named IHA trustee of the year
Lee Pippenger was recently named by the Idaho Hospital Association as Trustee of the Year. The award will be presented October 9th at the 73rd Annual IHA convention in Sun Valley.
Pippenger joined the Clearwater Valley Hospital and Clinics Board in 1995, serving on that board until 1998 when CVHC joined the Benedictine Health System, Duluth Minnesota. She was then appointed to the joint Board of Trustees overseeing both CVHC and St Mary’s Hospital and Clinics in Cottonwood. SMH has been a member of BHS since 1990. The joint board provides oversight for both hospitals, their seven satellite medical clinics, two home health programs and four physical therapy clinics.
“I am really honored by this award especially considering how many people across the state sit on hospital boards, large and small. I think it’s a reflection of the good work of all our joint board members,” said Pippenger. “I feel as though my role is to help ensure that we have all the facts and function smoothly as a decision making body. I certainly can’t take credit for all we’ve done. I’m simply a member of the team.”
During her eleven year tenure the hospitals have received three federal appropriations and grant funds totaling close to $3.5 million. They’ve initiated a Meditech software system that will generate electronic medical records and purchased a CT scanner for each facility. CVHC constructed a new 4 bay Emergency Room and opened an additional satellite PT clinic. Both hospitals have seen an expansion of payroll from approximately $5 million to over $12 million. SMHC received the ‘Brightest Star Award’ from the state of Idaho and ‘Top 100 Hospital’ designation and they’ve purchased non tribal land in Kamiah for possible future development. Both facilities have seen an increase in total clinic visits from around 40,000 in 2002 to over 45,000 in 2005.
Pippenger also worked with other board members and administration to pass a county wide referendum in Clearwater County in 1997 to allow the partnership with the Benedictine Health System. “BHS had the stability of leadership and the breadth and depth of knowledge necessary for CVH’s survival,” said Pippenger. She helped navigate the multitude of steps to pave the way for a successful partnership between the Cottonwood and Orofino facilities. “At that time people were betting we’d never be successful, but both facilities are alive and well thanks to the efforts of a lot of people.”
“I think one of my greatest accomplishments serving on both boards is having a voice in identifying and recruiting excellent board members to join us” said Pippenger. Under their direction the 17 member joint CVHC/SMHC management team was named by HealthLeaders Magazine as “Top Leadership Team in the Nation, 2005” for hospitals 170 beds or less.
“I really share this honor with other board members who I currently serve with and who have gone before me,” said Pippenger.
Her term ends this September. “I truly appreciate all that Lee has done to make our board so responsive to the people we serve,” said Casey Meza, CEO. “I once heard her say that when the board members come to the meetings they check their ‘hats’ at the door and make decisions that are best for everyone in the region, rather than the area where they personally live. That is one of the many reasons she has been such a good board member.”