance combines St. Luke’s quality with SelectHealth’s core competencies and expertise in supporting an integrated health care delivery system, and will be supported by BrightPath, an extensive network of St. Luke’s physicians and facilities and independent physicians and facilities.

Here’s why this is so important: As regular readers of my blog know, the transformation of health care delivery calls for a completely different business model. Many insurance models only reward, and therefore health care providers have only focused on, improving the health of people who are already sick. Most efforts at wellness, health promotion, fitness, screenings, and preventative services have been poorly reimbursed, or not paid for at all, under many health plans. The current system promotes fragmentation of care, and there is currently little incentive for providers and payors to spend the extra time and effort to work together to coordinate care, ensure patients get the proper follow-up, and try to prevent the use of unnecessary or low-value services.

That’s where SelectHealth comes in. St. Luke’s alliance with SelectHealth is built upon trust, a commitment to collaboration and data-sharing, having each party perform the services they are best suited to perform without duplicating those same services, and by paying the insurance company for the services they perform and providing financial support to health care providers to invest in better health and to reward providers for eliminating low-value to no-value services according to evidence-based medicine.

That’s a completely new and different paradigm. It’s breakthrough thinking and a breakthrough relationship, and why I’m so inspired by this new alliance.

It will take time to implement the necessary changes and to achieve the benefits and savings we are striving to return to SelectHealth members, but we are starting today.

And while we’re thrilled that this new relationship offers a very tangible and powerful opportunity to bend the cost curve and improve the health of the people we serve, we greatly value our current relationships with all the other insurance companies with which we do business. For example, we recently announced a new collaboration with Regence BlueShield of Idaho to improve the health of patients and their care experience by better coordinating their care within the health delivery system. In this new delivery model, physicians and nurses work closely with patients who have multiple health conditions to engage them more in their treatment plans, promote lifestyle adjustments, and improve their overall health. By delivering highly-personalized and coordinated care, the program aims to avoid unnecessary duplication and reduce overall costs.

Our new and innovative relationship with SelectHealth likewise may pave the way for other insurance companies to work with St. Luke’s via new models, and we’re keeping the door open and the conversation going to see what additional collaborations may be possible.

This is a very exciting day for St. Luke’s Health System and SelectHealth as we launch this new innovative alliance. Just as we set out to do in March of 2010, we are transforming health care! Congratulations to all! Click here to read more about the partnership.


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.