Compassionate Care in Action

A patient with serious mental health conditions and a reading disability visited St. Luke’s Center for Community Health for help understanding his social security papers. Caseworkers recognized the patient was anxious.

A little deeper probing revealed he needed new tires for his car so he could make it to his regular mental health appointments. Also, his glasses were broken and the prescription was outdated. Funds were made available through the Compassionate Care Program to purchase new tires and specialized eyeglass lenses, righting the care trajectory. That’s exactly what the goal was when the fund was established in 2015 with a commitment from St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation to fund up to $150,000 in the ensuing three years. Since then, the Keith Sivertson, MD, Compassionate Care Program has fulfilled hundreds of requests with funds providing for a variety of needs from prescription heart medication to acupuncture for a cancer patient.

This compassionate approach to health embodies the spirit of generosity that inspires St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation Board Member Cynthia Murphy. Cynthia is an Idahoan by birth and a local resident for the past 25 years. She and her husband, Kingsley, are longtime program proponents, facilitators to its creation and generous community philanthropists.

Cynthia’s relationship with St. Luke’s Wood River “developed around my passion for the community, and the need for exceptional health care,” she says.

Cynthia serves on the St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation and Community Boards as well as St. Luke’s Health System’s Governance and QSEC (Quality & Safety) Committees. In addition to her dedication to St. Luke’s, she serves on the boards of the YMCA, The Nature Conservancy and the Lee Pesky Learning Center.

“My focus is quality and safety, exceptional compassionate care and service, a strong emergency department, community health and engagement with our community partners,” she says. “I am particularly interested in removing the barriers to care once patients leave the hospital or emergency room.”

The health needs of patients can quickly compound when a patient lacks the ability to get to a doctor’s appointment, afford critical medication to manage disease or have their homes properly outfitted with the medical equipment they need. These escalated health needs often lead to health crisis, which could otherwise be avoided.

Named for longtime emergency physician, Keith Sivertson, MD, the Compassionate Care Program addresses community health needs by providing access to supplemental health care resources and helping patients be successful in managing their health. This can include help with the cost of lodging, transportation, medical supplies, medications and other health-related necessities. This program is designed to encourage health and healing by providing assistance to patients with significant financial hardship.

Patients can access this fund through multiple St. Luke’s Wood River channels including the emergency department, hospital social workers and the Center for Community Health. Data of those who access the fund is closely tracked and shows that those helped through generosity experience improved heath including fewer emergency room visits, fewer hospital stays and well-managed diabetes. 

With the quality of care unparalleled, and the possibilities for access to and support after a health intervention vastly improved, Cynthia is pleased. “We need to continue to be the best, focus on our incredible staff, lead in health care innovation, work with our community partners and help coordinate care,” she says. “Today, we are one of the top hospitals in the country with a Level 4 trauma center and many awards for care, service and staff excellence.”

It is Cynthia’s gift of time and treasure that have made it possible.