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Dr. Pate’s Prescription for Change

St. Luke’s Health System’s Journey to Transform Health Care

Happy anniversary, St. Luke’s Health System!

By Dr. David C. Pate, News and Community
June 25, 2019

Wow! Thirteen years. That is still very young as far as health systems go. And I have had the privilege to be the CEO of this health system for almost 10 of those years.

Ed Dahlberg was my predecessor and had the insight and vision to create a health system. At the time I arrived on the scene on Aug. 31, 2009, the Affordable Care Act was being formulated and debated, and we had begun our discussions with McCall Memorial Hospital about joining the health system.

Since then, we have added St. Luke’s McCall, St. Luke’s Jerome, St. Luke’s Elmore and St. Luke’s Rehabilitation to our health system. We also have dramatically increased the numbers of physicians and advance practice providers with St. Luke’s Clinic.

In 2014, St. Luke’s Health System was named one of the Top 15 Health Systems in the country for quality and safety, a distinction we have maintained now for six years in a row.

In 2016, we implemented myStLuke’s, a single electronic health record across our health system.

In 2017, we began our transformation from fee for service to value by placing 34 percent of our revenue at risk for the outcomes and cost of care. Based upon the number of members we care for under risk arrangements, today we would be the second-largest insurance company in Idaho if we were an insurance company.

There are some other health systems out there that are national quality leaders, and a few health systems that have jumped as deeply into value-based arrangements as we have, fewer if you exclude those systems that own their own insurance company.

But I am hard pressed to name another health system that has become both a national quality leader and one of the most progressive health systems in the transformation of the business model to value.

In all of the country, it happened here in Idaho. When it comes to leading health systems in the country, the eyes of the country are upon us. What an incredible journey we have been on for 13 years. And we have so much more to do.

But before concentrating on the road ahead of us, I’m celebrating our 13th anniversary and the gift we have provided to Idaho in becoming a national quality leader and a leader in the transformation of health care.

It is because of our amazing physicians, employees, leaders, board members and volunteers that we have been able to accomplish all of this. With all of my heart, I want to thank each and every member of the St. Luke’s team for all you have done to contribute to our success and to serve the people of Idaho.

About The Author

David C. Pate, M.D., J.D., previously served as president and CEO of St. Luke's Health System, based in Boise, Idaho. Dr. Pate joined the System in 2009 and retired in 2020. He received his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center.