Billings Clinic CEO Dr. Scott Ellner has resigned his position, effective immediately, the hospital announced Friday.
Ellner has been the top executive at the hospital, the largest in Montana, since the start of 2020. The clinic's board appointed Dr. Clint Seger, the hospital's regional chief medical officer, as interim CEO until a permanent replacement is hired following a national search.
“I am honored to have worked with an incredible group of caregivers and physicians dedicated to providing better health care to our communities in Montana and Wyoming," Ellner wrote in his resignation letter, as provided by Billings Clinic.
He added that he will move on to a new opportunity to pursue his “passion for re-imagining the delivery of health care," the clinic stated in a news release.
The resignation comes at a crucial time for the hospital, which is seeking to gain Level I trauma certification from the American College of Surgeons. The new designation would allow the hospital to treat more patients with severe injuries in the region. No other hospitals in Montana carry that designation.
This spring, the Billings Clinic Foundation kicked off a $30 million campaign to raise money for the effort, which was led by Ellner. The largest fundraiser, the Billings Clinic Classic celebration downtown, is set for Saturday.
On Friday, hospital board members praised Ellner's work and vowed to move forward.
“We’ve been through an extraordinary period since Dr. Ellner joined Billings Clinic in January of 2020. It has been a period that none of us could have envisioned. We wish Dr. Ellner well and we are looking ahead to a great future. This is a strong and committed organization, built on people of extraordinary character and capabilities, dedicated to serving our patients and communities with outstanding care and service," said Keith Cook, chair of the Billings Clinic Board of Directors, in a written statement.
Ellner was the third CEO in Billings Clinic's history. The hospital's first CEO, the late Dr. Nicholas Wolter, spent about 20 years in the role before retiring in 2017. His replacement, Dr. Randall Gibb, led the hospital for about two years before he was fired in 2019following accusations of sexual harassment by an employee.