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Providence Announces New CEO to Replace Wilson

October 26, 2012

Spokane, WA—Providence Health Care (PHC) has named Elaine Couture, RN, BSN, MBA, as its new chief executive, as current leader Michael Wilson transitions to retirement. PHC is the parent organization for Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center & Children’s Hospital, Providence Holy Family Hospital, two rural hospitals in Stevens County and a number of outpatient health care services. Its family of health services also includes Providence Medical Group, the region’s fastest growing group of primary care and specialty physicians with nearly 300 providers today.

Wilson, who has been an executive within Providence’s Spokane hospitals for 31 years, will remain involved in an advisory role for PHC leaders throughout 2013. He announced his retirement to staff this fall, saying that carrying out long term strategic plans necessitated having his replacement on board now to assure key partners that decisions made would be consistent during a transition period.

“This is a critical time for health care—both nationally and locally,” says Wilson. “Providence’s growth is occurring at such a fast rate, accompanied by changes tied to health care reform, that I felt it imperative to bring on a new executive who could lead our organizations to success for the long term. At the same time, I care deeply about Providence and our community, and want to remain actively involved to foster a smooth transition with the new leader.”

Wilson continues, “I couldn’t be more excited to announce that our physicians, our senior leadership team, our local Board of Directors and our executives at the Providence Health & Services headquarters all agreed on Elaine as the best fit for my successor. Over her 10 years with Providence in Spokane, Elaine has demonstrated a deep, personal investment in our Mission; has shown herself to be a steady source of wisdom in times of complicated change; and has proven herself an effective leader of operations over two of our hospitals, one of which is the second largest in the state of Washington.”

“I have the greatest confidence in Elaine’s leadership capabilities and her commitment to serving the patients of this region,” Wilson adds.

Mike Reilly, chair of the PHC Board of Directors, adds that members of the Board understood what was at stake in replacing Mike Wilson. “Our goal was to find someone who could successfully hold employee, physician and community trust – and that was a tough demand.” He continues, “When Elaine showed interest in advancing her career with Providence, we knew she would continue the great legacy of leaders before her. She has shown strong leadership qualities and a passion for our Mission to care for the whole community.”

Couture has been in health care since 1977, first as a bedside nurse and nurse manager at St. Vincent’s Hospital and Health Center in Billings, MT, and then as director of an occupational health and wellness program. She held her first administrative position at Providence St. Mary’s Medical Center in Walla Walla, serving 15 years in advancing leadership roles including Chief Nursing Officer, then accepted a role as vice president at Providence Sacred Heart in 2002. She advanced to chief operating officer and then was named chief executive for Sacred Heart and Holy Family hospitals.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve Providence in this new role,” says Couture. “We have a phenomenal history and a promising future, and I couldn’t be more excited about partnering with physicians, staff, and our leadership team to ensure PHC continues to serve this community with quality, affordable, accessible care.”

PHC plans to immediately begin recruitment to fill Couture’s role as the chief executive for Sacred Heart and Holy Family.

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About Providence Health Care

In eastern Washington, the Providence Health Care regional network consists of 11 integrated health care organizations working together to provide quality health and human services for Inland Northwest residents. It includes Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center & Children’s Hospital, Providence Holy Family Hospital as well as two critical access hospitals in Colville and Chewelah; and a full continuum of services including home health, assisted living, adult day health, skilled nursing, a physician division and PAML medical laboratories. Providence Physician Services, the physician division of Providence Health Care, includes more than 275 primary care, specialty care and hospital-based medical providers serving patients throughout Washington, Idaho, Montana and Oregon. Physician clinics are located in Spokane and Stevens counties. For more information, visit www.phc.org.