St. Mary’s exec Ladenburger to lead Denver facilities for Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth


Exempla connection

In 1998, nonprofit Exempla Healthcare was formed to include Saint Joseph Hospital, Lutheran Medical Center and the Exempla Physician Network. Exempla then opened Good Samaritan Medical Center. Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, which owns St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction, took control or became the sole “sponsor” or “member” of Exempla.

The transfer, which did not include an exchange of money, allows the Sisters of Charity to borrow money for needed improvements to the three hospitals. The deal was reached in 2008 after the Sisters of Charity’s bid to purchase the hospitals was blocked by a lawsuit filed because the Sisters of Charity wanted to change two of the hospitals to Catholic facilities.

The Sisters of Charity operate hospitals in California, Montana, Colorado and Kansas.

Bob Ladenburger was the first chief executive officer of St. Mary’s Hospital from outside of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth health system.

After 10 years with the system, Landenburger was tapped Tuesday to oversee operations at three Denver area hospitals with Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth.

At St. Mary’s, Ladenburger, who also served as president, quickly established inroads with staff. He leaves a legacy of overcoming challenges, hospital officials said.

“Bob’s just spent 10 years overseeing strategic investment and strengthening the relationships to work more closely together,” said Dan Prinster, vice president of business development at St. Mary’s. “I can’t tell you why they chose Bob, but I can tell you Bob has the strength that they need to meet new challenges. The general feeling around here is it’s our loss and Exempla’s gain.”

Ladenburger will assume the same roles for Exempla Healthcare in Denver, effective Jan. 18, according to the hospital.

“I see it as a great opportunity with Exempla. I look forward to the continued leadership role of three hospitals, Good Samaritan, Lutheran Medical and Saint Joseph,” Ladenburger said. “It will be a larger role.”

Exempla Healthcare is a not-for-profit organization sponsored by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health Systems, which also runs St. Mary’s Hospital.

Exempla operates a physician network and three hospitals and in the Denver area: Saint Joseph Hospital in Denver; Lutheran Medical Center in Wheat Ridge and Good Samaritan Medical Center in Lafayette.

Ladenburger said he is excited about the move, in part, because two of his three grown daughters live in the Denver area.

Terri Potter, CEO of Meriter Health Services, will serve as St. Mary’s interim CEO while a search is conducted for a permanent St. Mary’s leader.

Prinster said Potter is a retired hospital administrator who has headed hospitals in Wisconsin but is not interested in leading St. Mary’s for the long term.

Members of the Sisters of Charity and others will serve on a committee tasked with finding Ladenburger’s successor. Previous searches for hospital heads have taken from four to six months, Prinster said.

Under Ladenburger’s leadership, St. Mary’s this week completed the Century Project, a multiyear expansion and renovation plan. A public open house and tour will be from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

A public reception for Ladenburger is scheduled from 4 to 6 p.m. Jan. 22 at Two Rivers Convention Center.


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