Woleske named Bellin Health Chief Operating Officer

Longtime executive among health system leaders in new or changing roles

Longtime Bellin Health executive Chris Woleske has been named the health system’s Chief Operating Officer, effective immediately.

Most recently, Woleske served as CEO of Bellin Health Oconto Hospital, a position she had held since 2005. She also was the health system’s executive vice president of clinical services at Bellin Hospital and Bellin Psychiatric Center in Green Bay.

“Chris Woleske has proven herself as a knowledgeable and insightful leader who is adept at leading in times of growth and change,” said George Kerwin, Bellin Health president and CEO. “She is the perfect person to revive the role of COO as Bellin continues to expand its efforts to make the people in our region the healthiest in the nation.”

The COO position was not a vacancy at Bellin. The role has not existed at the health system for about a decade but was resurrected to oversee all aspects of operations related to direct patient care — part of the health system’s push for greater integration and efficiency.

Woleske has been a member of Bellin’s senior leadership team since 1998. Prior to that, she practiced law at the law firm Liebmann, Conway, Olejniczak & Jerry.

Woleske is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. She earned her bachelor’s degree in health care administration from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and her law degree from

Marquette Law School. Woleske completed an executive program at Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Bellin Health Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) Laura Hieb is taking over as CEO of Bellin Health Oconto Hospital as Woleske transitions to her new role. She will retain her CNO role, which she has held since 2006. Hieb was team leader of Bellin’s Homecare Services from 1998-2006. She has been a Registered Nurse since 1989, when she started her career at Bellin.

“Laura Hieb has been an asset to Bellin Health for many years, and she will continue to bring her leadership, experience and know-how to bear in her new role,” Kerwin said. “Bellin Health Oconto Hospital is transitioning from one terrific leader to another.”

Hieb earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Bellin College and her Master of Business Administration-Health Care (executive focus) from Cardinal Stritch University. She is certified as a Nurse Executive through the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Woleske and Hieb are among several Bellin senior leaders who are taking on new roles in response to the health system’s growth and the evolution of the healthcare industry.

As Bellin’s Chief Learning & Innovation Officer, Pete Knox will focus additional attention on the innovative work that has positioned Bellin as a leader in population health management and innovation. He will continue his critical work with patient care redesign; business health solutions; population health services; organization learning and execution; system redesign and transformation; and brand strategic planning.

Knox has been with Bellin Health since 1980, holding positions including Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director of Bellin Medical Group. He is a senior fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and the author of two books, “The Business of Healthcare” and “Destination Results.” Knox earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Stout and his master’s degree in administration/management from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

Jim Dietsche, Chief Financial Officer, will take on increased responsibilities that include regional business development, consistent with Bellin’s efforts to continue its growth in the region. He will focus
on contracting with payers, providing consumers with greater access to Bellin’s services and improving the health system’s ability to be compensated for those services.

Dietsche has served as Bellin’s CFO since 2005. He previously was a partner at Wipfli, a regional public accounting and consulting firm, and he came to Bellin with more than 15 years of public accounting experience working with the healthcare industry. Dietsche earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from St. Norbert College and successfully completed his CPA exam in 1989.

With the leadership changes, Bellin has elected new physician board members. Emergency Services Director Dr. Paul Casey will serve as the president of the Bellin Hospital Medical Staff. 

A Bellin physician since July 2004, Casey has had a long and distinguished medical career. Previous positions include Emergency Medicine Department Chief at Swedish Medical Center (formerly Providence Medical Center) in Seattle, where he also served as Chief of Staff from 2003-2004; and Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of Washington Medical Center. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Physiology at the University of California, Davis, and his MD at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. A decorated United States military veteran, Casey received his postdoctoral education at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Wash. He received the Bronze Star for service in Operation Desert Storm in 1991.