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Hospital hires new CEO

| December 23, 2004 11:00 PM

Bill Patten has been named new chief executive officer at St. John¹s Lutheran Hospital to replace Rick Palagi, who left the hospital in October.

Patten will begin working at St. John¹s in early February, said hospital board chair Connie Welter.

³We are extremely excited to have Bill join our team,² Welter said. ³He has a wealth of experience as a hospital CEO, and we feel strongly that he will be an asset to our community and be a great leader for St. John¹s.²

Patten is currently CEO of the community hospital in Sitka, Alaska, where he has worked the past four years. Prior to his move to Sitka, Patten was the CEO of a hospital and nursing home in Julesburg, Colo. Both facilities were similar in size to St. John¹s.

³Bill has an excellent track record at significantly improving the hospitals he has led,² Welter said. ³Not only did he help them operate in the black financially, he was able to drastically change the quality of care and their approach to customer service.²

Patten began his career in healthcare as a medical laboratory technician, and worked directly with patients for a number of years before moving into management.

³His background as a caregiver helps him relate well to patients,² Welter said. ³And, because he has been on the front-line of healthcare, he can also understand our staff, our physicians, and our business in a unique and personal way.²

The selection process to find a new CEO involved a large number of candidates and sought input from a variety of people in the community, Welter said.

³Through the professional recruiter we used, we screened almost 150 candidates,² she said. ³Bill was one of three final candidates we brought to Libby for a visit, and it was a tough choice. Any of these three would have been an excellent CEO for St. John¹s.²

Each of the three final candidates was interviewed by hospital board members,