Since we sent our June newsletter, we've experienced a significant change at St. Charles Health System: Joe Sluka, our President and CEO for the past eight years, decided to step down and transition to a role of strategic advisor to the organization.

I joined the St. Charles Board of Directors the same year Joe came to the health system, and I have enjoyed working closely with him. I can tell you from experience that Joe cares deeply about the future of health care in Central Oregon. I want to thank him for his friendship and leadership in a time of tremendous growth and, in the past two years, unprecedented uncertainty.

Now, please allow me to introduce myself: My name is Dr. Steve Gordon, and I've stepped into the role of interim President and CEO of St. Charles. I'm a primary care and internal medicine physician by training, and I've worked as a health care management consultant since 2016. Before that, I served in executive leadership roles for PeaceHealth in Vancouver, Wash., Providence Health and Services in Portland and Salem Health.

As I mentioned, I served on the St. Charles Board of Directors from 2014 until earlier this year, so I bring to this role extensive knowledge of the health system in addition to my understanding of health care issues at the state and national level. The health care industry faces many unique challenges, and I am excited about the opportunity to lead St. Charles as the organization works to navigate those challenges and build toward a bright future.

In my first month on the job, I have spent time speaking with many individuals and groups across our organization and hearing their concerns. After more than two years of pandemic response, they are exhausted. Now that we are dealing with significant staffing and financial difficulties, they are worried about the future of this great organization. To ease their minds, I have committed to three main goals for the next 12 months:

  • Create a better experience for St. Charles patients, caregivers and physicians.
  • Improve the health system's financial situation. (Also, in case you’ve been hearing rumors: St. Charles is not for sale.)
  • Find and hire an inspiring new president and CEO to lead us forward.

In the coming months, these three goals will drive everything we do at St. Charles, for one very simple reason: We are committed to being here for the people of Central Oregon, just as we have for more than 100 years.

Thank you for reading and for your support.


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