Some computer problems just can't be remedied by hitting Ctrl+Alt+Delete as Greg Van Pelt, 55, found out. The executive vice president and chief regional operations officer of Providence Health & Services, a 26-hospital Catholic system headquartered in Seattle, was caught in the middle of a public relations nightmare after the system was hit twice within several months by data theft.
On Dec. 31, 2005, data on 365,000 home health patients of Providence Home Services in Portland, Ore., were stolen from the back seat of a Providence employee's vehicle. The system changed its security policies, the state attorney general's office investigated, there was a lawsuit and several employees resigned in the wake of the incident. But that wasn't the end.
A couple of months later, thieves stole laptop computers containing records on 122 hospice and home-care patients from two employees' cars. “It's very frustrating,” Van Pelt reportedly told the Oregonian.
Van Pelt, who was named an Up & Comer in 1990 at age 38, when he was the administrator and chief executive officer of St. Vincent Hospital and Medical Center in Portland, Ore.—one of Providence's hospitals—has been with the system for more than 30 years.
He has held titles such as senior vice president and chief regional operations officer; chief executive, Providence Health & Services, Washington region; and chief executive of Providence Health Plan.