Wednesday, October 31, 2012

St. Luke’s emergency department wins award

Patient surveys say service is ‘five star’

Express Staff Writer

Dr. Deborah Robertson, the emergency department’s medical director, left, and paramedic Annie Leady discuss hospital employee Jenny King’s medical history in the emergency room at St. Luke’s Wood River. Photo by Willy Cook

    Based on patient surveys, the St. Luke’s Wood River emergency department is top of the line, especially for a rural hospital.
    The department recently won several awards from Avatar International, a Lake Mary, Fla.,-based consulting firm that helps hospitals measure and improve patient satisfaction. The awards included Five Star Service, Overall Best Performer, Bronze Innovation and Exceeding Patient Expectations.
    St. Luke’s spokeswoman Jenny King said Avatar International gives Five Star Service awards only to facilities with the highest score for a particular patient type in Avatar’s national database of more than 400 hospitals. She said Avatar gives the award in five categories: inpatient, outpatient, ambulatory surgery, home health, physician office and emergency.
    “St. Luke’s Wood River’s emergency department was the only emergency department in the country to receive a Five Star Service award this year,” said Megan Thomas, director of St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation.
    Dr. Deborah Robertson, the emergency department’s medical director, said her department offers “urban level” care in a rural hospital.
    “One of the reasons our department can provide that level of service is because our department runs on a deficit of $650,000 per year,” she said. “The hospital administration says the shortfall is worth superior emergency care.”
    Robertson said the department’s goal is to eventually raise an emergency medical services endowment of about $10 million through the St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation. She said the interest from such an endowment would cover the shortfall “in perpetuity.”
    Robertson said she felt lucky to be able to provide first-class emergency care to a community as small as that of the Wood River Valley.
    “We have state-of-the-art equipment here,” she said.
    Robertson said the department’s “coolest toys” include very high-end bedside ultrasounds and a “Glide Scope.”
    “You can put the Glide Scope down someone’s mouth and see their vocal chords,” she said.
    Robertson said tools such as those are becoming standard in urban emergency rooms, but only a fraction of rural emergency rooms have them.
    Robertson said St. Luke’s Wood River has a “disproportionately large” emergency department compared to the size of the hospital, resulting in shorter waiting times for patients than they would experience in a city.
    “The waiting room is the smallest part of our emergency department. That’s usually not the case,” she said.
    Robertson said the department has 10 beds, but rarely reaches capacity. She said the department sees about 7,000 patients per year.
    “Our busiest time of the year is the month of August, followed closely by the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day,” she said.
    However, Robertson said her department is ready year-round for the unknown.
    “If and when ‘it’ does happen, we are a well-oiled machine,” she said.

About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads

 Local Weather 
Search archives:

Copyright © 2020 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.