St. Patrick CEO Jeff Fee released by Providence

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By Martin Kidston

Jeff Fee, the chief executive officer for Providence St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, will leave the hospital at the end of this year and will not be replaced, the hospital confirmed on Friday.

A hospital spokesperson confirmed the decision Thursday night before making the announcement public on Friday.

“Health care systems across the country are facing extraordinary pressure from the industry-wide trend of reduced revenue from both government and private health insurance plans,” said Stacy Rogge, the hospital’s communications director.

At the same time, she said, the cost of services continues to increase at rates well above inflation. Health care systems are looking for ways to operate more affordably while keeping resources at the patient’s bedside.

In a statement, Fee said he was ready to move on.

“When taking on the role of CEO, you sign up for things like this to happen – it comes with the territory,” he said. “I’ve had a fantastic run and I love Montana. This transition now presents an opportunity for me to consider the next phase of my career, and there’s some excitement with that prospect.”

Fee, who served as regional chief executive for Providence Health & Services in Montana, joined Providence in 2006 as the president of St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, where he was responsible for assuring quality patient care.

Prior to joining Providence, he served as the chief executive for hospitals in Tennessee and the chief operations officer for the Hospital Corporation of America.

“Providence has been providing high quality, compassionate care in Montana since 1873 – that’s not going to change,” Fee said. “The people I have had the opportunity to work with in Western Montana are of the highest caliber I have ever experienced in my career, and I’m leaving this organization in excellent hands.”

In order to ensure a smooth transition, Rogge said Fee will continue in his role until the end of the year.

Joyce Dombrouski, the current COO of Western Montana Region, will expand her current role to have responsibility for the day-to-day operations – including Providence St. Patrick Hospital and Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Polson.