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Archive for the ‘Recent Health News’ Category

Adult Flu Shot Clinic

Friday, September 11th, 2015

Saltzer Main Clinic

215 E. Hawaii Ave, Nampa



October 8th

8:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Medicare, Medicaid and Insurances will be Billed


Must be 19 or older

Statement by Dr. John Kaiser on Saltzer Medical Group’s Return to Private Practice

Monday, June 15th, 2015


Saltzer Medical Group has a 50-year tradition of caring for patients in the communities we serve and our work continues to be guided by two major objectives.


First, we are absolutely committed to our patients, their health and medical care.


Second, we are determined to maintain Saltzer as a strong, vital and economically viable health care organization that will continue to serve our patients and the community. Our physicians and employees are our greatest assets and they will be involved in all our plans and actions.


Saltzer has been working on its divestiture plan for over a year. We believe that our plan is the right plan for Saltzer and the communities we serve. We are optimistic the federal court will support our plan as we move forward. Our plan focuses on our strengths as an organization and we believe it positions us for future success in the marketplace.




Natalie Podgorski

Gallatin Public Affairs


Did you know?

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015


If you have access to the Patient Portal you can request a prescription refill, without having to call the office.

Why are Yearly Pap Smears No Longer Yearly?

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014
Andrea DiMichele, MD OB/GYN

Andrea DiMichele, MD

If you have been to your gynecologist recently for your yearly exam you may have been surprised to find that you may not need a Pap for another 3-5 years. For decades women had scheduled their annual gynecological exams with the expectation of having a Pap smear performed. We’re not able to take the Pap smears to the next level. Cervical cancer screening today includes not only the Pap smear but human papilloma virus (HPV) testing. To understand why this was done and how it works it’s best to get an understanding of the HPV virus.

In the 1980s, it was discovered that cervical cancer and the pre-cancerous cells that resulted in abnormal Pap smears, are due to a cervical infection from the Human papilloma virus (HPV). Further research was able to identify more that 100 HPV strains that can infect human epithelial cells. Approximately 40 of these viruses are specific to the tissue of the lower genital tract. This group can not be divided into both low risk and high risk types. It is this high risk group, consisting of 15 viruses, that is primarily responsible for cervical cancer and it’s precursors. It is for this reason that, after the age of 30, we not have the option to test specifically for these 15 high risk viruses. It is a combination of the information gathered from your Pap smear and the HPV result that helps physicians determine if an abnormality is present, if closer follow-up is needed, or if routine screening is sufficient.

Current guidelines recommend that all women without certain risk factors (i.e. HIV immunosuppression, DES exposure, prior precancerous cervical lesion or cervical cancer) between the age of 21 and 29 have a Pap test every 3 years. Women less than 21 years old no longer are required to have screening. Between the ages of 21 and 29, HPV co-testing is not recommended. Twenty percent of women in this age group have been found to carry the carcinogenic HPV types. Identifying these strains has lead to unnecessary testing and procedures, proven by the fact that most infections resolve spontaneously. (1) Women between the ages of 30 and 65 can be screened every 5 years with both. Pap smear and HPV co-testing, or every 3 years with Pap smear alone. Should any testing return abnormal your physician will discuss with you the next step in this evaluation.

American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology Screening Recommendations 2012

Andrea DiMichele, MD is an OB/GYN at Saltzer Medical Group. You can reach Dr. DiMichele at 463-3138

Pediatric Flu Vaccine Clinic

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Pediatric Flu Vaccine Clinic

Tuesday, September 23 – Thursday, September 25

5:00 PM – 6:30 PM

215 E. Hawaii Ave, Nampa

Please call 468-5930 to schedule an appointment

Adult Flu Vaccine Clinic

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Adult Flu Vaccine Clinic

Thursday, October 2, 2014

8:30 AM – 4:00 PM

215 E. Hawaii Ave, Nampa

Dr. Kurt Seppi on the Fundamentals of Population Health Management

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

The foundational requirements that I believe are necessary for successfully population health management are:

  • Strategy and cultural alignment
  • Integrated electronic health records
  • Enterprise data warehouse with clinical and financial data
  • Standardized workflows
  • Analytic capabilities
  • Aligned clinical and business incentives

Here’s what St. Luke’s is doing to address them:

Strategy and culture

Our strategy for transformation is to provide accountable care, but it’s been said that culture will eat strategy for lunch every time.

Cultural alignment and commitment to transformation among our internal stakeholders is the key to success. Here’s a link to our physician compact, which lays out expectations of St. Luke’s and aligned providers.

Integrated electronic health records

We have implemented integrated electronic health records in our outpatient settings. This has required a large financial commitment from our organization and a tremendous work effort from our providers and staff.  We should be very proud of the work that has been done with the goal of providing integrated, seamless and patient-centered care.

The next phase will be installing the system across the remainder of our locations and working to find ways to integrate information flow with other aligned providers.

Enterprise data warehouse

The enterprise data warehouse is necessary to aggregate clinical and financial data that can be used to guide and monitor care initiatives. The data also supports internal and external validation of performance and documentation for financial remuneration from programs like MSSP, meaningful use, and other gauges and reports. Our partnership with Whitecloud Analytics has been invaluable in making this warehouse a functional reality.

Standardized workflows

Standardized work flows through TEAMwork, based on lean principles, are our approach to the elimination of waste and irrational variation and are the key to developing processes that are efficient, effective, and reproducible.

By establishing shared baselines and protocols, we can identify best practices and take them to scale across our organization. Examples include standardized approaches to ambulatory workflows, medication reconciliation, and chronic disease management.

Analytic capabilities

Once we have identified a standardized process with a documented protocol, our data analytics department can assist in determining whether there is an outcome benefit. This is critical, because if we can’t measure outcomes, we can’t reliably improve processes.

Our clinical integration scorecards and population management module are industry-leading capabilities that put St. Luke’s in the forefront of healthcare transformation under the management of Dr. Geoff Swanson working with Whitecloud Analytics. They analyze large amounts of data that can be presented in actionable forms for performance improvement purposes.

Aligned clinical and business incentives

As we develop increasing proficiency in population management, it will be important that we have business model alignment with payers and other stakeholders.

SelectHealth was the first health plan to partner with us in an innovative value-based business model, and we now have risk-sharing relationships with other major payers, including Regence Blue Shield of Idaho and Blue Cross of Idaho.

A major benefit of risked-based contracts is access to financial and claims data, which is necessary for cost-efficient population management. These contractual arrangements are helping us learn the skill sets and competencies necessary to succeed in managing population-based budgets. And while they represent only a small portion of our patient population, we expect rapid growth in this area over the next few years.

Saltzer, St. Luke’s work to put patient first

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

This ran in the opinion section of the Idaho Press Tribune this week. Thank you Mr. Prange for allowing us to serve you and sharing your view. We love to hear from our patients. Please let us know how you think we are doing and how we can improve in the way we serve you and your family.

Posted: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 12:00 am

As a business owner, I believe in excellence. I also believe in competition. Quality from our competitors makes us better, it has to or our business will fall behind and no longer serve our customers and community like we should.

Because I look to provide quality services to all of my customers, I am always pleased when I find other organizations that have the same vision to provide excellence in all they do.

Saltzer Medical Group and St. Luke’s are organizations that have shown me through many years of medical care they strive to put the patient first in all situations.

As a long-time Saltzer patient, I have received nothing but exceptional care. I would venture to say that there is nowhere in the nation that I could receive better services than I have at Saltzer and St. Luke’s. The partnership with Saltzer and St. Luke’s makes the medical community stronger and even more patient-focused.

I often have ongoing health care concerns, and I appreciate Saltzer’s willingness to accommodate me by providing their services at the hospital that works best for me. Although I appreciate St. Luke’s, it is often more convenient for me to have procedures done at St. Alphonsus in Nampa.

I am thankful that Saltzer physicians work with both hospitals in an effort to best serve the needs of their patients.

In a perfect world, health care would be provided by physicians and hospitals that are more focused on providing the best quality care possible for the patient, regardless of hospital affiliation. However, knowing this world is not perfect, Saltzer and St. Luke’s are as close as I can get.

As I see it, Saltzer and St. Luke’s are the future of health care in this valley. They are setting the standard of excellence and are challenging others to live up to higher expectations.

* George Prange, Nampa

Appealing the Court Decision “…health care must change”

Friday, March 7th, 2014

St. Luke’s and Saltzer Medical Group will file a request for a stay pending appeal of the judge’s order to unwind the existing relationship between the two organizations.

This action, which was endorsed by the community-led board of directors for St. Luke’s Health System and the physician leadership of Saltzer Medical Group, allows the organizations to both pursue an appeal and explore a future relationship that is acceptable to the court.

The request for a stay pending appeal allows Saltzer Medical Group and St. Luke’s time to effectively look for ways to improve healthcare delivery without disrupting the Saltzer clinics and their patients.

Our request for a stay pending appeal recognizes, as the court has, that this case presents issues of both exceptional importance and substantial difficulty. All of us involved in this matter have appreciated the candid input and sage counsel we have received and we’re confident this is the right path forward for us and for the patients we serve.

Dr. John Kaiser, president of Saltzer Medical Group and a practicing ob/gyn physician, has been an eloquent and passionate voice in support of Saltzer’s patients throughout the process.

During the fall trial, Dr. Kaiser spoke of the value the relationship with St. Luke’s was bringing to the group’s patients, noting such benefits as improved ability to recruit needed clinicians, improved nursing and patient safety protocols, access to data analytics, and a variety of new services for patients. In the near future, it would have included a significantly more robust electronic health records system.

Because of the relationship, Dr. Kaiser said in court, the group was able to take care of patients it could not previously afford to treat.

The Saltzer’s group’s commitment to its patients and the residents of Canyon County is a commitment shared by our St. Luke’s board of community leaders.

“St. Luke’s is the partner we chose and St. Luke’s is still the partner we want to work with,” Dr. Kaiser said. “They have shown through this process that they are committed to the same ideals and values as we are.”

For St. Luke’s, relationships are important; that’s what our history, spanning more than 100 years, is based on. We will stand by our commitment to Saltzer Medical Group and the residents of Canyon County until we are able to have a positive resolution to this matter, either prevailing on appeal or identifying an alternative that allows Saltzer to remain healthy and continue to serve patients and the community in a positive way.

Our vision is based on a fundamental belief that health care must change. We remain committed to that vision – health care that ensures better outcomes for patients by rewarding providers for improving health and wellness and not just for treating illness.

We will continue to find constructive ways to inspire those positive changes. We owe it to the people of this region.

David C. Pate, M.D., J.D., is president and CEO of St. Luke’s Health System, based in Boise, Idaho. Dr. Pate joined the System in 2009. He received his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center.

Healthcare Delivery Needs Changing

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

John Kaiser, MD

Saltzer Medical Group has a long history of providing the best care possible for our patients. Dr. Joseph Saltzer started the group more than 50 years ago with the goal of bringing much-needed care to the residents of Canyon County, offering primary and specialty care and forging strong and lasting relationships with our friends, colleagues, and patients.
Our decision to seek an alignment strategy with St. Luke’s came out of the recognition that a close affiliation was the best way to achieve the changes we thought were necessary to address the future. The model of healthcare delivery we were engaged in has been fragmented and focused on the fee-for-service model of care that Judge B. Lynn Winmill, in his recent ruling, cited as being “the leading factor in increasing health care costs.” St. Luke’s has made significant strides in developing a model for the future to achieve the goals of better health, better care, and lower cost.
With the alignment, we started working with St. Luke’s on adopting this model. We believe health care must change. The movement across the entire country has been to find ways to improve care and reduce cost and is part of the law implemented through the Affordable Care Act.
In his written decision, Judge Winmill said that “St. Luke’s is to be applauded for its efforts to improve the delivery of health care in the Treasure Valley,” and that “The Acquisition was intended by St. Luke’s and Saltzer primarily to improve patient outcomes. The Court is convinced that it would have that effect if left intact.”
Judge Winmill also stated that changes in healthcare delivery must occur; we agree, and felt this was the best way to achieve these needed changes in our community.
Unfortunately, the decision will delay or possibly prevent us from being at the forefront of improving health care for our beloved patients in the Treasure Valley. Saltzer has always been dedicated to caring for our patients’ health and we have prided ourselves in placing our patients first. We have never been afraid of taking risks to provide that care.
We hope we can overcome this decision by the court and be a part of the changes we feel are necessary for the future, but we are concerned that the decision, if upheld in the appeals process, will require us to focus back on the fee-for-service business and will prevent us from continuing the expanded care we have been able to provide for the underinsured patient population with St. Luke’s support. This is unfortunate, because caring for patients in the lower-cost office environment is significantly better than seeing these patients in the expensive emergency room setting where they otherwise wind up.

Every member of our team wishes to thank all of our patients who allow us the privilege of providing care for them, and every member of their families. We pledge to continue to seek ways to provide the best care we can. Our hope is that our efforts to continually improve that care will be recognized by the courts and government agencies as we move forward.

Dr. Kaiser is the President of Saltzer Medical Group

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