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Why I am Working to Transform Health Care

By Dr. David C. Pate, News and Community
May 3, 2013


WARNING: Unbelievably cute picture alert!

Those who know me know that my work is more than a job; I am driven to fix what is wrong with health care.

I am going to show you three of the reasons for my passion and sense of urgency.

Last weekend, I had the privilege of being the chair for the Boise March for Babies walk and the team captain for the St. Luke’s MaxWell Moose Marchers. 

My two daughters joined me for this important event and the walk. To the right you see my older daughter in the foreground (She was due to deliver the day of the walk! What a trouper!) and my youngest daughter to her left pushing the stroller with my twin grandsons, who are 3 months old. 

Well, Presley was born Tuesday, April 30, at 1:56 a.m., and weighed 8 lbs. 13.5 oz. 

Here she is, two days later.

 And here is a picture of Presley and her two cousins That is David on the left, Presley in the middle, and David’s twin brother, Jax, on the right. 

 These grandkids are three very important reasons I am working so hard to transform health care. There was a time when both of my daughters went without health insurance, between jobs, and it was frightening for me, knowing all that could go wrong. 

My daughters can afford insurance only because their employers offered it. Even then, they have both had medical bills they could not afford to pay.  

I don’t want my grandchildren to ever go without insurance, not be able to afford health insurance, or put off care because they can’t afford it. 

My entire team is working very hard to make sure that we find ways to lower health care costs and make it affordable for all Idahoans. 

I want more for my grandchildren. I want them to have great health. Right now, health care providers spend their time improving the health of sick and injured patients, because that is how the current reimbursement system works. I want a health care system that works to keep my grandchildren healthy through education, prevention, screenings, and wellness programs.   

God forbid they become patients, I want to know that their health information will be available to every provider involved in their care. I want their parents to be able to access their health records online, and to be free to email their physician and not be reluctant to ask a question because they don’t want to call and bother the physician.

I want their care to be coordinated among all the caregivers and I want to know that someone will continue to manage their care even between visits or after a hospital discharge. 

This is what we are working toward at St. Luke’s. We have accomplished some of these things, but we still have a long ways to go.

But, I can tell you this for sure. I wake up thinking about these grandkids every day. And the next thing I start thinking about is what more can we do to fix health care and accelerate the change.


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.