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St. Patrick Hospital Management Responds to Recent ‘No Confidence’ Vote

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In a recent article in the Missoulian newspaper, it was revealed that the medical staff at Providence St. Patrick Hospital held a secret vote of ‘no confidence’ in the hospital’s management.

KGVO News reached out to the now Chief Executive Officer of the Hospital, Joyce Dombrouski, for her reaction to the vote and the issues raised by the hospital staff.

KGVO: Can you respond to the ‘no confidence’ vote that the Missoulian article referred to? What does that mean to you personally as COO?

DOMBROUSKI: I’m optimistic. We’re having constructive, open and frank dialogue with Medical Staff and its leadership. And, we’re responding to feedback. While there’s no escaping the challenges occurring in health care all across the U.S., Providence is committed to supporting and growing Providence St. Patrick Hospital’s distinction as the tertiary center of excellence in Montana. I continue to have the autonomy and accountability to act on behalf of the communities’ best interests. The  Chief Executive title has been reinstated and as Chief Executive of the Western Montana Service Area, I have the full support of Providence  leadership and the Board.

KGVO: Why is Dr. Matt Maxwell leaving? He seems to be such a big part of the International Heart Institute and the hospital itself?

DOMBROUSKI: Dr. Maxwell offered his resignation in February, in order to pursue other opportunities according to his letter of resignation.

KGVO: What are you and the leadership at Providence doing to restore faith in management of the hospital?

DOMBROUSKI: We have increased the frequency of meetings and dialogue with our medical staff and the Board; and we are re-examining our long term physician engagement plan collaboratively. We have acknowledged that there are no quick fixes. These are complex issues, and it will take a thoughtful, concerted effort on the part of all of us, working together, to achieve resolutions—some taking more time than others. We are counting on all physicians in the  medical staff to aid in this work.

KGVO: As the number two overall employer in the city, (UM being number 1) how are you reassuring your employees that all will be well for their futures at the hospital?

DOMBROUSKI: I held in-person employee forums this past week with all employees, and I’m communicating regularly with them. I want staff to know that Providence St. Pat’s continues to lead Montana hospitals in clinical and quality outcomes. We are proud of the innovative models and advancements that place us in the highest levels of care nationally. Our hospital and providers are esteemed and valued for such excellent care. That hasn’t changed.

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It was announced last fall that Jeff Fee, the CEO at Providence St. Patrick Hospital would be stepping down at the end of the year, and no replacement would be named.

In a press release issued by Providence Western Montana, it was announced that the positions held by Fee will not be filled once he leaves. According to the press release;

“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. At the same time, the cost of services–especially prescription drugs, medical supplies and labor costs–continue to increase at rates well above inflation. Health care systems are looking at ways to operate more affordably while keeping resources at the patient’s bedside.”

Fee will stay on at the hospital until the end of the year to ensure a smooth transition. It was also announced that the current Chief Operating Officer of Western Montana, Joyce Dombrouski, would handle the day-to-day operations at both St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula and St. Joseph Medical Center in Polson.

In the press release, Fee stated:

“I leave with immense pride as I step aside after a very successful career with Providence. Ten years is a long time to be in a Chief Executive role. When taking on the role of CEO, you sign up for things like this to happen—it comes with the territory. 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.”

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