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Wednesday, February 19, 2020
New St. Luke’s CEO Calls St. Luke’s Wood River a Treasure
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Chris Roth now heads up St. Luke’s, which was founded in 1902.
 
Monday, February 10, 2020
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

Chris Roth, the new CEO and president of St. Luke’s Health System, has nothing but praise for St. Luke’s Wood River.

And the hospital added a new reason for that praise this week, as it was just recognized by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services as a five-star organization.

“That’s their highest rating. And that’s amazing because less than 10 percent of all hospitals in the country secure that rating. It shows the dedication of the medical staff and the talent your community has been able to attract,” he said.

Roth, a longtime executive with St. Luke’s took over Idaho’s leading health-care organization on Feb. 1. He succeeded Dr. David C. Pate, who retired at the end of January after serving as president and CEO for more than 10 years.

Roth now commands Idaho’s largest private employer with 14,830 employees at eight hospitals, St. Luke’s Children’s, a nationally recognized cancer center, more than 200 clinics throughout southern Idaho and eastern Oregon and the region’s first virtual care center.

He has more than 30 years’ experience in health care, starting as a pharmacy technician with Intermountain Health and including leadership positions with Northwest Hospital & Medical Center in Seattle and Ochsner Health System in New Orleans. He joined St. Luke’s in 2007 when the organization had just transitioned to a health system and has served as chief executive officer of the Treasure Valley region and senior vice president and chief operating officer.

He has led the Boise downtown hospital, guided the development of St. Luke’s Boise master campus plan and helped architect the integration of such clinics and hospitals as St. Luke’s Elmore and St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Hospital.

Growing up in Logan, Utah, he first came to Sun Valley as a 14-year-old old when his father attended a fraternity reunion.

“The entire Wood River community is amazing,” he said. “I love the community and I particularly enjoy fishing the Big Wood River.”

Roth said St. Luke’s Wood River is a treasure among destination resort communities across the country, thanks to the investment the community has made in the hospital. That includes a deep and long focus  on community health and solving the biggest challenges, whether addiction, mental health or housing, he said. The hospital has enjoyed great progress in expanding pediatrics, orthopedics and primary care emergency services, he added.

“It’s a very, very unique health care organization. It is beyond what a critical access hospital typically offers with a breadth and depth of services that make it a destination center. People who come to visit the area are more and more comfortable receiving care if they need it rather than leaving. People generally want to receive healthcare closest to home, and more and more St. Luke’s Wood River is able to provide services where they don’t have to leave to get those services.”

Roth said he is humbled to be heading up St. Luke’s Health Systems.

“I’m certainly excited and a little bit anxious—it’s a lot of responsibility and I’m very aware that I set the tone for the organization. But we have such a great team across Idaho. Together we’re very strong and I’m fortunate to be leading an organization that has had such success over the years.”

St. Luke’s is unique in that it’s situated in a geographically isolated area, the closest other large cities being Portland, Seattle and Salt Lake City, Roth said.

“St. Luke’s as a health system is pretty condensed. We are, of course, spread out around southern Idaho. But relative to other health systems we’re focused on a defined region and we know who our communities are. As a result, we’re able to work together more effectively than other health systems that might be across the whole country serving communities that are very different from one another.”

One of St. Luke’s biggest assets is its people, who are “incredibly caring,” Roth said.

The hospital’s biggest challenges include improving affordability through its transition from fee-for-service to value-based care and access to services.

“We have a very, very strong reputation nationally as a quality leader,” he said, referring to St. Luke’s ranking among the top health systems in the nation. “Now, we’re focusing on those other areas.”

St. Luke’s is making inroads on the latter, having recently opened up the region’s first virtual care center, which allows doctors and other caregivers to provide direct patient care in emergency rooms and other clinics via computers.

St. Luke’s also is providing home care or access to services in settings that are most cost effective and reflective of where patients want to receive care, he said.

St. Luke’s just automated its microbiology function, which improves the speed by which it gets lab tests to patients and physicians.

And the days of fax machines and waiting on phones are coming to an end, thanks to hospitals’ increase ability to offer medical records on home computer and phones utilizing text messaging and different forms of communication, he said.

And it’s experimenting with different modes of communication, including the Amazon Alexis. The device can listen to a conversation, perhaps capturing patient information for medical records.

“It’s very, very early on. But it’s one way of examining technology we use on an everyday basis and applying it to healthcare. We just need to be smart about it and make sure it’s the right thing to do and that it protects patients’ privacy,” he said.

CHRIS ROTH NAMES NEW LEADERS

Pam Lindemoen has been appointed St. Luke’s chief operating officer. She joined St. Luke’s in 2018, coming from Dignity Health St. Mary’s Medical Center in San Francisco where she was president and chief executive officer. Before that she was regional vice president for Kaiser Permanente’s Northern California Region, leading 22 medical centers with 25,000 staff members serving 3.5 million health plan members.

Dave Self, chief administrative officer for St. Luke’s Health Partners, has been named St. Luke’s Health System’s chief administrative officer. He will oversee strategy and planning, communications, marketing and community health, external relations, enterprise business development and sales.

Self joined St. Luke’s in 2014. Before that he served as senior vice president and regional director of Idaho for PacificSource Health Plans. He has helped St. Luke’s shift to value-based contracting.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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