Amid a restructuring effort, St. Luke’s Health System is eliminating the role of hospital administrator—its top local officer—at hospitals across its network, including St. Luke’s Wood River Medical Center.

    St. Luke’s will cut the position at facilities outside its flagship Boise hospital, where the administration will be consolidated but not cut due to “the size and complexity” of the facility, hospital officials said. Locally, it operates medical facilities in Ketchum, Twin Falls and Jerome.

    With administrators out, chief nursing officers will add chief operations officer to their title. Here, that means head nurse Carmen Jacobsen will take over for outgoing Administrator Cody Langbehn. Langbehn has been Wood River’s chief executive since 2012.

    The restructuring also comes with layoffs. According to St. Luke’s Wood River spokeswoman Joy Prudek, the hospital expects to cut around 1 percent of its roughly 14,000 employees system-wide.

    “Implementing our new structure will bring with it change,” Prudek told the Idaho Mountain Express in an email Monday evening. “While most of the change will be positive, there will be some impact to employees—new roles have been created, some roles will be consolidated, some will be expanded, some will transition into new reporting structures and some will be eliminated.

    “As with any change, it’s important that we share these details first with our employees, which is what we’ve done today/over the past few days.”

    Langbehn “will be determining whether there are other positions within St. Luke’s that are a right fit for him, or if he will pursue other opportunities,” Prudek said.

    Meanwhile, Jacobsen will report to the newly minted “population health vice presidents,” including the previous St. Luke’s Magic Valley Administrator Mike Fenello. Fenello is on tour explaining the changes to local hospitals and media outlets as the network rolls out its new structure.

    The change is part of St. Luke’s years-long transition from a traditional “fee-for-service” rubric, in which it charges for discrete visits and treatments, to a so-called “population health” model—one that keeps more patients in the St. Luke’s network, and makes the hospital responsible for wider-ranging aspects of a patient’s health.  

    Population health vice presidents, who will span multiple medical centers within their defined “population health area,” will work with CNO/COOs such as Jacobsen to put that strategy in place. The goal, Prudek said, is better care at a lower cost.

    “We are working with leaders and employees throughout the organization to ensure a smooth implementation process,” Prudek said. “Without question, patients can continue to expect the same exceptional care they can depend on from St. Luke’s, without interruption.”

    Prudek said Fenello would further discuss impacts to St. Luke’s Wood River during a media briefing Wednesday at the hospital. For more on the changes at St. Luke’s Wood River, see the Friday edition of the Idaho Mountain Express.

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