St. John’s Health is seeing some shakeups.

The same day the hospital’s board of trustees appointed Debby Hopkins to an open seat on the board, CEO Dr. Paul Beaupre announced that he would be leaving the hospital.

In an email Monday to supporters of St. John’s Health Foundation, Beaupre said he would keep his post until Jan. 31.

Beaupre announced his retirement to the public during the hospital’s Monday board meeting.

“With seven months to plan, there is ample time for a national search to recruit the best possible next leader for St. John’s Health,” the email said.

Beaupre started at St. John’s in 2016, taking over from Lou Hochheiser. The former anesthesiologist focused on opening new lines of service for patients and improving the hospital’s financial situation.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, Beaupre’s work put the hospital on solid financial footing, but for the past four months he steered St. John’s through turbulent times. He has invested heavily in training and equipment to prepare for COVID-19 patients.

In his last half-year with the hospital, Beaupre will attempt to recover from the economic hardship created by the coronavirus and to move St. John’s closer to the path it was on before the pandemic started.

“Over the next several months, I also expect that we will continue to make great progress together on all of our important patient care initiatives,” Beaupre said.

Contact Tom Hallberg at 732-7079 or

Tom Hallberg covers a little bit of everything, from skiing to long-form feature stories. A Teton Valley, Idaho, transplant by way of Portland and Bend, Oregon, he spends his time outside work writing fiction, splitboarding and climbing.

(1) comment

Susan Crosser

So I guess we are in a 4 year CEO cycle. In the end, Lou Hochheiser replaced Pam Maples, and he had a house here. Paul Beaupre (and the other finalist) were the contenders after Lou, and they each already had housing here. Are we going to waste a lot of money trying to do a nationwide search, or should they just call around locally and see who might take the job. Part of the hiring of Marty Trott was to groom him as the CEO. Several years after he was hired, he said he wasn't interested in the CEO position, and his contract didn't actually require him to fill the position. I think this adds up to no one really wants the job, once they figure out the problems. And those problems I assign to the board. It's ludicrous for a small, rural hospital to keep trying to expand service lines. Even the hospital itself acknowledges that it's size is attributable to the tourist visitation, but we have a birthing center that is twice the size of the ER, and I really don't think tourists are coming here to give birth, You can't justify a million dollar cost to set up a new specialist, when there will never be the volume to justify the hire. We can't do everything. We need to acknowledge this. EIRMC says they are taking transfers because SJH can't provide the necessary level of care. No one was EVER going to be kept here on a ventilator, but rather than be honest, we bought more. The hospital tried to count people hospitalized even with negative COVID tests as "probable COVID" because they wanted people to see them as busy. So busy we had two qualified front line people leave in order to work in an area that was truly dealing with an overwhelming number of COVID patients. We can spend a lot of money to hire a CEO, but when the board overrides and spends money for a specialist for their friends rather than investing in the long-term staff, at some point the CEO will not want to simply be a puppet, challenge the board as to their priorities, and be "retired". We have a small, rural hospital. We need to compensate the staff appropriately. We need to focus on doing those things that a SMALL, RURAL hospital should do well. We need honesty - anyone so sick as to require ventilation would be transferred to a larger hospital that has people who handle such situations on a regular basis. Why is that so hard to say? If you live here you have to know that complicated issues are airlifted out. That is reality. You can spend all the money in the world to have the best equipment, but without regular use by trained staff, that equipment is worthless. I'm always told I need to give them another chance, but my experience is still that it is a 50/50 crapshoot, so I intend to avoid everything but the ER. Trust us, things are better - I guess I still have that "kick me" sign on my back because some of the recent mistakes are just so incredibly stupid.

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