Hospital announces leadership restructuring

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The main entrance to Kalispell Regional Medical Center. (Matt Baldwin/Daily Inter Lake)

Kalispell Regional Healthcare announced Friday there will be a “redesigning of leadership structure,” that will include modified titles, roles and responsibilities of an estimated 130 leaders within the organization.

“It’s really kind of a restructuring, so to speak,” KRH Director of Communications and Marketing Mellody Sharpton said. “This isn’t anything that’s unusual and most all organizations are continually looking at resources and aligning with them appropriately.”

Sharpton said she is unable to disclose specific names or examples of “shifts in leadership,” but said the majority of the 130 employees will have opportunities for new positions within the newly designed structure. They anticipate “minimal involuntary departures,” which Sharpton clarified is not synonymous with layoffs.

“The expectation is that most of our leaders will have new positions and some people may want to pursue those and others may not,” Sharpton said.

According to the announcement, the KRH Board of Trustees and executive team “determined that a leadership structure design is necessary to meet the organization’s changing needs and adapt to the pressures of a rapidly changing health-care environment.”

The redesigned structure intends to provide role clarity and accountability and help the organization “adapt to a changing environment,” like many other health-care organizations, the press release noted.

It later emphasized KRH’s needs to work more efficiently while also lowering the cost of health care. The announcement assured that “high level of care they [patients] expect from KRH will continue uninterrupted as we make this transition.”

The announcement comes only two days before the anticipated effective departure date of KRH President and Chief Executive Officer Pamela Robertson, who announced in September she’s leaving her role for “personal reasons.” Robertson’s September announcement came less than six months after KRH announced it expected to lose more than $6 million in funding due to state cuts, which led to an unspecified number of layoffs.

Around the same time, multiple members holding Kalispell Regional leadership roles announced their retirement or resigned, including former Chief Nursing Officer Karen Lee and former Director of Digestive Health Institute Dr. Nicholas Costrini. As described by Sharpton, part of the adjustment was a “reassessment and realignment of resources.”

The latest personnel restructuring also comes on the heels of KRH’s $24 million whistleblower lawsuit settlement with the Department of Justice over alleged violations of the federal anti-kickback statutes, the False Claims Act and the Stark Law that prohibits physician self-referrals. The hospital disagreed with the allegations and will implement a Corporate Integrity Agreement as part of the settlement.

Reporter Kianna Gardner may be reached at 758-4439 or kgardner@dailyinterlake.com.

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