2018 Leaders in Health Care, Outstanding Medical Center/Hospital Executive, Outside Puget Sound: Peter Rutherford, Eric Lewis

The CEO of Confluence Health in Wenatchee and the CEO of Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles are Leaders in Health Care

This article appears in print in the March 2018 issue. Click here for a free subscription.


Peter Rutherford, M.D.
Confluence Health, Wenatchee confluencehealth.org

Dr. Peter Rutherford grew up in Wenatchee and returned home to work at Wenatchee Valley Hospital as a general internist in 1990. He still goes to clinic at least a half day each week and sees some of the same patients who grew up under his care during the past quarter century.

In 2011, Rutherford was appointed chairman of the board of Wenatchee Valley Hospital. Two years later, when Wenatchee and Central Washington Hospital merged into Confluence Health, he assumed the role of CEO.  “It’s a great organization that sees everyone in this region, regardless of their ability to pay,” says Rutherford. “We’ve been able to build a more sophisticated care system for a very rural part of Washington. That, I think, is something the whole community is quite proud of.”

Under Rutherford’s leadership, the system has grown exponentially — from 2,900 employees to more than 4,000, and he’s championed a lean methodology designed to improve care by reducing waste and patient wait times. Rutherford says he often hears from patients who tell him they love the breadth of services Confluence offers.

“They tell me that the skill and the compassion of the staff and physicians are what make them glad to live here,” he says. 


Eric Lewis
CEO, Olympic Medical Center, Port Angeles, olympicmedical.org 

Eric Lewis has strategically steered Olympic Medical Center (OMC) through an unpredictable and highly regulated health care environment. The center is one of a handful of sole community hospitals in the state. These rural hospitals are especially vulnerable to government policy changes and cuts in government reimbursement because they’re not under the same protections as critical access hospitals.

Through Lewis’ vision and relationship building, OMC has collaborated with local clinics and entities such as Jamestown Family Health Clinic, the North Olympic Healthcare Network and the local health department, providing patients with more robust services and access to clinicians. In 2017, OMC was named a Top 20 Rural Hospital by the National Rural Health Association. 

See the full list of Leaders in Health Care winners here.

Related Content

Here’s to the professionals who treat us, comfort us and heal us.

The chief medical officer of UW Medicine and the VP for medical affairs at University of Washington is this year's Lifetime Achievement Award winner.

The Tonasket and Kirkland hospitals are being honored as Leaders in Health Care

EvergreenHealth, Astria Health Center, Familycare of Kent and Sequim Medical Associates scored better than average in every category in the Washington Health Alliance survey.