How can a company with several very public issues recover their reputation? St Luke’s hospital seems to think the answer is to attack the patients who have offered honest feedback. However, as a member of the community and having watched St Luke’s PR struggles, I can honestly say that they cannot place blame on anyone other than themselves. Chris Roth, CEO of St Luke’s very clearly stated in an internal interview posted to their website that, “Health care needs to undergo significant change.” He also claims, “We need to intentionally shape and invest in the organization to embrace the greater elements of a learning organization, more team-based, more creative—being OK with failure when appropriate and learning from the things we try.”
Many in the community completely agree with these statements. However, it appears Mr Roth does not want this opinion to exist outside the walls of his office. He is using valuable hospital resources funding the Holland and Hart law firm to attack those who offered feedback for a successful “significant organization change.”
Most importantly, Mr. Roth makes a statement that further invites critique and has all the markings of a good, confident leader, “And it ties into culture, because when we are in an environment where we feel comfortable speaking up, speaking out, it ultimately improves care.” One might wonder who Mr. Roth permits to speak up, speak out. Shouldn’t a patient and their family be able to speak publicly of their experience with his hospital? After all, Mr Roth claims to want to be okay with failure. As a consumer and community member, I might carefully (for fear of Mr Roth feigning defamation for my opinion) note where St Luke’s stands in the minds of potential customers.
One recent failure many in the community remember was the healthcare mandate of the covid-19 injection. “If you want to keep your job, then you have to bend on your beliefs and get the shot. And I’m not okay with that…. That’s not capitalism. That’s crony capitalism.” registered nurse Ken Bacus said in a KTVB interview. The mandate was one PR blunder St Luke’s would not recover from.
Also, a great many complaints against St Luke’s hospital in Boise have been logged on Yelp and other online platforms. If St Luke’s wants to improve their reputation and improve patient care, I’d suggest the large legal budget to attack former patients could be diverted into something good. Possibly an audit is needed to understand why St Luke’s struggled to merely hear valuable feedback from their customers.
A defamation lawsuit against former patients does nothing to improve your reputation. In fact, it is the complete opposite. Mr Roth should have run this short-sighted plot by his marketing team first. Perhaps their next medical waiver will include a patient commitment form to only allow positive feedback of your experience and 5 stars on all yelp reviews.