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Health systems grateful for support of Idaho public leaders

photo of odette bolano

Odette Bolano

photo of chris roth

Chris Roth

As December 31 draws near, we often reflect on significant events to define the year. In 2020, many things have been unprecedented, but expressing gratitude remains essential and important. COVID-19 took center stage early this year and has not yielded its grip. However, it has not diminished our spirit.

As leaders of health care organizations across Idaho and Oregon, we come together to share a unified message. As organizations dedicated to serving the health care needs of our communities, we have witnessed inspiring levels of compassion and bravery. We’ve also seen actions — and reactions — that cause us great concern. We want to recognize those who have continued to dedicate themselves to taking care of others, often making difficult and, at times, controversial decisions.

Our elected and appointed officials, including mayors, county commissioners, school district trustees and public health officials, as well as business and public health leaders, educators and others, have strived to implement measures that serve the health, safety and welfare of our communities. They have had to learn about infectious disease overnight, balancing many factors, including the local economy, public health, education and the consequences of inaction, to name a few. None of these decisions are clear-cut.

These decisions would be difficult even in the best of circumstances. Still, many of our local public officials have faced the added stress of concern for their families’ safety. The threats and intimidation they receive daily by letter, email, phone, social media, and in person before and during their public meetings, and sometimes at their own homes, must be painfully difficult to endure. They did not and should not expect to face such extreme personal threats. We thank them for their efforts to help keep Idahoans safe in this time of crisis. Their dedication and commitment in the face of such adversity is inspiring.

We want to build on the good and vital work so many across our state have accomplished.

Businesses large and small have innovated in so many ways; investing in safety protocols while their revenue declined; establishing new remote work environments, creating new avenues for patrons to buy essentials, entertainment and exercise. We applaud the businesses who have implemented changes to protect the health of their employees and customers.

Our nonprofits have seen larger numbers of people who need assistance. They have found new ways to provide their services and have given extra hours, often volunteering their time.

Educators have found new ways to teach and connect with our children, providing them with knowledge and ways to cope with a strange new reality.

As we look ahead to 2021, we are filled with optimism. While our optimism, indeed, is bolstered by the promise of vaccines to help us return to a more familiar way of life, it is truly fueled by the spirit demonstrated by our leaders, our businesses, and our community partners who do so much to help others.

A great deal of work lies ahead in the coming days, weeks, and months. As health care organizations, we are here for you. We will continue to do everything in our power to care for you, to inform you, and to advocate for you.

Odette Bolano is president & chief executive officer of Saint Alphonsus Health System. Chris Roth is president and chief executive officer of St. Luke’s Health System. In partnership with the following health care organizations: Corey Chiaramonte, Andrew P. Wilper, MD, MPH, Charles M. Davis, MD, Daniel Wood MHA, FACHE (Boise VA Medical Center); Tom Reinhardt (Cascade Medical Center); Kevan Finley, LCPC, MS, MBA (Cottonwood Creek Behavioral Hospital); Brian Whitlock (Idaho Hospital Association); Micky Moyers, MBA, MHA (Intermountain Hospital); J’Dee Adams (North Canyon Medical Center); David L. Peterman, MD (Primary Health Medical Group); Steven F. Nemerson, MD, MSE, MBA (Saint Alphonsus Health System); John R. Kaiser, MD (Saltzer Health); Jim Souza, MD (St. Luke’s Health System); David C. Pate, MD, JD (St. Luke’s Health System, retired); Brad Turpen, FACHE, FACMPE and William Vetter, MD (Valor Health); Ryan Zumalt (Vibra Health); Steven D. Hale, FACHE (Weiser Memorial Hospital); Betsy Hunsicker (West Valley Medical Center).


About Odette Bolano and Chris Roth