St. Luke's Health System Spotlight
Big ideas grow in the Boise Valley.
In 2006, Dr. Avery Seifert had a vision to build and establish a unique team of medical experts in urology. Each member of the elite team would have a specific area of concentration – no small feat when considering how narrow the field of urology actually is. Over the next several years, Dr. Seifert and others worked to assemble a team from various metros across the country – from the East Coast (Charlotte, NC and Washington, DC) to the West Coast (San Diego), and in between (Provo, UT and Atlanta, GA).
While many large academic centers may have five to seven urologists on staff, St. Luke's Health System now has an established team of 14 urologists, five of whom are fellowship trained. Big ideas truly do grow here. With specialties that cover virtually every aspect of urology, Dr. Robert Jackson explains, "It's not often you can find a medium sized metro like the Boise Valley that offers the level of care and specialties we have available here."
The Treasure Valley is becoming a competitive landscape in medicine. St. Luke's Boise is one of two major regional medical centers in the valley, and part of the only Idaho-based, not-for-profit health system. Nationally recognized as one of the top hospitals in the United States, St. Luke's provides a wide range of specialties. Dr. Brian Auge explains, "St. Luke's is an employee-based practice. The benefit that comes with that is not having to worry about the business of medicine; you don’t need to know how to run a business. You can focus on patient care. St. Luke's takes care of the physicians. For the most part, we have access to the equipment that we need and want.”
Robotics/laparoscopic technology is just one example of the type of technically specialized equipment that St. Luke’s makes available for their staff and patients. At St. Luke’s, Dr. Stephen Brassell and Dr. Auge have the experience and expertise to use this technology the way it was meant to be used. “We are able to perform a surgery that might be done open, in other places, because people don't have the experience with the robot. That is what makes us unique,” Dr. Jackson says. “The technology doesn't matter if you don't know how to use it.” Patients are able to heal more quickly and resume activity faster as robotic/laparoscopic surgery is less invasive.
The team Dr. Seifert dreamed of continues to grow. While the demand for their skills and expertise increases, the lifestyle and ease of being here make it worthwhile. “The stress level in Boise is lower,” says Dr. Jackson. “People get the idea of going home to spend time with their families." Dr. Auge adds, “Here we have the opportunity to work on complex cases and have an impact on the community. We can enjoy a balanced life. It doesn’t take a day to plan an activity. Here you just think and go.”
Think and go. Big ideas do grow here – in all industries, in all walks of life.
Dr. Jackson, a Utah native, finished residency and fellowship in Michigan and considered Seattle, Idaho Falls, Spokane and Boise. "We just fell in love with Boise,” he says. “We were walking through the downtown after being here for a day, and my wife looked at me and said ‘This is home; this is where I want to move.’” When Dr. Jackson had the opportunity to go back to Utah for a position, he turned it down. "I like the people here. I want to go to work every day being happy. The people I’ve met up here are the kind of people I want to work with."
Dr. Jackson emphasizes that Boise is unique because "The people who work here, from the physicians to the nurses, genuinely care about patients. It surprised me how hard the nurses work to take care of the patients. Everybody here has been so enthusiastic to do whatever it is a patient needs." Dr. Brassell agrees. "The quality of the workforce is high. People are willing to extend their efforts above and beyond what their job description is, and they always do so with a smile.”
Dr. Auge retired from the Navy and moved to Boise from San Diego. Outside of practicing medicine, he enjoys playing golf, going to restaurants, skiing and enjoying other cultural opportunities like the Idaho Shakespeare Festival. As he explains, "Boise has all the amenities of a big city in a small town."
Dr. Maggie Vuturo moved to Boise from Los Angeles right after her fellowship. She interviewed in 10 cities before visiting Boise for an interview. She and her husband knew immediately they’d found the right place to raise their young children. They chose Boise on the spot and never looked back. “We love the mix of Boise's small vibrant downtown and the abundance of outdoor recreation,” Dr. Vuturo says. “Most weekends we’re camping in the summer and skiing in the winter.”
St. Luke's and the Team Approach
The Treasure Valley is able to support a strong team of physicians because of collaboration. St. Luke’s has built a strong team, across many specialties and concentrations, focused on providing the best care possible. Patients come first. As Dr. Michelle Ebbers explains, "There is less ego involved here than other places I've worked. Everyone works together to provide the best care.”
Dr. Ebbers continues, "One of the great things about Boise is that the patients are so happy there is someone here to take care of them. It’s great to feel like you’re part of a community."
The teamwork and collaborative approach to medicine offers a better outcome for patients, results in lower complication rates, and provides a more personal approach for each patient’s care. The diversity of the expertise means St. Luke’s can take care of complex patients. “Patients don't need to be sent to a big university, because we are essentially a university team,” Dr. Auge says. “We have a lot of experience in what we do and can handle those situations."
Dr. Vuturo enjoys the teamwork approach to care. “If I have a patient I feel will be best served by the specialized skills of one of my partners, together we make sure the patient gets the best expert we have to serve their needs.”