PORT ANGELES — Eric Lewis will retire as Olympic Medical Center’s chief executive May 1, it was announced Tuesday.
Lewis, who has served as CEO of OMC since December 2006, said he decided to refocus his life, adding that “now is the right time.”
“I have thoroughly enjoyed working with all the wonderful people here at Olympic Medical Center for the past 21 years and together we have achieved much progress,” Lewis said in a Tuesday announcement.
“I am proud of what our organization has become, and truly believe in the work our employees and medical staff do to take care of this community.”
Lewis, 58, said he would continue to live in the Sequim area and evaluate how he can remain involved in the community and rural health care.
“I’m not going to go away,” Lewis said in a telephone interview.
“I’m still going to be engaged.
“I’m going to be retired from being a hospital CEO, but I will look for perhaps other ways to work and contribute to society,” he added.
Lewis, who began at OMC as chief financial officer in November 1998, shepherded the public hospital district through a period of growth and an “exceptional amount of change,” OMC Board Chairman Jim Leskinovitch said.
“For more than two decades, he has focused on improving our community’s rural health care system, and he has never wavered from his strong commitment to quality, safety and positive patient experience at Olympic Medical Center,” Leskinovitch said.
“His work in strategic planning, legislative advocacy, fiscal stewardship, process improvement, infrastructure, intentional culture, wellness and health, and developing a strong leadership team has positioned our organization well for future success.”
U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, issued a statement on Lewis’ retirement Tuesday.
“As someone who was born at Olympic Medical Center and as the representative for our region, I’ve so appreciated the leadership and partnership of Eric Lewis as we’ve worked together to protect jobs and access to care in Clallam County,” Kilmer said.
“Eric’s voice has been so important in Washington, D.C. — where, too often, folks forget rural America. I wish him — and OMC — well in their next chapters.”
Leskinovitch said Lewis and the board are “committed to a smooth and successful transition over the next few months.”
Lewis said he planned to take some time off after May 1 and evaluate his options.
“I have decided to go in a different direction in my life,” Lewis said.
“I plan to find ways to continue to be an advocate for Olympic Medical Center, rural health care across our state, and patient access to affordable care.”
Lewis has been a state leader in rural health care. He was appointed as chair of the Washington State Hospital Association in 2018 and president of the Association of Washington Public Hospital Districts in 2017.
He was recognized as an American Hospital Association grassroots leader in 2013, a Washington State Hospital Association Joe Hopkins Memorial Award recipient in 2017 and a Seattle Business Magazine Leaders in Health Care honoree in 2018.
Leskinovitch said the OMC board urged Lewis to reconsider his retirement.
“However, given Eric’s decision to refocus, take time off and eventually contribute to his community and health care policy in yet-to-be discovered ways, we are committed to supporting him and the strong leadership team he has established to develop a thoughtful and deliberate plan for a smooth succession,” Leskinovitch said.
“The board believes that Eric is truly irreplaceable, but rather than dwell on the loss of an exceptional leader, we urge the OMC team to celebrate Eric’s successes and find ways to continue his legacy.”
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected].