October 29, 2009

Hospital CEOs

The new CEOs of Idaho's two largest regional medical centers discuss, among other subjects, the ongoing debate over health care reform.

Host Marcia Franklin talks with Sally Jeffcoat, who assumed the role of president and CEO of Saint Alphonsus in June, and Dr. David Pate, who took over as president and CEO of the St. Luke's Health System in September.

The two executives, appearing on television together for the first time, will discuss the many challenges facing the nation's health care system, including the current debate over national health insurance reform and the issues facing Congress as it wrestles with the issue of health care legislation.

In July of this year, the American Hospital Association, the Catholic Health Association and the Federation of American Hospitals agreed to accept $155 billion in cuts in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement over 10 years if, among other things, Congress passes a health care reform package that assumes coverage of 94 percent of American residents and sets tougher limits on access to Medicare by physician-owned hospitals.

Congress is trying to reconcile the House and Senate versions of health care reform and it remains to be seen whether hospitals will support the final bill.

Jeffcoat and Pate will also share their thoughts on subjects closer to home as they discuss some of the challenges of providing quality health care to a growing region and the goals and objectives they have for the development of their respective regional medical centers.

With more than 7,600 workers, St. Luke's Health System is now Idaho's largest private employer. It operates hospitals in Boise, Meridian, Ketchum and Twin Falls, as well as the Mountain States Tumor Institute, a Children's Hospital, primary care centers and an urgent care facility in Eagle.

Saint Alphonsus employs approximately 3,500 people. In addition to its Boise hospital, it operates 17 clinics, four Express Care clinics, primary care centers and two urgent care facilities. Its parent company, Trinity Health of Novi, Mich., has announced its intent to purchase Mercy Medical Center in Nampa, Holy Rosary Medical Center in Ontario, Ore., and St. Elizabeth Health Services in Baker City, Ore.

Before joining Saint Alphonsus, Jeffcoat was executive vice president and chief operations officer of health care operations for St. Louis-based Ascension Health; before that she was president and CEO of Ascension's Carondelet Health Network in Tucson, Ariz.

In 1995, after a career as a general internal medicine specialist, Dr. Pate turned his interests to hospital administration. Prior to joining St. Luke's he was senior vice president of St. Luke's Episcopal Health System in Houston, which is not affiliated with the Boise St. Luke's.