Kalispell Regional Healthcare Announces New President and CEO

Dr. Craig Lambrecht, a North Dakota hospital executive and war veteran, officially begins in early February

By Myers Reece
Dr. Craig Lambrecht has been selected as the new president and CEO of Kalispell Regional Healthcare. Courtesy photo

The Kalispell Regional Healthcare Board of Trustees announced today that a North Dakota hospital executive and U.S. National Guard war veteran has been selected as the new president and chief executive officer of the hospital system.

Dr. Craig Lambrecht replaces Pamela Robertson, who left the position in November. General Counsel William Gibson and interim Chief Financial Officer Tracey Talley have been fulfilling president and CEO duties during the hospital’s search for a permanent replacement.

Lambrecht officially takes the position in early February.

“We are thrilled that Dr. Lambrecht has chosen to join the KRH team and make Kalispell his home,” KRH Board of Trustees Chair Dennis Sabo said in a statement. “The KRH Board of Trustees is confident that Dr. Lambrecht has the right mix of skills and experience to compassionately lead our organization out of a difficult time and into a bright future. Dr. Lambrecht shares our vision of an independent healthcare system whose physicians and provider staff deliver the highest quality medical care possible to our community.”

As noted in Sabo’s statement, Lambrecht takes over at a tumultuous period for KRH, which in September agreed to pay $24 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit with the U.S. Department of Justice and must enter a mandatory compliance program that imposes new duties on staff to monitor, report and certify that its financial arrangements with physicians meet federal requirements surrounding health care programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

The hospital has also grappled with a unionization effort among nurses and an unfair labor practices complaint, which the Montana Nurses Association filed with the National Labor Relations Board in December, alleging that the hospital’s recent leadership restructuring violates federal law.

Lambrecht received his doctor of medicine (MD) from the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and completed his emergency medicine residency at the Medical College of Wisconsin. He later received a Master of Science in Health Services Administration, a Master of Public Health and a Master of Business Administration, according to a press release from KRH on Thursday morning.

Lambrecht first assumed a health care leadership role in 2002 as senior chief medical officer with the North Dakota Department of Health. He later served multiple roles at Medcenter One Health System in Bismarck, North Dakota, including emergency department chair, corporate medical director, chief operating officer, and president and chief executive officer. He was later selected to lead the region as president of Sanford West, a member of the Sanford Health System, a position he has held since 2012.

Lambrecht also served in a variety of leadership roles during a 30-year National Guard tenure, which included two combat missions in Iraq. He is the recipient of numerous awards for exemplary service, including an Army Commendation Medal, a Meritorious Service Medal, the United States Army Legion of Merit Award, the Army Commendation Medal for Support of Iraqi Freedom, the North Dakota National Guard Governor’s Legion of Merit Award and the War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.

Lambrecht is a fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians, a delegate to the American Hospital Association, a member of the Montana Medical Association, a member of the North Dakota Medical Association, an Advisory Council member of the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and a member of the American Board of Emergency Medicine.

In his free time, Lambrecht enjoys ranching, hunting and spending time outdoors.

“I am thrilled to join Kalispell Regional Healthcare and look forward to becoming a member of the KRH family and the Flathead Valley community,” Lambrecht said in a statement. “KRH has a rich history of excellence and provides an impressive level of health care services to this region.”

“While the organization has seen some challenges over the past couple of years, I’m confident that KRH is positioned for a healthy future,” he continued. “I’m committed to working with the Board, Executive Team, medical staff and employees to fulfill our mission to the level our patients and families expect and deserve.”

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