St. Luke's shifts toward in-house docs
Rehab Institute says having its own medical staff will further hospitals' mission
Mike McLean
The Journal of Business
August 28, 2008

St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute says it has hired two additional staff physicians, essentially creating an in-house physician’s group at the 102-bed facility.

Until recently, only two physicians on the institute’s medical staff were employees of St. Luke’s – Dr. Stefan Humphries, medical director, and Dr. Robert Schwartz, who heads a team of case managers that identifies and helps prepare patients at acute-care hospitals who are candidates for St. Luke’s rehabilitation programs. St. Luke’s continues to contract with five other physicians for its medical staff.

St. Luke’s hired Humphries three years ago to oversee medical operations. He says it’s important that the institute’s medical staff be led by physicians, so patient care is aligned with the hospitals, goals, which are to help patients regain function and independence following disabling injuries or illnesses, while enhancing St. Luke’s role in the medical community here.

“Our business function as a group is to see that St. Luke’s continues to provide patients with the best care consistent with out main vision,” Humphries says.

Aside from patient care, a contract physician’s main priority is to attend to his or her own practice, rather than the well being of the hospital he says.

St. Luke’s new staff physicians, or hospitalists, are Dr. Steven Goodman, who is in charge of in-patient rehabilitation, and Dr. Mark Gordon, who heads up outpatient programs. Both were hired in July.

Gordon received his medical degree from the University of South Dakota School of Medicine in Vermillion, SD. He interned in psychiatry at the Eisenhower Army Medical Center, in Fort Gordon, GA., and completed his residency at the University of Michigan Medical Center, in Ann Arbor, Mich.

He is certified in physiatry, which deals with physical rehabilitation. His subspecialty is spinal cord-injury medicine.

“I like the field (of physiatry) because of the team concept,” Gordon says. “A physician is a team leader, but it’s not an autocratic approach.”

Teams typically include physicians, nurses, therapists, counselors, and dieticians, who collaborate on rehabilitation plans for each patient, he says.

Goodman earned his medical degree at State University of New York. He completed an internship at UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion, in San Francisco, and completed his residency through the University of Washington.

His subspecialty is identification and treatment of connective-tissue and musculoskeletal pain.

Goodman says he enjoys being employed rather than heading his own practice. “I can focus on patients and not running a business,” he says.

Humphries, who served as medical director and president of medical staff at HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital, in Colorado Springs, Col., before joining St. Luke’s recently earned a master’ s degree in business administration from the University of Washington. Schwartz practiced physical medicine and rehabilitation in Miami before joining St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute in 2004.

St. Luke’s has a 100,000 square foot three level hospital building and a 26,000 square foot medical office building at it’s main campus at 711 S. Cowley. It also operates two outpatient clinics – one in Spokane Valley and the other on Spokane’s North side.

St. Luke’s, a former acute-care hospital that closed in 1992, was reopened as St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute in 1994, by Inland Northwest Health Services.

The hospital since has become the largest freestanding rehabilitation hospital in the Northwest, Humphries asserts. St. Luke’s has about 570 employees, including 58 registered nurses and 133 therapists. It logged 22,000 patient days and treated nearly 5,000 outpatients in 2007. Its 2007 revenues totaled $43 million, up $3 million from 2006.

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