Hospital CEO to step down

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ROBERTSON

Kalispell Regional Healthcare announced Friday afternoon that President and CEO Pamela Robertson will step down as of Nov. 30., after a little more than a year at the organization.

“For personal reasons, I am unable to continue my full-time role at KRH,” Robertson said in a statement. After that date, she said, she will continute to advise Kalispell Regional’s executive team and board of trustees on “key identified strategic initiatives.”

Robertson assumed her current role on Sept. 15 of last year, after seven years as the president and CEO of Spohn Health System, a six-hospital network in Corpus Christi, Texas. She inherited a legacy of ambitious growth and development shepharded under longtime CEO Velinda Stevens, who died of cancer in January 2017.

Robertson’s departure comes at a critical juncture for Kalispell Regional, as it finalizes several longterm infrastructure projects — a $14 million renovated ER, $40 million Montana Children’s Center and the $12.9 million Digestive Health Institute — amid an ongoing federal investigation stemming from a whistleblower lawsuit by the former chief financial officer of its Physician Network. Kalispell Regional has previously said that it has set aside $21.5 million in advance of a potential settlement.

The hospital is also facing a potential unionization effort on behalf of several nurses, which the hospital responded to in a memo to staff last week.

In its statement, the hospital alluded to these recent challenges, which it called “well underway” to being resolved, and said that Robertson “has extreme confidence in the organization’s future.”

Denny Sabo, chair of Kalispell Regional’s board of trustees, also expressed confidence in the hospital’s future. He praised Robertson for her commitment to keeping Kalispell Regional an independent and locally governed healthcare system, and said the board looks forward “to continuing our journey working together with Pam toward this goal.”

The hospital also announced Friday that in order to “further help KRH build toward the future,” the Board of Trustees has added two new members: Michael Goguen, a prominent Whitefish businessman and founder of the Two Bear Air rescue helicopter service; and John Flink, a local businessman and president of J2 Business Products in Kalispell.

The hospital said that despite the challenges, Robertson noted the continual high standard of care and quality employees and physicians at Kalispell Regional.

“I am proud of our health system and the tremendous gift of health and wellness we provide to our community,” she said.

The hospital did not specify a timeline for revealing interim leadership plans, but said that a plan would focus on “ensuring a smooth transition as they conduct a search for a permanent President and CEO.”

Reporter Adrian Horton can be reached at ahorton@dailyinterlake.com or at 758-4439.

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