InterWest Health was founded in January 1997 and is governed by a Board of Managers consisting of physicians and other representatives of the business community. It is not an insurance company or an HMO. It is a health care network that is available to companies wanting to bring additional value to their health benefit plans. InterWest Health’s network spans the region and includes Montana, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington and Wyoming. It consists of over 25,000 physicians, hospitals, and other providers in this service area. All of our Participating Providers are credentialed to ensure they meet minimum quality standards.
Howard C. (Nick) Chandler, Jr. MD
Chairman of the Board
Dr. Chandler, is a board-certified neurosurgeon specializing in neurosurgical oncology practicing in Atlanta, Georgia at the Piedmont Brain Tumor Center. He founded and served from 1995 – 2006 as Chairman of the Montana Neuroscience Institute Foundation, a biomedical research organization that fosters NIH-funded neuroscience research at the University of Montana and Saint Patrick’s Hospital in Missoula, MT. Dr. Chandler is founder and chairman of InterWest Health, LLC, a privately-held Montana-headquartered managed care company that has grown into the largest managed care organization in the region with over 15,000 providers in 7 states. He helped found and served from 1998 - 2008 on the Board of Directors of Alliance Healthcard, Inc, a publicly traded health care company headquartered in Norman, Oklahoma now known as Access Plans, Inc (APNC). Access Plans was recently sold to Aon Risk Services in a $60 million transaction. He has served on the Board of Directors of Saint Patrick Hospital and Big Sky Surgery Center in Missoula, MT. He founded and served on the Board of Directors of Treasure State Bank, Inc, a publicly traded bank in Missoula, MT. Dr. Chandler received a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of the South, an M.D. from Wake Forest University, and completed Neurosurgery residency at the University of Florida.
Daniel E. Braby, MD
Member of the Board
Dr Daniel Braby is a board certified Otolaryngologist practicing at Rocky Mountain Ear, Nose & Throat Center LLC in Missoula, Montana. His clinical practice involves endocrine, sinonasal and skull base surgery. Dr. Braby is a member of the Montana Neuroscience Institute which is affiliated with Saint Patrick’s Hospital and the University of Montana in Missoula. He has served as Chairman of Surgery at Community Hospital and has been a member on the Community Hospital Board of Directors since 2003. In 1996 he founded the Montana Society of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery which has been instrumental in bringing the state’s Otolaryngologist’s together for purposes of education and patient care.
Dr. Braby serves on the Board of Directors of Northstar LLC, a managed service organization that administers two regional surgery centers and multiple ophthalmic practices within Western Montana.
Dr.Braby received a medical degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1987 and completed a residency in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery in 1992 at the University of Utah School of Health Sciences. He has been in private practice in Missoula, Montana since 1992.
Robert D. Garces
Member of the Board
Bob Garces is Chairman and CEO of NovaNet - a large national PPO network founded in 1993, with over 2,300 hospitals and 250,000 physicians. He is also Chairman and CEO of Alliance HealthCard, a discount healthcare program offering discounts to individuals in 16 medical services. Prior to starting these companies, Mr. Garces was CEO of a physician billing company and founded a mobile imaging company. During the 1980’s he served as Chairman of the Board of Northlake Medical Center in Atlanta.
Wendy J. Koster, SPHR
CEO | President
Wendy Koster joined the leadership of InterWest Health in 2019. Her career has focused on employee-centered human resources work in the manufacturing sector, with responsibilities for employee benefits and safety program design that aligned with company strategic planning. For the last five years prior to joining InterWest Health, Ms. Koster was the General Manager at a Missoula, Montana manufacturer. This role led her to service on the Missoula Economic Partnership Board of Directors and the Montana District Export Council, appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. In 2019, Ms. Koster was one of 100 women in the nation to win the STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Ahead award, a recognition provided by The Manufacturing Institute headquartered in Washington D.C.
Ms. Koster is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). She has served on the Missoula Job Service Employers’ Council for eleven years, leading as the Council’s President for one year and serving as part of the Scholarship Review committee for several years. Ms. Koster has also served on the Missoula County Public Schools Trades & Technology Advisory Board.
The hazards of manufacturing environments required extensive understanding of workers’ compensation rating practices and return-to-work efforts, OSHA regulations, and root-cause analysis of accidents in the workplace. Ms. Koster’s professional development has included trainings in everything from first aid, CPR, and OSHA 10-hour safety certification to employment law, FMLA compliance, and lean production. Her unique employment and service experiences in the business world provide a balanced perspective in the current healthcare landscape. Her personal convictions drive her advocacy of building win-win-win scenarios for patients, providers, and payors, InterWest Health’s mission.