KALISPELL – After a tumultuous year, Kalispell Regional Medical Center has a new CEO who has promised transparency and pledged to build a culture of trust.
Craig Lambrecht comes from a medical background and takes over for interim CEO Pam Robertson — who was tapped for the post after Velinda Stevens passed away in 2016 after battling breast cancer.
With a doctorate in medicine and leadership positions at hospitals around the Midwest, Lambrecht was ready to come home to Montana.
But with family from Havre and Big Sky he admits he wasn’t that familiar with the Flathead. When this job opened, he jumped at the opportunity to learn more and credits the community with helping to decide to take the assignment.
“Clearly, the people of Montana and the jump in, get it done, compassion, passion for health care and doing the right thing,” Lambrecht said .
Lambrecht starts his job at a challenging time after two lawsuits last year.
Nurses filed complaints against the hospital after notices were sent to employees stating various positions would be eliminated. Those were later dropped, but KMRC was also involved in a whistleblower complaint, complaining the hospital was overcompensating more than 60 physicians. That led to a $24 million settlement.
“There have been a lot of things going on over the past couple of years. And there is no ill intent from anyone, but things happen. And looking forward and not looking back, developing a credible culture where people trust each other. The community and the region trusts this institution is absolutely critical. And that’s probably my first priority is building a culture of trust,” says Lambrecht.
Lambrecht is about to complete his first month at KMRC and is excited to make positive changes.