Two Great Falls, Mont., hospitals, which will become the first to merge under a state healthcare antitrust exemption law, have named Lloyd Smith as president and chief executive officer of their consolidated facilities.
Smith, 54, will assume the post Aug. 5. He's currently executive vice president of Fargo, N.D.-based MeritCare Health System. He's also president and CEO of MeritCare Hospital, the former St. Luke's Hospital that merged with Fargo Clinic in 1992 to create MeritCare.
The Great Falls hospitals are 339-bed Montana Deaconess Medical Center and 145-bed Columbus Hospital. After 20 months of legal wranglings with the state and the Federal Trade Commission, the hospitals-the only two acute-care facilities in Great Falls-are set to consummate their merger July 1 (June 17, p. 20). In exchange for antitrust clearance, the hospitals agreed to a number of conditions, including limits on profits and a requirement to pass back at least $86 million in cost savings to consumers.
Kirk Wilson, president and CEO at Montana Deaconess, resigned June 17 after he didn't make the short list of finalists for the new consolidated hospital CEO position. The president and CEO post at Columbus was vacant following the Jan. 1, 1995, retirement of William Downer Jr.
Meanwhile, Smith's departure at MeritCare will give the system the chance to re-examine its management structure, said Roger Gilbertson, M.D., MeritCare's president.
Smith's dual role as a system executive and hospital executive largely was a leftover arrangement from the hospital-clinic merger, Gilbertson said.
"We'll take about four months and look at what to do, with some outside help," Gilbertson said. "It's a great opportunity for us."
He said MeritCare has hired McManis Associates, a healthcare management consulting firm, to assist the system in re-examining its management structure.