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St. Luke's Blogs

Thoughts on the Trial

By Dr. David C. Pate, News and Community
November 7, 2013

The witnesses have testified, the lawyers have filed their briefs and made their arguments, and now we await the judge’s decision. 

I thought I would share with you some of my thoughts about the trial.

While I am always proud of St. Luke’s, I have never been prouder than when listening to St. Luke’s executives, physician leaders, a board member, our colleagues at Saltzer, and our experts tell our story and explain how St. Luke’s is leading healthcare transformation here in Idaho.

I was incredibly proud of all of our witnesses, but probably my favorite part was when Dr. Brian Fortuin, an internal medicine specialist, took the stand and showed the court how we are making progress toward our Triple Aim of better health, better care, and lower costs through our partnership with WhiteCloud Analytics and the development of scorecards that are letting us track our performance and progress. 

Together with WhiteCloud, we have developed actionable data, delivered directly to physicians in a new way that has already resulted in driving quality and experience improvements, and Dr. Fortuin provided the court with several examples. 

It was also particularly gratifying to listen to the testimony of Pat Richards, chief executive officer of SelectHealth, our insurance company partner from Utah.

She testified about how aligned we are in vision, strategy, and commitment to working together for the benefit of Idahoans, the working relationship that is necessary to make care better, more efficient and more affordable, and why St. Luke’s is the right partner for SelectHealth. 

Skip Oppenheimer, a St. Luke’s Health System board member, testified to the significant increase in premiums that his company’s insurance company had proposed until SelectHealth entered the bidding, and how employers are already seeing reductions in premiums from our partnership with SelectHealth. 

I want the entire St. Luke’s family to know how proud I am of all everyone is doing to transform health care. This lawsuit does not define us.

At the end of the day, the proof of our success will be the documented better health of those communities we are privileged to serve, demonstrated improved care coordination and outcomes, and ultimately, reduced costs, when Idahoans who select St. Luke’s for their health care notice that not only did their insurance premiums not increase at the same rate as in the past, but actually decreased from the prior year.

The recent court activity has given us more opportunities than ever to share our story and explain the journey we are on. It has served to unite our leadership, our boards, our employees, and our communities even more. And the communities St. Luke’s is privileged to serve are coming to our support, with philanthropy increasing nearly 40 percent over the prior year! Employee giving also has reached new heights, with a 37 percent increase in the number of employees donating to support St. Luke’s transformation efforts. That’s quite a vote of confidence! 

We will continue to transform health care, because that is what Idahoans deserve and what employers are asking for. Idahoans are counting on us. We won’t let them down.

For our daily trial reports, click here. For news coverage and to read the court documents click here.

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.