Olympic Medical Center CEO Eric Lewis, pictured here outside OMC’s main campus in Port Angeles, announced his intention to retire in May. Photo courtesy of Olympic Medical Center

Olympic Medical Center CEO Eric Lewis, pictured here outside OMC’s main campus in Port Angeles, announced his intention to retire in May. Photo courtesy of Olympic Medical Center

OMC CEO Lewis to retire in May

Healthcare leader had 21-year tenure on peninsula

Olympic Medical Center’s leader plans to step down this May.

Chief Executive Officer Eric Lewis, 58, told Olympic Medical Center’s Board of Commissioners he intends to retire on May 1. An announcement went out to OMC staff on Jan. 21.

“Eric has been a tremendous asset to Olympic Medical Center for the past 21 years, particularly during his 13-year tenure as our organization’s CEO,” OMC Board President Jim Leskinovitch said in a press release this week.

“For more than two decades, he has focused on improving our community’s rural health care system, and he has never wavered from his strong commitment to quality, safety and positive patient experience at Olympic Medical Center.”

Lewis, a Sequim resident, started with OMC in November 1998 as its chief financial officer (CFO) before being named chief executive officer (CEO) in December 2006. Before moving to Sequim, he worked for eight years at Stevens Hospital in Edmonds.

Lewis said in an interview he made the decision on his birthday, Jan. 13, to retire from health care administration.

“I’m really glad I did this job for 13 years,” he said. “It’s time for me to refocus my life and go a different direction.”

Lewis said he and staff accomplished a lot in his tenure but one of the things he’s most proud of is expanding the Sequim campus with the Cancer Center and Medical Services Building.

“Expanding Sequim is something I’ve spent a lot of time doing,” he said.

He’s also proud of the team of medical professionals.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed working with all the wonderful people here at Olympic Medical Center for the past 21 years and together we have achieved much progress,” he said in the press release.

“I am proud of what our organization has become, and truly believe in the work our employees and medical staff do to take care of this community.”

Lewis told commissioners he plans to take time off before evaluating his options. He does not plan to work as a hospital administrator anymore though.

“I have decided to go in a different direction in my life,” he said.”I plan to find ways to continue to be an advocate for Olympic Medical Center, rural health care across our state, and patient access to affordable care.”

He plans to stay in Sequim and reestablish his love for golf while continuing to advocate for rural healthcare. Lewis also has a 23-year-old son and 20-year-old daughter.

OMC employs 1,550 staff across 20 buildings in Clallam County.

Transition

OMC commissioners said in a letter they asked Lewis to reconsider his retirement but they are committed to supporting him.

“The board believes that Eric is truly irreplaceable, but rather than dwell on the loss of an exceptional leader, we urge the OMC team to celebrate Eric’s successes and find ways to continue his legacy,” they wrote.

No decision on a transition plan was revealed by press time but commissioners said they will provide information on the transition process in a few days.

Leskinovitch said Lewis accomplished a lot for OMC, including navigating it through a lot of change.

“His work in strategic planning, legislative advocacy, fiscal stewardship, process improvement, infrastructure, intentional culture, wellness and health, and developing a strong leadership team has positioned our organization well for future success,” Leskinovitch said.

In the coming months, board commissioners said Lewis and staff will continue work to fight the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) ruling to cut Medicare reimbursements at off-site clinics by 60 percent.

During his tenure, Lewis said he and staff implemented the Epic records system, Affordable Care Act, and “focused on providing excellent, safe patient care.”

OMC staff report Lewis advocated for rural health care throughout his career including as a 2018 appointee as Board Chair of the Washington State Hospital Association, and as Board President of the Association of Washington Public Hospital Districts in 2017.

He’s also been recognized several times in his career with some accolades from the American Hospital Association as a Grassroots Leader in 2013, Joe Hopkins Memorial Award in 2017 from the Washington State Hospital Association, and 2018 Leaders in Health Care Honoree by Seattle Business Magazine.

“It has been an honor to work with the Olympic Medical Center Board, Administrative Lead Team, employees, medical staff, volunteers and community partners,” Lewis said.

“I greatly appreciate their support over the years and I will miss working with them. Olympic Medical Center has a great team, strong management and medical staff leaders, and I am confident that this organization will continue to move forward and successfully implement Olympic Medical Center’s Strategic Plan.”

For more about Olympic Medical Center and the OMC Strategic Plan, see www.olympicmedical.org or call 360-417-7000.

Reach Matthew Nash at mnash@sequimgazette.com.

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