PUBLISHED: 5:10 PM on Wednesday, December 6, 2006
Bartlett Regional Hospital CEO takes leave of absence

Photo by Peter Metcalfe
  Robert Valliant, left, will give over his administrative duties at Bartlett Regional Hospital to James Richardson, right, during his medical leave of absence.
Longtime Bartlett Regional Hospital administrator Robert Valliant has taken a 12-week family medical leave of absence to recover from the effects of the chemotherapy regimen he underwent to fight cancer.

"At the end of the 12 weeks, I'll inform the hospital board of directors whether I am fit to continue my duties," said Valliant, who has served as chief executive officer of Bartlett Regional Hospital since February 1989.

James Richardson of Quorum Health Resources (QHR), the national firm that has the management contract for Bartlett Regional Hospital, has stepped in as interim-CEO. Richardson previously served as chief executive officer at 18 hospitals, with experiences that have included managing turn-arounds, start-ups, and divestitures of hospitals throughout the country. In several cases he provided interim management as he is doing for Bartlett Regional Hospital.

"We were very fortunate to find Jim between hospitals," Valliant said.

Richardson served as an active duty aviator with the United States Air Force for five years and, after many years of service, retired from the Air National Guard as a Lt. Colonel in 1989. He and his wife JoAnn have two adult children and maintain a home in Texas.

Valliant began his tenure at Bartlett as a temporary fill-in until the board could hire a permanent CEO. He and his wife Josie fell in love with Juneau, and he accepted a full time position. When Valliant came to Juneau, the hospital was facing acute financial difficulties, union turmoil and a deeply concerned city administration. He is credited by former board member Marilyn Freymueller for guiding the hospital through that difficult period, with Bartlett emerging as the center for health care in northern Southeast that it is today.

"Bob is also very active in community affairs," Freymueller said, citing his work in developing the Bartlett Foundation.

Valliant said one of his proudest accomplishments for the community is the Reifenstein Dialysis Center, a project he championed through his work with the Bartlett Foundation. A generous grant from the Reifenstein family of Juneau made it possible to open the center sooner than would have been otherwise possible.