St. Charles Health System has named Jennifer Welander its new chief financial officer. She replaces Karen Shepard, who retired in January.

Welander, who has served as interim CFO since Shepard left, was named director of finance in 2014. She’s been with St. Charles since 2009, first as director of accounting.

The roles of finance director and CFO are similar in that both revolve around stewardship of the health system’s finances, Welander said. But being CFO requires a broader focus on the entire organization, she said.

“I think the most significant difference is looking across the organization at a longer-term vision, at the strategic initiatives we have and the impact that those have on us financially and how do we support those?” Welander said.

Welander’s annual salary will be $310,000, Lisa Goodman, St. Charles spokeswoman, wrote in an email. Shepard’s base salary was about $369,000 in 2013, according to St. Charles’ most recent publicly available tax records. (Incentive pay that year brought Shepard’s total compensation to about $668,000, making her the third-highest paid administrator that year.)

Before coming to St. Charles, Welander served as controller for Brooks Resources in Bend and director of finance for TransCore Commercial Services Inc., in Beaverton. She was also a staff accountant and senior audit manager for KPMG in its Portland and Moscow offices.

In her time at St. Charles, Welander helped secure the $75 million in new debt to fund several construction projects, including replacing the Prineville hospital, remodeling the patient tower in Bend and renovating the Madras hospital.

She also implemented a so-called rolling financial planning process, in which officials revisit the health system’s financial plan quarterly to ensure it aligns with ongoing changes in services and reimbursement.

“It’s really allowing us to, in a real-time manner, monitor our financial trajectory,” Welander said.

Joe Sluka, St. Charles’ president and CEO, wrote in a statement that Welander’s experience, knowledge of the health system and enthusiasm made her the perfect person for the job.

“She has been serving in the interim CFO role for several months and is doing an outstanding job,” he said. “I am thrilled to officially welcome her to the role and to remove the ‘interim’ from in front of her title.”

Welander, 43, is a certified public accountant and holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Oregon.

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