As of Feb. 1, St. Luke’s Health System is under a new CEO and president.

In an interview with the Mountain Express, CEO Chris Roth discussed his passion and plan to maintain St. Luke’s as a national leader in health care.

Roth, 48, began working for St. Luke’s 13 years ago, six months after the organization was formed, starting as vice president and chief operating officer and then as chief executive officer of the Treasure Valley region. Subsequently, Roth was promoted to senior vice president and chief operating officer for the health system before being selected as the new president and CEO, replacing Dr. David Pate, who retired at the end of January after over 10 years as president and CEO.

Though he was born in Utah, Roth has deep ties to Idaho, with in-laws from the state and two of his four children born here. In his decade-plus with St. Luke’s, Roth said, what he most admires about the health system is its commitment to community engagement partnerships and to creating a nurturing environment for health care employees. That focus develops an investment into not only the hospitals and clinics across the state but also the communities they serve, he said.

St. Luke’s Wood River in particular is very fortunate, Roth said, because of the community and philanthropic support, which creates robust services and facilitates a significant amount of free or low-cost health services.

“It speaks highly of an engaged community,” he said.

Inspired to enter the health sector by his mother, who was a nurse, Roth has more than 30 years of experience in health care. He started as a pharmacy technician with Intermountain Healthcare in Utah, before moving into positions of increasing responsibility in administration, specialty practice management and executive and leadership positions with Northwest Hospital & Medical Center in Seattle, Ochsner Health System in New Orleans and other health organizations. He joined St. Luke’s in 2007.

“Chris is a change leader and a relationship-builder,” St. Luke’s Health System board Chairman Rich Raimondi said in a statement. “He is well tested, ethical and highly committed to our organization, our people and our vision of health-care transformation.”

Roth will be responsible for leading the health system’s eight hospitals, more than 200 clinics and 14,830 employees throughout southern Idaho and eastern Oregon.

“We’re very focused on our regions,” he said, adding that for now, the organization will focus on “organic growth,” serving the ever-growing communities of Idaho as it continues to be the fastest growing population in the U.S.

“We’re 100 percent committed to serving the geography that we’re currently in,” he said.

When Pate announced his retirement plans, Raimondi along with the rest of the health system’s board of directors weighed options for internal success and external recruitment, according to the press release. Ultimately, Roth was selected.

“We are fortunate to have had impressive talent internally to consider, which is an indicator of a strong and thoughtful organization,” Raimondi said. “We have every confidence his skillset and ability to connect with people and inspire their best makes him the kind of leader St. Luke’s needs right now.”

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