Kalispell Regional Healthcare announced today that Pamela Robertson will leave her role as president and chief executive officer effective Nov. 30, ending her tenure a little over a year after it started.
Robertson, who replaced the late Velinda Stevens, officially took over the position on Sept. 15 last year. Stevens passed away from cancer in January 2017 after serving as president and CEO of the hospital system for nearly two decades.
“For personal reasons, I am unable to continue my full time role at KRH,” Robertson said in a Sept. 7 statement. “However, after November 30, I will continue to work closely with the KRH executive team and Board of Trustees in an advisory capacity for key identified strategic initiatives.”
Robertson’s departure comes at a tumultuous time for KRH, as the hospital is mired in a lawsuit filed by its physician network chief financial officer and a federal investigation into allegedly illegal compensation to certain physicians and fraud. The hospital has set aside $21.5 million for a pending settlement.
According to the hospital’s statement, Robertson “stated that stepping out of the CEO position at this time is because the major challenges recently confronted are well underway to being behind KRH, and she has extreme confidence in the organization’s future.”
“Pam has worked tirelessly to position KRH for an exciting future,” said Denny Sabo, chair of the board of trustees. “The foundation she has built for our path forward will ensure our commitment to sustaining KRH as an independent, locally governed system that will continue to provide outstanding medical care in northwest Montana. We look forward to continuing our journey working together with Pam toward this goal.”
The hospital also announced that the board of trustees recently added new members: Michael Goguen, a well-known Whitefish philanthropist, venture capitalist and founder of Two Bear Air; and John Flink, a local business owner. The hospital says the additions will help “KRH build toward the future.”
The hospital says the KRH board’s executive committee is “committed to a smooth transition with the interests of patients, employees and medical staff being the highest priority,” and will announce an interim leadership plan that “focuses on ensuring a smooth transition as they conduct a search for a permanent President and CEO.”
Acknowledging the “many challenges faced by KRH and the overall healthcare industry,” Robertson said “one thing has remained constant — the delivery of exceptional care by talented employees and physicians at KRH,” according to the hospital.
“I am proud of our health system and the tremendous gift of health and wellness we provide to our community,” she said.