BILLINGS – Dr. Nicholas Wolter, the longtime former Billings Clinic chief executive, has died, the hospital announced Tuesday.
Wolter, who was 70, died Friday at his home in Pray in Paradise Valley.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Dr. Wolter’s family as we honor his memory and legacy as a visionary and innovative health care leader for Billings Clinic, our region and the nation,” the hopsital’s current CEO, Randy Gibb, said in a statement. “His passion and consistent focus on the patient had an immeasurable effect on Billings Clinic and is at the core of what we do every day.”
Wolter was named the first CEO of Billings Clinic in 1997, four years after the hospital had merged with Deaconess Medical Center. In his 20 years at the helm, Billings Clinic grew into the largest healthcare organization in Montana, now managing 11 critical access hospitals in Montana.
“Dr. Wolter was a devoted advocate for a healthier Montana. He always put others first, caring for patients and their health care providers across our state, and giving his time and his admired leadership to help our community and country. Montana is brighter and better because of Nick Wolter,” U.S. Sen. Jon. Tester, D-Mont., said in a statement.
Wolter was also recognized nationally for his health-care work as a former member of the American Hospital Association board of trustees.
“The health care field has lost one of its most visionary leaders,” said Rick Pollack, president of the American Hospital Association. “Nick was an accomplished physician, a champion for rural health care and a nationally recognized leader in health care delivery innovation. A tremendous thinker on the leading-edge of hospital-physician relations and clinical integration, he created innovative coordinated delivery models that raised the standard for rural and isolated communities, as well as for all providers nationwide. Nick helped usher in a new era of hospital-physician partnership. Our thoughts are with his family.”
Wolter was born in St. Paul, Minn., and began practicing at Billings Clinic in 1982. In 2016, he was named to the Montana State University-Billings Business Hall of Fame.
The hospital will hold a celebration of life 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Billings Clinic commons.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to any of the following funds at the Billings Clinic Foundation: Healing Environment, Cystic Fibrosis, Internal Medicine Residency Endowment, or the Psychiatric Residency Endowment.