Leading in traumatic times

Tim Trottier

It’s been a challenging but rewarding first 18 months for Tim Trottier at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Lewiston.

The hospital CEO speaks proudly of the region’s largest health care provider and the team of professionals that day in and day out meet the medical needs of a community he has come to call home.

In fact, Trottier and his wife, Kristen, like to refer to their move from Kentucky to the Inland Northwest as something of a homecoming. But more about that later.

Craig Clohessy: You came on board as CEO at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in January 2020. In that time, the hospital reached a new contract agreement with health care insurance provider Regence, as well as a labor agreement with the nurses union — and of course there’s been the pandemic during all of that. What do you see as the greatest challenge and greatest success in your first year and a half in Lewiston?

Tim Trottier: Hands down the skill displayed by our staff in managing patient care through the pandemic. We stood up our incident command center in mid-March (of 2020), coordinating care delivery in the midst of a pandemic and the unknowns around COVID-19 and the unknowns around our ability to sustain access to needed supplies. That was the greatest challenge and I’m most proud of how we managed through this.

CC: In what ways do you see St. Joe’s expanding now and in the future?

TT: The largest areas or opportunities for expansion I believe are in the cardiac, oncology and behavioral health service lines. We’re the only hospital in the region that offers the level of services in these areas, arguably between Boise and Spokane. On Jan. 1, we recruited a full-time interventional cardiologist to the community. When I first arrived here, we did not have a full-time cardiologist. Dr. Edward Kim joined us. His volumes quickly skyrocketed when he arrived here. So a lot of good things are happening around that service line.

CC: There’s a growing need for mental health services. How is that being addressed at St. Joe’s?

TT: We have a 20-bed adult and geriatric inpatient unit. Because of the needs for enhancements to that unit, driven by recent changes in regulations, we are under construction in that unit right now. Because of the construction, our bed capacity has been limited to 10. We expect to have the construction completed by the end of July at which time we’ll go back up to 20. We’re also actively recruiting behavioral health providers ranging from patient care technicians to RNs to licensed direct care providers for that unit.

CC: How does all that help?

TT: The access to providers is probably the greatest need in our community. Having a stable cadre of behavioral health inpatient providers in my mind is the first step. The next step is to continue to expand the collaboration and coordination of care between the outpatient setting and the inpatient setting. I think there’s great opportunity for that in our entire region.

CC: Because the need doesn’t go away once they walk out the hospital door, correct?

TT: Exactly, exactly. Also, we’ve had a lot of progress in just understanding what’s available in our community from state resources to other resources from behavioral health and this recent time has really put us in a place where we understand that far greater today than I think we’ve ever understood it in our community. Also, (we) have engaged some of our elected officials at the state level who have been instrumental in helping us connect with resources that we weren’t as aware of previously. Those interactions have ranged from broad-based resources to individual patient care situations that our elected officials have helped us to resolve.

CC: St. Joseph Regional Medical Center is owned by LifePoint Health, which is affiliated with Apollo Global Management. How do those relationships benefit hospital patients and the greater community?

TT: When LifePoint partnered with Apollo we increased the total size of the number of hospitals in our system. That depth has created economies of scale and the opportunity to add expertise that’s available to all our hospitals. That is very, very difficult to access as a free-standing or stand-alone hospital.

CC: You served your country for 10 years in the Army. You were honorably discharged at the rank of captain. What led you to next pursue a successful career as a hospital administrator?

TT: So eight of my 10 years was active Guard. Simultaneous to serving in the Guard, I had a civilian career. My civilian career began as an external CPA (certified public accountant) with a large firm in the Seattle area that had a large health care practice. So I was exposed to hospitals early in my career while simultaneously serving in the Guard. It’s kind of the best of both worlds. I was a tank platoon leader one weekend a month and then the rest of the time I was an accountant, which both are fun jobs.

I entered the hospital administration ranks through the finance avenue. I received an unsolicited job offer from a client that took us from the Seattle area to Scottsdale, Ariz. What I enjoyed the most about health care was the complexity of the business, the leadership challenge. I loved what I learned in the military as a leader and to be able to apply those foundational leadership skills to the duties of a hospital was very exciting for me.

CC: Why is coming here a homecoming for you and Kristen?

TT: My wife grew up in a town 40 miles north of Spokane: Chewelah, Wash. Her mom was raised in Potlatch, Idaho. It was always our goal to get back to this part of the world later in life. Never did we imagine we would have the opportunity to come back as early as we did through the opportunity at St. Joe’s.

CC: You’re very much an outdoorsy kind of guy. You have to love the different offerings here in the Inland Northwest?

TT: I’m a proud member of the Lewiston ATV club and love joining the club on their rides. I’ve done a couple overnight rides and really enjoy learning from the club members — their heritage in the areas that we’re riding. Many of them have grown up in these places that are just so remote and so pretty to get to enjoy.

CC: Anything else you’d like to add?

TT: We feel extremely privileged to be a part of this community. I don’t understand why anyone would not consider coming here, it’s just such a pretty part of the world, such a special part of the world. We couldn’t be more excited to be here.

Clohessy is managing editor of the Lewiston Tribune. He may be contacted at cclohessy@lmtribune.com or (208) 848-2251.

Tim Trottier

Age: 56.

City of residence: Lewiston.

Title/occupation: Chief executive officer, St. Joseph Regional Medical Center.

Family: Wife, Kristen, an outpatient behavioral health therapist; two grown daughters who are attending college in Washington state.

Education: Bachelor degree in business administration with an emphasis in accounting from Seattle University and a Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in finance from Oklahoma City University. He is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and a Certified Professional in Patient Safety.

Work history: Trottier joined St. Joe’s as CEO in January 2020. Prior to that, he was at Spring View Hospital, another LifePoint Health facility in Lebanon, Ky., where he served as CEO since 2014. Prior to joining LifePoint, his experience included service as a hospital executive for two other investor-owned, multi-hospital organizations. He has operated hospitals in several states, including Arizona, Oklahoma, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Mississippi and West Virginia. He has been a hospital CEO for more than 20 years.

Hobbies/interests: Enjoys RVing, boating, snow skiing and riding dirt bikes and ATVs. He is a member of the Lewiston ATV Club, longtime Rotarian, serving in the Rotary clubs in the communities he’s served and is currently a member of the Lewiston Rotary Club.

Do you have any hidden talents, or is there anything else that might surprise people about you?: Prior to his career in health care, he enlisted in the Army as a calvary scout with the 1st Infantry Division Forward in West Germany. He entered Officer Candidate School and was commissioned as a second lieutenant, armor. His first job as a lieutenant was tank platoon leader where he was a tank commander on his tank and had three other tanks under his command. After 10 years of active and National Guard time, he was honorably discharged from service at the rank of captain.