St. Charles Health System CEO Joe Sluka is stepping down after eight years in the role, transitioning to a strategic advisor position. He's being replaced in the interim by Dr. Steve Gordon, a health care executive and former member of the St. Charles Board of Directors who's served in leadership roles for PeaceHealth in Vancouver, Wash., Providence Health and Services in Portland and Salem Health.
"I am so proud of this organization and the more than 4,500 employees who put their hearts into caring for our communities every single day. This is a very difficult decision," Sluka said in a press release. "At the same time, after leading through more than two years of a global pandemic and the corresponding recovery I feel it is time for me to step aside, recharge and provide the opportunity for new operational leaders to guide St. Charles forward."
Sluka pointed to accomplishments like the implementation of a lean management system, construction of a new patient tower, transition to a new health record platform, and the expansion of Madras and Prineville campuses as highlights of his time as CEO. Though he's stepping down as CEO, Sluka will remain active in the hospital system.
"I am energized to build on Joe's legacy and advance and strengthen St. Charles despite the current challenges the health care industry faces," Gordon said in a press release. "I will continue to work closely with Joe in his strategic advisor role and am grateful that I'll have his support, insight and ideas moving forward."
Sluka's also overseen a fair bit of controversy recently. In June about 300 health care providers voted to join a union. A few weeks prior to that the hospital cut 181 fulltime positions amid a medical financing crisis that's affecting hospitals across the nation.
Sluka will transition leadership of the health system to Gordon this week, as the St. Charles Board begins a national search for a permanent replacement.