Having served in Catholic health care for more than 40 years and at Providence for nearly 34 years, Elaine Couture, Providence executive vice president and regional chief executive for Washington and Montana, is retiring in early 2021.
In announcing her decision today, Couture said she is stepping down knowing that the next generation of Providence leaders remain steadfast in their commitment to the Providence Mission and vision and dedicated to creating health for a better world. “It is exciting to hand over the reins to those who will ensure Providence is here for each and every one of us,” she said.
“Elaine has been a valued partner and courageous leader, always grounded in the Providence Mission and a voice for our patients,” said Rod Hochman, M.D., president and chief executive officer of Providence. “She has worked tirelessly for the most poor and vulnerable in our communities, advocating for Medicaid expansion, extending our Mission of compassionate care for everyone in our communities through innovative projects, and taking tangible steps toward cost effective delivery of quality care,” he said.
As regional chief executive for Washington and Montana, Couture has oversight for 11 award-winning Providence hospitals in Everett, Olympia, Centralia, Walla Walla, Richland, Spokane, Colville, and Chewelah in Washington; and Missoula and Polson in Montana; in addition to primary care facilities, multiple joint ventures and community partnership. Under her leadership, the region has grown to more than 21,000 caregivers, 127,000 hospital admissions per year, and more than 1,800 physicians/providers. In 2019, the Providence and Kadlec service areas Couture oversees invested more than $393.6 million to address the various communities’ most pressing needs.
She has expanded access to health care by helping establish a medical school in Spokane, Wash., expanded residency programs in the region, implemented telehealth sites across multiple states and established joint venture partnerships to improve access to such services as acute behavioral health care.
Her service to others extended to numerous community and national advisory boards, among them the American Hospital Association Research Committee and Metropolitan Hospitals Governing Council, Washington State Hospital Association, and as a director on the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Board.
Couture said she knew early in life that she would pursue health care as a profession, volunteering at a hospital in Montana while in high school before pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana. Couture went on to receive her Master’s in Business Administration from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.
She began as a front-line nurse, later took on numerous leadership positions and eventually became executive vice president and the chief executive of Providence’s Washington and Montana Region.
Couture will continue in her leadership roles into the first quarter of 2021. Prior to her retirement, Providence will share information about its leadership transition in the Washington and Montana Region.
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