Lisa Rosetta Kelly Kearsley

Jim Lussier, president and CEO of Cascade Health Services, the parent company of St. Charles Medical Center and Central Oregon Community Hospital in Redmond, is resigning from his position next summer.

Lussier, 61, told staff of his intent to leave in a letter sent Monday to employees.

”A lot of it has to do with the timing of various projects and the development of Cascade Health Services,” he said Tuesday.

Cascade Health Services has completed plans for $115 million in expansion projects that include remodeling the Redmond hospital, expanding the emergency department at St. Charles and creating a cardiac center at St. Charles.

The projects will be paid for with money from Cascade Health Services reserve, a $75 million, tax-exempt, bond issue and $10 million that the organization hopes to raise through donations.

”The new president will have the opportunity to come in and not be inundated with a huge number of major decisions,” Lussier said.

He began working for the hospital as personnel director 33 years ago. He managed the building of the hospital at its present location on Neff Road, and worked as the chief operation officer before becoming president.

The hospital's board of directors formally recognized Lussier's intent to resign at its June 26 meeting, Lussier said in the letter he sent to staff.

After July 1, 2004, Lussier will remain connected to Cascade Health Services as president emeritus, a counsel to both the board and the new president and CEO for a period of time, he said.

The board hopes to have selected the new hospital chief executive by sometime early next spring, he said.

”We will be formulating our search process over the summer and will begin the search this fall,” said Jim Petersen, chairman of Cascade Health Services' board of directors, in a press release.

Lussier's new role as president emeritus will be focused on board policy, governance and planning, Petersen said in the release. The role will be removed from daily and strategic operations, leaving that responsibility to Lussier's successor.

Beyond the walls of the hospitals, Lussier served on the Central Oregon Community College board of directors for 18 years.

He currently serves on the board of the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems and is president of the state Board of Higher Education.

Lussier said he is looking forward to additional free time but is also interested in teaching and continuing to promote the hospitals in the community.

Eric Alexander, senior vice president of regional operations and executive director of the St. Charles Medical Center Foundation, said Lussier ”has shepherded the hospital through a lot of development.”

Lisa Rosetta can be reached at 541-617-7812 or at . Kelly Kearsley can be reached at 541-383-0348 or at .