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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Longtime Providence executive Elaine Couture will retire in 2021

Elaine Couture will retire from Providence Health Care next year. She has led Eastern Washington's largest health care organization for the past eight years, and has been with the Catholic organization for more than 34 years.  (COLIN MULVANY)

Longtime Providence Health Care executive Elaine Couture, who has led the Catholic health care giant in Washington and Montana for almost a decade, announced her retirement Wednesday.

She plans to leave in early 2021, according to a news release from Providence, to help smooth the transition for her replacement. Providence will announce more details about the transition in early 2021.

Couture is the regional Providence executive in the Northwest and oversees 11 hospitals in that role, including Sacred Heart Medical Center and Holy Family Hospital.

Couture, who began her health care career as a nurse, transitioned into leadership roles at Providence and eventually became the chief executive of Providence in Washington and Montana. She has been with Providence for 34 years.

“Elaine has been a valued partner and courageous leader, always grounded in the Providence Mission and a voice for our patients,” Dr. Rod Hochman, president and CEO of Providence, said in a statement. “She has worked tirelessly for the most poor and vulnerable in our communities, advocating for Medicaid expansion, extending our Mission of compassionate care for everyone in our communities through innovative projects, and taking tangible steps toward cost effective delivery of quality care.”

Couture oversaw the expansion of the medical residency program in Spokane and expanded access to care in Eastern Washington, Montana and beyond during her time at Providence.

Arielle Dreher's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is primarily funded by the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, with additional support from Report for America and members of the Spokane community. These stories can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper’s managing editor.