Northwestern Medical Center announced this morning the hiring of Dean French, MD, as the hospital’s new Chief Executive Officer. Dr. French joins NMC after 5 years of service as CEO of Community Medical Center in Missoula, Montana. Dr. French will start at NMC on November 30.

According to the hospital, Dr. French has 17 years of experience in hospital administration in roles including CEO, Chief Medical Officer, Chief Operations Officer, and Vice President of Medical Affairs and Quality. Dr. French is board certified in Family Practice and has worked as both a Hospitalist and an Emergency Department physician. He earned his medical degree from the University of Washington. Prior to becoming a physician, Dr. French served in the US Army Special Forces. 

“Dr. French’s expertise and experience was very evident during our selection process,” said NMC Board Chair Janet McCarthy. “Dr. French’s perspectives and desire to serve in a rural community such as ours will help NMC provide the best health care possible in our community.”  

“Throughout his career as a hospital leader, Dr. French has demonstrated a strong operational vision; a focus on patient engagement and service care quality; a track record of conservative financial management; and the ability to work collaboratively with hospital boards and medical staff,” said McCarthy. “He has been a leader in Accountable Care and population health management while achieving growth at each organization he has led. He has proven to be an engaged, responsive, and highly transparent leader.”

French currently serves as the CEO at Community Medical Center, a 154-bed regional referral center in Missoula, MT. He has previously served hospitals in that region as Chief Medical Officer, and Chief Operating Officer.

He attended University of Washington School of Medicine before his residency at Ventura County Medical Center in Ventura, CA.

Kate Laddison, the Community Relations Manager for Northwestern Medical Center said Dr. French was selected from the more than 75 qualified healthcare leaders who applied for the position through the search co-facilitated by QHR Health and WittKieffer. This pool was eventually narrowed to three finalists by NMC’s Search Committee, chaired by NMC Board Member Jake Holzscheiter, using criteria based on input from NMC’s Board, Medical Staff, Leadership, Management, Hospital Staff, and community partners. Representatives from those same groups participated in the finalist interviews, helping to inform the Search Committee’s recommendation to the NMC Board. 

The hospital has not said what the salary will be for Dr. French, but according to tax information made public for Northwestern Medical Center, outgoing CEO Jill Berry Bowen was compensated about $470,000 in for her work at the hospital in 2017- the latest year of documents readily available. The hospital brought in about $114 million that same year, with about $115 million in expenses reported, including the $15.7 million paid to a contractor for the hospital expansion.

“When I first learned of the need for a CEO in St. Albans, I was immediately drawn to the opportunity. NMC has a national reputation as a high-quality rural healthcare organization that enjoys tremendous support from the community it serves. The chance to return to the northeast and lead NMC is humbling and I am grateful to have been given the opportunity,” French said.