To say that Southern Idaho’s health-care providers go above and beyond for their patients would be an understatement. Take, for example, Jonathan Myers, M.D., a rehabilitation specialist at St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center. Myers, who himself received extensive rehabilitation after a car accident left him paralyzed, climbed Mount Borah, Idaho’s tallest mountain, to raise money to purchase a Neurocom Balance Master System to help rehab patients at the hospital.
No Mountain Too High
“It really just arose out of a desire to provide advanced balance-training equipment to the community,” says Myers, who led a team of fellow health-care providers on the 10-hour trek. “It’s been a real success. Patients have really appreciated having a version of this type of device, and to my knowledge, I think it is the only one in Idaho. It uses virtual reality and other state-of-the-art technologies to help address balance and depth in patients.”
Myers admits that, while climbing a mountain was an unconventional way to bring new services to St. Luke’s, there are few limits to what he and other providers will do to give their patients the best care.
“We really want patients to know that the care they're receiving locally is as good or better than anywhere else they would go in the country,” Myers says. “For patients to be confident in that, not only do you have to have skilled professionals to deliver the care, but in many instances, you have to have the latest and greatest technology.”
Staying Ahead of the Game
Myers is not alone in that sentiment. Cassia Regional Hospital in Burley is one of the first hospitals in the country to adopt a needle-free technology from San Francisco-based Velano Vascular called PIVO for inpatient blood draws. The new technology means fewer needle sticks and less discomfort for patients. Minidoka Memorial Hospital in Rupert opened a 15,000-square-foot medical arts facility in 2015 to expand outpatient services.
North Canyon Medical Center in Gooding recently invested in a new MRI machine and became the first facility in Magic Valley with a 3-D mammography machine. North Canyon also has invested in personnel, including radiologist Kent Sanders, M.D.
“We recruited Dr. Sanders from the University of Utah. He’s extremely well-versed in new technologies and has written several white papers on the subject. It's fabulous having a full-time radiologist on staff to be able to perform procedures that small hospitals like ours typically could not do in the past,” says Tim Powers, CEO, North Canyon Medical Center.
Powers says the hospital has also hired a general surgeon who is the only provider in Magic Valley performing gastric bypass procedures.
“We are a full-service critical access hospital, and we provide a lot of services that some of the larger tertiary facilities provide,” Powers says. “We draw patients from Nevada, Utah, the middle part of the Wood River of Idaho. Our reputation has broadened, and it's opened us up as an alternative to other health-care facilities in our area.”
For its part, St. Luke’s in Twin Falls opened a 20,500-square-foot, state-of-the-art surgery center in 2016, in response to a 33 percent increase in outpatient surgical volume. The hospital is also in the process of constructing a new medical office building in Twin Falls and a clinic in Buhl.
“We’re constantly trying to provide the best care possible. If there's a new latest-and-greatest treatment out there, we’re going to explore it and ask if there is good evidence to bring this to our community. If there is, we're going to do whatever it takes to bring it,” Myers says.