St. Luke CEO has
head for business, an ear for staff
Jensen hired as
new chief executive officer
Express Staff Writer
nurses at St. Lukeís Wood River Medical Center were making pre-dawn
rounds while patients slept, one of them encountered Bruce Jensen, who
extended his hand and introduced himself in his signature gentle voice,
chatted briefly, then moved on.
of Medical Imaging, Dr. Tom Broderick, left, shows off a test
shoulder detail to new hospital CEO Bruce Jensen, as MRI technician Phil
OíDriscoll displays the images on the screen. Express photo by
St. Lukeís tell of the same type of encounters with Jensen, 46, who
was officially named this week as the new chief executive officer of the
firm handshake, an easy smile and an interest in absorbing what staffers
say, Jensenís style could be described as affable
isnít unexpected or unusual for Jensen. When he first came to the
hospital in February as interim administrator, succeeding Jon Moses, his
reputation as a popular CEO at Holy Rosary Medical Center in Ontario,
Ore., preceded him through the hospital industry grapevine.
were heartbroken he might leave," one St. Lukeís staffer
remembers hearing about Jensen, a Pocatello native with 18 years in
permanently over more than 70 other candidates for the St. Lukeís
post, Jensen has set about to introduce himself to every person on the
250-member staff, get acquainted with the community, evaluate the
hospitalís progress and chart directions for the future of a
significant valley employer and economic force. His wife, Sonya, and
four children, ages 14 to 22, will join him soon.
presides over a modern 32-bed facility that cost $32 million, some $18
million of which was donated by Wood River Valley residents. St. Lukeís
opened for business 19 months ago.
ivory tower administrator, by any means. He began his career in hospital
housekeeping, and therefore has a bottom-to-top personal insight into
how an efficient hospital operates. His credentials are solid: a
Bachelor of Arts degree from Brigham Young University, a Master of Arts
from Washington University School of Medicine.
settles into the job, Jensen sees expansion already under way: a new
suite costing more than $400,000 will house a new $1.6 million MRI
(Magnetic Resonance Imaging) system, whose first patient will be next
under construction adjoining the hospital is the new multi-story
physicians office building, with offices for 12 doctors. The proximity
of the offices to the hospital, Jensen says, will be a plus for the
physiciansí patients as well as for the hospital.
July, the St. Lukeís hospital system, based in Boise, will also be
served by Air St. Lukeís, a new helicopter service that can evacuate
patients requiring special emergency attention to Boise. The service
will compete with the LifeFlight air evac operated by Boise-based St.
Alphonsus Regional medical Center.
medical staff of 35 physicians, and that many more with privileges to
use facilities, St. Lukeís Wood River Medical Center is evolving into
a diversified health care facility.
primary care services include surgery, mammography, medical imaging, a
mother/baby birthing center, emergency services, orthopedics, urology,
obstetrics/gynecology, pediatrics, and dermatology.
service that seems to be part of a growing health care field, treating
sleep disorders, has found its way into the St. Lukeís menu of
plans to add ophthalmic services soon.
developing a set of goals aimed at providing good primary care, as well
as more specialties. But, with an eye to the costs of running a modern
hospital, Jensen says St. Lukeís will only add what is needed and can
be supported by patient volume.
to make certain that St. Lukeís has topnotch emergency response
services. And heíll be working with local physicians to make them more
aware of the hospitalís services for their patients, some of whom
might now be using hospitals in other cities. Jensen says the hospital
occupancy rate is about 42 percent.
future of health care, Jensen believes, is in more outpatient services.
Right now, Jensen says, 60 percent of the hospitalís revenues are for
outpatient services; 70 percent of all surgeries are outpatient.
agenda is a survey in the Wood River Valley to learn more about the
health care needs and preferences of residents.
the first things Jensen learned about the Wood River Valley was the
astonishing generosity of donors who more than matched St. Lukeís
capital investment in the hospital, and continue their philanthropy for
the hospitalís needs through the large St. Lukeís Foundation.
support has been thrown behind him in the early days of his work.
is astute in assessing the business challenges faced by small rural
hospitals," said Preston Strazza, chairman of the hospitalís
community board, "(and) possesses the ability to make hard
decisions while promoting the atmosphere of consensus building and team
final tribute to Jensen from a St. Lukeís medical staffer, who asked
not to be identified: she said Jensen is a regular runner to stay fit,
and therefore has a personal understanding of the importance of good
health, not merely a businessmanís eye for a hospital.