PeaceHealth, Regence sign new two-year contractPeaceHealth said Monday 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 effective January 2014.“It’s been a privilege to lead this community treasure which was established by Mother Joseph Pariseau 155 years ago,” Kortum said in a news release. “I’ve been honored to work with talented and committed boards, caregivers, physicians and volunteers in the noble cause of bringing healing and comfort to our community.”Alan Yordy, president and chief mission officer of PeaceHealth, said Kortum “has made an impact on so many people, both within PeaceHealth and within the community. We are very grateful for his service.” Yordy said in a news release that he’ll work with Kortum and the community boards of Southwest and PeaceHealth “to assure a smooth leadership transition.”Kortum, who has a master’s degree in hospital and health care administration, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology — both from St. Louis University — took over as president and CEO of Southwest in 2003. He played a key role in completion of the Firstenburg Tower and development of Southwest Medical Group (now PeaceHealth Medical Group) in 2007, according to the news release. The organization’s growth under his leadership also encompassed Southwest’s merger with PeaceHealth in 2010.Under the merger, Kortum became president and chief executive for the Columbia Network of PeaceHealth, which encompasses PeaceHealth operations in Vancouver and Longview.Through Kortum’s efforts, “we have aligned with PeaceHealth and expanded our base of support to help us manage the rapidly changing dynamics of health reform,” Ruth Bennett, chairwoman of PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center’s board of directors, said in the news release.