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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

MultiCare names chief executive for Eastern Washington as $425 million purchase of Rockwood Health advances

Dr. David O’Brien, a veteran health care executive from California, will oversee MultiCare Health System’s operations in Eastern Washington, MultiCare announced. (Courtesy MultiCare Health System)

Dr. David O’Brien, a veteran health care executive from California, will oversee MultiCare Health System’s operations in Eastern Washington.

Tacoma-based MultiCare announced O’Brien’s appointment on Tuesday. The secular, nonprofit health system is purchasing of Rockwood Health System, which includes Deaconess Hospital, Valley Hospital and Rockwood Clinic. The $425 million sale is expected to be completed this summer, pending approval from Washington state regulators.

Rockwood’s sale will bring the tenure of the for-profit Community Health Systems in Spokane to a close. Tennessee-based CHS bought Deaconess and Valley hospitals in 2008 and Rockwood Clinic in 2009.

Rockwood Health employs about 3,600 people at the two Spokane-area hospitals and a network of 12 Rockwood clinics.

O’Brien will be based in Spokane and begin work at MultiCare on June 19.

O’Brien is currently president of Providence St. Joseph Health – Humboldt, a two-hospital and medical group integrated system in Northern California.

“Dr. O’Brien’s dedication to patients and his leadership will guide this transition and MultiCare’s investment in the region,” said Bill Robertson, president and chief executive of Multicare, in a news release. “Eastern Washington is a vibrant, growing region and we look forward to partnering with residents and local organizations to improve the health of the community.”

Currently, the three entities that make up the Rockwood Health System operate independently. Part of O’Brien’s job will be to strengthen coordination in the region to improve the patient experience and enhance care, Robertson said.

“I’m a health care executive now, but I’m a physician at heart,” O’Brien said. “It really energizes me to pull together a group of people who work well together with the patient at the center.”

O’Brien graduated from the University of California School of Medicine in Davis. He began his career practicing family medicine and said he still identifies with the joys and challenges of being a doctor.

O’Brien has held executive positions with health care systems in California since 2004.

He and his wife, Roxanne, are avid outdoors people who like to backpack. O’Brien is also a woodworker and said he hopes to develop his fly-fishing skills in the Inland Northwest in his leisure time.