St. Luke's Aims to Improve Health Care


By Aimee Burnett

Twin Falls, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV ) Health care in America is more expensive than anywhere else in the world.

The U.S. health care system accounts for 17% of the gross domestic product and is expected to rise to nearly 20% by 2020.

That's according to government data from National Health Care Expenditure Projections, 2010-2020.

A local health care system is trying to change that.

The St. Luke's Health Care System is using the Triple Aim Initiative to improve health care in our community.

Better care for individuals, better health for populations and all at a lower cost.

That's the goal of the Triple Aim Initiative.

"There are still too many people that can't afford health insurance, so we've got to drive those costs down and that's the journey we're on," said Dr. David Pate, CEO/President, St. Luke’s Health System.

Idaho has the second lowest premiums in the country, but for St. Luke's that's not low enough.

The health care system believes two things need to happen.

First, eliminate low–value and no–value services.

"The Institute of Medicine estimates that amount of total cost in our American health care system is thirty percent. If we can eliminate that it will bring costs down,” said Dr. Pate.

Second, more emphasis on preventative care.

"At some point we've got to do something to help prevent or at least delay people becoming patients because once you become a patient it's too expensive," said Dr. Pate.

That's where initiatives like the St. Luke's YEAH program come in.

"These kind of programs that cost money on the front end to take better care of patients, but in the long run save the entire community quite a bit of money," said Dr. Steven Kohtz, St. Luke’s Family Physician.

Sponsored by a grant from Blue Cross of Idaho, it's designed to reduce childhood obesity.

"We want to make sure that cost is not going to keep us from helping kids change the trajectory of their life into a much healthier place," said Dr. Cohtz.

Changing from a volume–based health care system to a value–based system.

To learn more about what, why and how the system is doing things to make a change check out dr. pate's blog at: