Accountable Care Best Practices In the News

St. Luke’s in Fruitland: ‘… the true spirit of St. Luke …’

St. Luke’s is committed to improving the health of people in our region. That’s our mission.

Hundreds of patients, Fruitland-area residents, and St. Luke’s team members joined the party.

Our recent grand opening celebration of the Fruitland Medical Plaza and our emergency department there showed just how deep that commitment goes, and how passionately that mission is held.

Our mission is compelling. In just the first few weeks, use of St. Luke’s programs and services at the new Fruitland location has far exceeded our plans and expectations, and kept dozens of people from needing to travel farther for needed care.

Bruce Jensen, who directs St. Luke’s planning for the western part of our service area, gave us a peek at the spirit that makes our mission so compelling and that is shared by so many of the residents of those communities that we serve.

During the opening celebration, he spoke movingly of having lived in the area, near the Oregon border, for 10 years and seeing three of his children complete high school there.

“We love this community,” he said. “We love the people.”

He talked about that same commitment in a legendary humanitarian and community institution, Dr. Morris Smith, who Bruce noted is “still going strong” at nearly 79.

Dr. Smith graduated from the Medical College of Virginia in 1964 and was too busy caring for patients to attend his recent class reunion, Bruce told the hundreds of attendees at our celebration.

Dr. Smith has worked in 10 different states across a variety of settings, from classrooms to emergency departments to Yellowstone National Park. Traits of dedication to all-consuming effort came from his father, Bruce said, and passion, from Dr. Smith’s mother.

“He loves the patients and he loves their families,” Bruce said.

Touring the facility. Our chaplain spoke of “a special place of healing and wholeness.”

It was at night at a hospital in New Mexico in 1965, however, that Dr. Smith was transformed by his chosen profession. Fears of contagion kept a 2-year-old girl’s parents from holding her, so Dr. Smith, an intern at the time, rocked the toddler in his arms as she passed away.

Dr. Smith’s 50 years of caring compassion are a blessing to the Fruitland community, and his touch, and the spirit of the region and the St. Luke’s family that turned out in force to celebrate the occasion, were well summarized in the blessing that Chaplain Ron Wilde shared.

Here are Chaplain Wilde’s words:

Our hope and prayer is that this building will be a special place of healing and wholeness, a place where every person regardless of income, race, or any other dividing factor may experience the best of medical science in a caring environment.

May each door be blessed to signify openness of care to all who are ill, injured, or hurting.

May the windows be clear to signify integrity and the light of hope.

May each room couple technology and beauty, and science with compassion.

But more importantly than brick or mortar, steel and concrete, may this building be filled with workers—physicians, nurses, technicians, and all sorts of skilled individuals—whose hands deliver great care with great wisdom.

We also want to pray for all the people of this community and surrounding region. May the continuing presence of St. Luke’s through this new facility enhance health care and life for each person.

And finally, allow us as individuals to represent and embody the true spirit of St. Luke, the physician, who lived his life compassionately meeting the needs of those who were sick and hurting.

I could not agree more.


  • This is a very exciting time for Fruitland! The sense of community is apparent.
    In talking with staff, many employees live in this area. It will allow residents to work in their community to care for their neighbors, friends, and family, and give the people so many more options for quality health care!

  • What a great opportunity for our neighbors in Fruitland! I’m so happy that St. Luke’s will be there for them. This is so heartwarming and really is what St. Luke’s is all about, helping those in our communities.
    Thank you all for your hard work and dedication to get this project completed. It looks beautiful, and I know that the people will enjoy having St. Luke’s there.

  • Hi, Melinda.

    Totally agree! I was impressed with the turnout, with the community engagement, and with the kind words of Mayor Bishop. It is obvious that our St. Luke’s Fruitland services are fulfilling a huge need in Fruitland, as well as the surrounding rural areas.

    Thanks for your comment and for all you do for St. Luke’s and our patients!

  • Hi, Diana.

    The event was truly inspiring. It is a fabulous facility and I have never seen a more functional and well-planned emergency department.

    We are seeing St. Luke’s fulfilling our mission and vision right before our very eyes! Very exciting.

    Thanks for your comment, Diana, and thanks so much for being a blog regular!

  • I grew up in this area, and several of my family members are still in the area. I remember as a child having to drive over the bridge into Ontario, or go over the river into Payette, to be able to see a doctor.
    I am so proud that St Luke’s is there providing care, and that I am also now part of the team!

  • Hi, Cassidy.

    What a great story about the value that St. Luke’s is bringing to that community. Help us get the word out (But by looking at the level of activity, I can tell that the word is already out :) !).

    Thanks for your comment and for all you do for St. Luke’s!

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