PeaceHealth’s Atkins to retire

By Aaron Corvin, Columbian Port & Economy Reporter



PeaceHealth said Friday that Rainy Atkins, who’s served 10 years as chief administrative officer for PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver, will retire on Sept. 6. Sy Johnson, CEO of PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center in Longview, will succeed her in that position and also has been named chief operating officer of PeaceHealth’s Columbia Network.

Atkins, a neonatal and pediatric air transport nurse by training, held several positions with Flagstaff Medical Center and Northern Arizona Healthcare before coming to Vancouver in 2003. “It’s been 10 wonderful, exceptional years,” she said in a news release. “I’ve been privileged to work with this team to make PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center the leading hospital in southwestern Washington.”

The announcement of Atkins’ retirement and appointment of Johnson to new posts follows last month’s news that Joe Kortum, who led Vancouver-based Southwest Washington Medical Center for eight years before serving two years as CEO of the Columbia Network of PeaceHealth, will retire in January.

Atkins “has been a driving force behind our significant accomplishments around the quality and safety of patient care,” Kortum said in the news release issued by PeaceHealth. And she was “instrumental in establishing the Kearney Breast Center and Firstenburg Tower, as well as establishing a relationship with OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital to improve access to neonatal care in Vancouver,” according to the news release. In 2010, Clark College named Atkins a “Woman of Achievement.”

The leadership changes come as Vancouver-based PeaceHealth seeks to save $30 million, on top of $100 million in savings it already has identified, to close a significant budget gap. As part of its cost-cutting moves, PeaceHealth suspended hiring. The decision applies to its corporate headquarters and support operations in east Vancouver, as well as PeaceHealth Southwest. The nonprofit will seek to trim costs through attrition and keeping some vacant positions open. Priority for filling vacancies will go to bedside care.

In the news release issued Friday, PeaceHealth said Kortum will work with Atkins, Johnson and the community boards of PeaceHealth Southwest, PeaceHealth St. John and the Columbia Network over the next few months to ensure a smooth leadership transition.

Johnson, who began his career with PeaceHealth in May 2002, has a degree in accounting from the University of Arizona in Tucson and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Wyoming. He is a certified public accountant.

PeaceHealth employs about 16,000 people in Washington, Oregon and Alaska.

Aaron Corvin:;; 360-735-4518;