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Joe Morris to retire as Kootenai Health chief

Tue., Jan. 12, 2010, 6:08 p.m.

Hospital has grown during executive’s tenure

Joe Morris will retire next year from his post as chief executive of Kootenai Health, the public district that runs Kootenai Medical Center.

He has held the job for 30 years, guiding the 246-bed hospital through changes and expanding services.

The hospital now employs 1,800.

KMC announced Tuesday it will hire an executive recruitment firm to find job candidates to replace Morris before his May 2011 departure. Morris’ contract required he give 16 months notice.

Dr. Jim Curtis, chairman of the KMC board, said the hospital is financially sound and has been developing a transition plan for three years.

Morris was hired in 1974 by what then was Kootenai Memorial Hospital. He took over as CEO in 1981 and oversaw the construction of the medical center in 1984.

He is credited with putting the hospital in a financial position to eliminate property taxes and long-term debt. The hospital has not had to rely upon a tax assessment for many years, said spokeswoman Kim Anderson.

He has served on various national and state boards.

Locally, he has served on boards for Jobs Plus, the Kroc Center, Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis, Inland Northwest Blood Bank and others.

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