Providence, one of the largest health systems in the nation, is pleased to name Walter L. Cathey Regional Chief Executive of the Covenant Health System effective June 17. Cathey will succeed Richard Parks, who is retiring after serving as Covenant Health’s Regional Chief Executive since 2010.
Cathey’s career with Covenant Health started 24 years ago. Over two decades Cathey has served as a Rehabilitation Aide, Occupational Therapist, Executive Director of Rehabilitation & Neuro Services, Vice President of Covenant Specialty Hospital, Chief Operating Officer & Chief Executive Officer of Covenant Medical Center, President of Operations, and most recently as Chief Executive of the Lubbock market for Covenant Health.
“Over the years, I have been blessed with many mentors who have helped me learn and grow as a person and a leader,” Cathey said. “The people I work with at Covenant have become my family and I feel just as responsible for taking care of them, as I do my own family. I can only hope to serve Covenant as faithfully as it has served me.”
Cathey graduated from Texas Tech University with his Bachelor of Science-Occupational Therapy in 2000 and Master of Science in Occupational Therapy in 2002. Cathey returned to Texas Tech in 2014 to obtain his Master in Business Administration with a focus on Health Care Administration.
Today, Cathey continues his relationship with his Alma Mater- Facilitating partnerships between Covenant Health with both Texas Tech University and Texas Tech University Health Science Center. Those partnerships include the funding and work force support of 21 services such as the psychiatry, neurology, and pediatric programs, as well as 14 training programs for medical residents and fellows. Covenant Health is also host to more than 60 3rd and 4th year TTUHSC medical students and more than 30 residents.
Cathey was instrumental in Covenant’s acquisition of Trustpoint Rehabilitation Hospital, creating a joint venture between the two organizations in 2015 to create one single rehabilitation to offer better service for the community.
In 2018, Cathey led the expansion of access to emergency health care for the Lubbock community when Covenant Health acquired two locations of West Texas ER.
When the world grinded to a halt in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cathey was a steady presence, standing side by side with our caregivers as they cared for our patients. Cathey was instrumental in Covenant Health’s creation of the first COVID-19 Infusion Tent in Texas as well as the systems partnership with the Texas Department of Emergency Medicine to open a COVID-only hospital at our 50th and University location which allowed Covenant Medical Center to reopen beds for non-COVID patients. His commitment and leadership, under the most difficult health challenges of our generation, assures us he will continue to lead Covenant Health as we work to improve health throughout our region.
Cathey has received numerous recognitions, including being named one of Becker’s Rising Stars: 25 Healthcare Leaders Under 40 in 2016. He was recognized locally by the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce ‘40 under 40’ in 2007.
“Health care is constantly evolving and at Covenant we have got to keep up,” Cathey said. “100 years ago, the sisters set out with a mission to provide the best health care possible to their communities. If we are going to continue and expand their mission, we need to shift more into population health and work to drive down costs for everyone, while improving quality of care to keep people healthy.”
Looking ahead, Cathey said he would like Covenant to become the health care system that people come to for all their health needs. A goal he has set is to make health care more accessible and affordable for the people of West Texas and eastern New Mexico.
“They say if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life,” Cathey said. “I love what I do but health care is hard work and myself and all the people at Covenant prove every day we are proud to work hard for this community and the people in it.”
Cathey and his wife, Bethany, have been married for 20 years. They have two daughters, Kendall and Caroline, are active members of Lakeridge United Methodist Church and are also proud owners of a beloved Westie named Raider.
About Covenant Health:
Covenant Health has served for more than 100 years as the only faith-based, clinically integrated health network in the West Texas, eastern New Mexico region providing a Christian healing ministry. Covenant’s network includes eight hospitals, more than 1,000 licensed beds, more than 6,000 caregivers, nearly 100 primary care providers, and a medical staff of more than 600 physicians at its cornerstone facilities. To learn more about Covenant Health, please visit covenanthealth.org or our Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, pages.
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